One of the primary goals of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is to increase the energy savings in residential and commercial buildings by 30% compared to the 2006 code. This latest version builds upon the 2009 IECC, which calls for 12% energy savings over 2006, and whose residential requirements focus on significantly tighter and more efficient envelopes and HVAC systems.
Meeting the standards set by the 2009 or 2012 codes—along with complying with Energy Star Version 3, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012—would challenge almost any builder. And standards are only going to get more rigorous. “Advocates are pushing for codes that would be 70% to 100% more efficient [than the 2006 code] by 2030,” cautioned Bill Wachtler, executive director of the Structural Insulated Panel Association. That’s the same year the U.S. Department of Energy is calling for affordable net-zero homes and the 2030 Challenge wants all new homes to be carbon neutral.