Final Determination Regarding Energy Efficiency Improvements in the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 237 (Tuesday, December 10, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 237 (Tuesday, December 10, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 67435-67437]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-26550]
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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
[EERE-2018-BT-DET-0014]
Final Determination Regarding Energy Efficiency Improvements in
the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)
AGENCY: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of
Energy.
ACTION: Notice of determination.
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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has reviewed the 2018
edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and
determined the updated edition would improve energy efficiency in
buildings subject to the code compared to the 2015 edition. DOE
analysis indicates that buildings meeting the 2018 IECC (as compared
with buildings meeting the 2015 IECC) would result in national site
energy savings of 1.68 percent, national source energy savings of 1.91
percent, and national energy cost savings of approximately 1.97 percent
of residential building energy consumption. Upon publication of this
affirmative determination, each State is required by statute to certify
that it has reviewed the provisions of its residential building code
regarding energy efficiency, and made a determination as to whether to
update its code to meet or exceed the 2018 IECC. Additionally, this
notice provides guidance on state code review processes and associated
certifications.
DATES: Certification statements provided by States shall be submitted
by December 10, 2021.
ADDRESSES: A copy of the final analysis, as well as links to the
Federal docket and public comments received, are available at: https://www.energycodes.gov/development/determinations.
    Certification Statements must be addressed to the Building
Technologies Office--Building Energy Codes Program Manager, U.S.
Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy,
1000 Independence Avenue SW, EE-5B, Washington, DC 20585.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeremiah Williams; U.S. Department of
Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 1000
Independence Avenue SW, EE-5B, Washington, DC 20585; (202) 441-1288;
[email protected]. For legal issues, please contact Matthew
Ring; U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 1000
Independence Avenue SW, GC-33, Washington, DC 20585; (202) 586-2555;
[email protected].
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
I. Background
    Title III of the Energy Conservation and Production Act (ECPA), as
amended, establishes requirements for building energy conservation
standards, which are administered by the DOE Building Energy Codes
Program. (42 U.S.C. 6831 et seq.) Section 304(a)(5)(A), as amended, of
ECPA provides that whenever the 1992 CABO Model Energy Code, or any
successor to that code, is
[[Page 67436]]
revised, the Secretary of Energy (Secretary) must make a determination,
not later than 12 months after such revision, whether the revised code
would improve energy efficiency in residential buildings, and must
publish notice of such determination in the Federal Register. (42
U.S.C. 6833(a)(5)(A)) If the Secretary determines that the revision of
the CABO Model Energy Code, or any successor thereof, improves the
level of energy efficiency in residential buildings then, not later
than two years after the date of the publication of such affirmative
determination, each State is required to certify that it has reviewed
its residential building code regarding energy efficiency, and made a
determination as to whether it is appropriate to revise its code to
meet or exceed the provisions of the successor code. (42 U.S.C.
6833(a)(5)(B))
    The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is the
contemporary successor to the CABO Model Energy Code specified in ECPA.
The IECC is revised every three years through an established code
development and consensus process administered by the International
Code Council (ICC). Code change proposals may be submitted by any
interested party, and are evaluated through a series of public
hearings. As part of the ICC process, any interested party may submit
proposals, as well as written comments or suggested changes to any
proposal, and make arguments before a committee of experts assembled by
the ICC. Proposals are presented to interested parties, and ultimately
decided by a vote by the ICC Governmental Member Representatives, with
the collection of accepted proposals forming the revised edition of the
IECC. More information on the ICC code development process is available
at: https://www.iccsafe.org/codes-tech-support/codes/code-development-process/code-development-2/.
    The ICC published the most recent revision of the IECC, the 2018
edition of the IECC (2018 IECC or 2018 edition), on August 31, 2017,
triggering the statutorily required DOE review process. To meet its
statutory obligation, DOE conducted a preliminary analysis to quantify
the expected energy savings associated with the 2018 IECC relative to
the 2015 edition. Notice of this preliminary analysis was published in
the Federal Register on May 2, 2019 (84 FR 18833), and is available at:
https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EERE-2018-BT-DET-0014.
    DOE reviewed the 2018 IECC to identify changes that have a direct
impact on energy efficiency, and which could be reasonably quantified
in estimating national average savings impacts. In total, 47 individual
changes were identified, and of these changes:
     11 were expected to reduce energy use;
     3 were expected to increase energy use, and;
     33 were considered administrative or not energy related.
    A more detailed discussion of each of the 47 changes may be found
in the final energy savings analysis, which is available at: https://www.energycodes.gov/development/determinations.
    In its preliminary analysis, DOE found that many of the code
changes are anticipated to have a neutral impact on energy efficiency,
while a small number of code changes are anticipated to yield improved
energy efficiency, and a smaller number of code changes are anticipated
to be detrimental to energy efficiency. DOE's preliminary analysis
identified two key changes that compose the bulk of the energy savings
associated with the updated code:
     RE31 (Fenestration): Lowers (improves) fenestration U-
factors in climate zones 3 through 8, and;
     RE127 (Lighting): Increases high-efficacy lighting from
75% to 90% of permanently installed fixtures in all homes.
    These changes are expected to have a significant and measurable
impact on energy efficiency in residential buildings because they
increase energy savings, and impact a significant fraction of new
homes. Overall, DOE's preliminary analysis found that the revisions in
the 2018 IECC will yield annual aggregated site energy, source energy,
and energy cost savings of 1.68 percent, 1.91 percent and 1.97 percent,
respectively.
    Together, the key impacts identified above are expected to result
in life-cycle cost savings ranging from a low of $398 in climate zone 1
to a high of $1071 in climate zone 8. Expected payback ranges from 0.0
years (immediate payback) in climate zones 1 and 2 to 1.8 years in
climate zone 3. National average savings are $480 with a payback of 1.1
years.
II. Public Participation
    DOE accepted public comments on the Notice of Preliminary
Determination for the 2018 IECC until June 3, 2019, and received
submissions from a total of three commenters. DOE received responsive
comments from two commenters. DOE received a comment from a third
commenter; however, this comment was not responsive because it was
outside the scope of this determination. Responsive public comments and
associated DOE answers are described below.
Responsible Energy Codes Alliance (RECA)
    Comment: RECA commented that it agrees with DOE's affirmative
determination, supports DOE's dual qualitative/quantitative approach to
assessing the 2018 IECC, and agrees that the improvements in
fenestration efficiency and lighting efficiency will likely have the
most directly positive impact on energy conservation. RECA also agrees
with DOE's split qualitative assessment of the Energy Rating Index
(ERI) changes, noting that higher thresholds will reduce energy
efficiency while enhanced envelope backstops will help maintain or
increase energy efficiency.
    RECA also commented that the consideration of costs and cost
effectiveness metrics are not referenced in 42 U.S.C. 6833(a)(5)(A),
and suggests they are therefore not appropriate to include in either
the preliminary or final determination. RECA further noted that
inclusion of cost information in the preliminary determination departs
from the precedent of previous determinations. RECA urged DOE to either
eliminate the cost discussion from the final determination or, at a
minimum, clarify that the cost effectiveness and payback information is
provided for informational purposes and does not play a role in the
determination. RECA noted that DOE's work to provide technical
assistance, including cost effectiveness information to states and
local jurisdictions, is part of its statutory directive in 42 U.S.C.
6833(d), but that such information should be provided through channels
other than this determination.
    Response: DOE notes that energy savings is the deciding factor in
making its preliminary and final determinations. Cost and payback
information is included for informational purposes only. DOE also
intends to continue to conduct comprehensive cost-effectiveness
analysis as a state technical assistance function in the future.
Edison Electric Institute (EEI)
    Comment: EEI commented that keeping the site-source conversion
factor used in the preliminary analysis static going forward ignores
regional variations, and ignores overall trends from a previous DOE
report that gives alternative, generally lower, ratios based on a
methodology that is responsive to future deployment of renewable
electricity generation. EEI indicated that
[[Page 67437]]
national source factors for electricity should decline over a 30-year
period, or a projected value representing the 2030 or 2040 timeframe
should be selected, to account for the increased prevalence of
renewable energy on the utility grid.
    Response: DOE acknowledges that the primary energy sources for
electricity generation are changing and agrees in principle that
renewable energy will likely result in lower site-source ratios in the
future. However, DOE's determination methodology is based simply on a
comparison of the first-year energy cost savings of the 2018 IECC
(relative to the previous 2015 IECC). The calculation relies on current
factors and does not make projections beyond the first year, as would
be necessary to apply the site-source conversion factors suggested by
the comment. The out-year approach would also further introduce risk
associated with future uncertainties regarding fuel prices, the shares
and distribution of heating fuels among new residences, the regional
distribution of new residences, or the mix of primary energy sources
for electricity generation. DOE therefore elects not to incorporate the
suggested change, although it notes that declining factors may be
appropriate for other forms of analysis where building energy code
impacts are projected into the future or assessed relative to changing
grid conditions.
III. Determination Statement
    Residential buildings meeting the 2018 IECC (compared to the
previous 2015 IECC edition) are expected to incur the following savings
on a weighted national average basis:
     1.68 percent of annual site energy;
     1.91 percent of annual source energy, and;
     1.97 percent of annual energy costs.
DOE has rendered the conclusion that the 2018 IECC will improve energy
efficiency in residential buildings, and, therefore, receives an
affirmative determination under Section 304(a) of ECPA.
IV. State Certification
    Based on today's determination, each State is required to review
the provisions of its residential building code regarding energy
efficiency, and determine whether it is appropriate for such state to
revise its building code to meet or exceed the energy efficiency
provisions of the 2018 IECC. (42 U.S.C. 6833(a)(5)(B)) This action must
be made not later than 2 years from the date of publication of a Notice
of Determination, unless an extension is provided.
A. State Review and Update
    The State determination must be: (1) Made after public notice and
hearing; (2) in writing; (3) based upon findings and upon the evidence
presented at the hearing; and (4) made available to the public. (42
U.S.C. 6833(a)(2)) States have discretion with regard to the hearing
procedures they use, subject to providing an adequate opportunity for
members of the public to be heard and to present relevant information.
The Department recommends publication of any notice of public hearing
through appropriate and prominent media outlets, such as in a newspaper
of general circulation. States should also be aware that this
determination does not apply to IECC chapters specific to
nonresidential buildings,\1\ as defined in the IECC. Therefore, States
should certify their evaluations of their State building codes for
residential buildings with respect to all provisions of the IECC,
except for those chapters not affecting residential buildings. Because
state codes are based on a variety of model code editions, DOE
encourages States to consider the energy efficiency improvements of the
2018 IECC, as well as other recent editions of the IECC, which may also
represent a significant energy and cost savings opportunity. DOE
determinations regarding earlier editions of the IECC are available on
the DOE Building Energy Codes Program website.\2\ Further national and
state analysis is also available.\3\
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    \1\ For information regarding nonresidential buildings based on
ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 see https://www.energycodes.gov/development/determinations.
    \2\ Available at http://www.energycodes.gov/regulations/determinations/previous.
    \3\ Available at http://www.energycodes.gov/development/residential/iecc_analysis.
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B. State Certification Statements
    State certifications are to be sent to the address provided in the
ADDRESSES section, or may be submitted to
[email protected], and must be submitted in accordance
with the deadline identified in the DATES section. If a State makes a
determination that it is not appropriate to revise the energy
efficiency provisions of its residential building code, the State must
submit to the Secretary, in writing, the reasons for this
determination, which shall be made available to the public. (42 U.S.C.
6833(a)(4))
    The DOE Building Energy Codes Program tracks and reports State code
adoption and certifications.\4\ Once a State has adopted an updated
residential code, DOE typically provides software, training, and
support for the new code, as long as the new code is based on the
national model code (i.e., the 2018 IECC). DOE has issued previous
guidance on how it intends to respond to technical assistance requests
related to implementation resources, such as building energy code
compliance software. (79 FR 15112) DOE also recognizes that some States
develop their own codes that are only loosely related to the national
model codes, and DOE does not typically provide technical support for
those codes. DOE does not prescribe how each State adopts and enforces
its energy codes.
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    \4\ Available at http://www.energycodes.gov/adoption/states.
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Requests for Extensions
    Section 304(c) of ECPA requires that the Secretary permit an
extension of the deadline for complying with the certification
requirements described above, if a State can demonstrate that it has
made a good faith effort to comply with such requirements, and that it
has made significant progress toward meeting its certification
obligations. (42 U.S.C. 6833(c)) Such demonstrations could include one
or both of the following: (1) A substantive plan for response to the
requirements stated in Section 304; or (2) a statement that the State
has appropriated or requested funds (within State funding procedures)
to implement a plan that would respond to the requirements of Section
304 of ECPA. This list is not exhaustive.
    Requests are to be sent to the address provided in the ADDRESSES
section, or may be submitted to [email protected].
     Signed in Washington, DC, on November 20, 2019.
Alexander N. Fitzsimmons,
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Office of
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
[FR Doc. 2019-26550 Filed 12-9-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6450-01-P