Study Shows 9% Increase...
Training Boosts Residential Building Energy Code Compliance

An evaluation on the impact of localized building energy code training on residential code compliance rates in the state of Nebraska was released in June 2013 and showed about a 9 percent increase in code compliance after the trainings. The study, Impact Evaluation: Nebraska's Residential Energy Code Training Program," conducted field inspections on a sample of 42 newly — constructed homes in Nebraska — normalizing, modeling, and comparing the results to a pre-training compliance evaluation.

While the change in compliance rates cannot be exclusively attributed to the code training program, these results suggest that building energy code trainings can be an effective tool in improving the efficiency gains from building energy codes.

Nebraska adopted the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code, or IECC, for residential buildings effective August 27, 2011. Prior to adoption of the 2009 IECC, the state was enforcing the 2003 IECC for both residential and commercial construction. A state statute requires the Nebraska Energy Office provide training on adopted energy codes. To better focus the training efforts, Nebraska conducted an energy code compliance baseline study in 2011. The Energy Office contracted with a retired codes official to provide targeted training for staff members in code jurisdictions across the state.

While the benefits of training and education in energy code implementation are widely recognized in Nebraska and other states, there has been little evidence gathered to quantify the value of training as it relates to energy saved.

In the Nebraska study, on average the pre-training study buildings used 15.7 million metric British Thermal Units/year (9.1 percent) more than a home that complied with the 2009 IECC. The post-training study homes used 3.8 million metric British Thermal Units/year (2.2 percent) more than a minimally compliant home resulting in a decrease in annual energy use of 11.9 million metric British Thermal Units/year (6.9 percent).

The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of Nebraska's energy code training campaign on residential new construction practices and energy consumption. Energy savings associated with training may be quantified in a three phase assessment: establish an energy code compliance baseline and baseline energy use; provide training on the efficiency features that were found to be deficient in the study; and deploy a post-training energy code compliance study. The compliance differences between the pre- and post-training compliance studies can be quantified to determine the impact of training on code compliance. The savings identified in the study looked at heating and cooling energy, lighting and envelope air sealing.

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