Final Report on Energy Impacts of Commercial Building Code Compliance in Rhode Island

download the report here – Final RI compliance energy analysis 7-17-17

July 17, 2017

Mark Frankel
Technical Director New Buildings Institute

Kevin Madison and Jeremy Lerond
Madison Engineering

To summarize –

Energy codes represent a powerful policy tool to drive improvements in the energy performance of new buildings. Recent increases in code stringency have figured into larger policy goals to address broad reductions in energy use in the building sector.

The broad energy code landscape includes participation and influence by utility programs that support stringent codes directly, and that support adoption of technical strategies and building features that can be incorporated into codes. To achieve the intended savings, it is important to ensure a high degree of compliance with energy codes in the marketplace. Significant resources are spent by jurisdictions across the country to enforce energy code provisions. Additional resources are spent to evaluate the degree to which projects comply with code provisions.

Typically, the analysis of compliance rates focuses on individual building characteristics to determine whether these individual components meet code requirements. This information is often collected in field studies that evaluate building characteristics once the projects are completed. The results of these studies are reported as compliance rates, both with individual code requirements, and as a whole building assessment of whether all of the code requirements have been met in any given building.

Although this approach to analyzing energy code compliance can identify enforcement and compliance issues, it does not provide a mechanism to quantify the energy impact of these characteristics.

This analysis is intended to provide a mechanism to quantify the energy impacts of energy code compliance patterns seen in recent field data collection and analysis of building characteristics. In all building types analyzed, the prototypes modeled with the building characteristics identified in the field study perform better than code baseline prototypes. For example, in the school building prototype with a water source heat pump, the building exceeds the performance requirements of the energy code in either compliance baseline (2009 or 2012), by approximately 7%. Though some building characteristics do not meet code requirements, most notably lighting controls and some envelope characteristics, overall this is more than made up for by the energy savings from lower LPD’s and installed heating and cooling efficiencies that lead to significant total building energy savings above code.

One Response

  1. It’s really interesting that businesses need to be in compliance with strict energy codes and that heating and cooling falls in those categories. I would imagine that it would be difficult to get large buildings to be energy efficient. For this reason, if I were a business owner, I would hire a commercial heating expert.

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