Building design is critical to long-term housing affordability, public health protection, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings account for almost one-third of global carbon emissions. In the U.S., 43% of total energy use is for heating and cooling buildings, and the residential and commercial sectors are responsible for about 13% of greenhouse gas emissions. When a building or home is built or renovated, building codes (the standards for building the structure) determine how much energy that building will need every year. It’s critical that buildings are built to be as efficient as possible from the start.
Energy-efficient building codes help reduce energy use in new and renovated buildings. These codes can include requirements for improved insulation, energy-efficient windows, and better systems to heat or cool a home or business. Typically, effective energy codes should reduce energy use, reduce energy costs over the lifetime of the building or home, and reduce indoor air pollution and climate-changing pollution. Montana should adopt updated and modernized building codes that conserve energy, keep people safe, and save residents and businesses money in the long term.
The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) serves as a model for building energy codes that several states adopt as their statewide energy code. The IECC updates its energy code every three years to keep up with advancements in technology and research.
In Montana, local building codes automatically fall under the jurisdiction of the Montana Building Codes Bureau at the Department of Labor and Industry. Local governments may choose to enforce building energy codes using their own building code officials. Outside of local jurisdictions homebuilders self-certify that homes meet the energy code.
MEIC also advocates for policies and implementation strategies that improve energy code enforcement and compliance so that potential energy savings are fully realized.