NE Updates Decade-Old Building Efficiency Codes


Nebraska lawmakers could finalize a bill today (May 8) that would update the state’s energy codes for residential and commercial buildings.

The update would be the state’s first significant regulation change in a decade.

What’s Going On

Nebraska’s code is currently following the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code, however, lawmakers passed LB 405 last week, which would update the codes to the IECC 2018 version, which would give the state the strongest efficiency codes in the Midwest, according to officials.

Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance policy associate Nicole Westfall said in an interview that the biggest change was actually adopted between the 2009 IECC version and the 2012, which jumped to a 25% energy improvement mandate.

The majority of those savings comes from the mandate to perform actual envelope testing, rather than checking envelope components off of a list.

"Nebraska is leading the charge," added Westfall. "These would be the strongest energy codes in our region. It's not something you'd think would come out of Nebraska, but something we're looking forward to promoting a bit more."


Although it might be a first for the region, Nebraska isn’t the first in recent years to be upping its code game. Within the past two years, Boston and Ontario have both introduced regulations to not only get their buildings more efficient, but to get them as close to net zero as possible.

And at the end of March, The National Institute of Building Sciences and the New Buildings Institute, along with support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, announced that they had developed a new tool to aid municipalities deal with energy use in buildings.

The tool, dubbed the “Life-Cycle Energy Performance Framework for Cities,” is available on the NIBS’ Whole Building Design Guide web portal, and gives users the opportunity to customize their own path to implement life-cycle-based energy policies and gather tracking reports.

The tool is organized first in four overarching categories, including Leadership; Data, Analysis and Applications; Mechanisms; and Ensuring Results.

Each of those categories is broken down into components such as policies, actions, resources and tools. And, finally, each element can be designated a status, such as in place, in process, in planning or in projections.

Bottom Line

As far as Nebraska’s legislation, the bill was first introduced in January, and made its way to Gov. Pete Ricketts’ desk on May 2.

Ricketts has five days to act (minus Sunday). Unless the bill is vetoed, the new codes will be adopted at the end of the day.


Tagged categories: 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC); Building codes; Building Envelope; Conservation; Energy codes; Government; Laws and litigation; NA; North America; Regulations

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