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NEEP: Aligning Building Performance Standards and Energy Codes

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Overview

This resource explores how to better align energy code updates with building performance standards using innovative approaches.

Building performance standards (BPS) and building energy codes are two important strategies to decarbonize the built environment. While energy codes primarily address newly constructed buildings and, to a limited extent, existing buildings undergoing major upgrades such as additions and alternations, BPS specifically target existing buildings by setting emissions reductions goals that decrease over time.

NEEP has previously outlined the challenges of aligning these policies in our 2022 report The Nexus of Energy Codes and Building Performance Standards, but since its publication, more attention has been given to how jurisdictions can strategically develop complementary energy codes and building performance standards. For example, in May 2023 the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) published a BPS Technical Resource Guide that places considerable weight on how metrics for BPS and codes can be designed to achieve similar goals and avoid competing priorities.

Although energy codes and BPS serve slightly different functions, they can complement each other to jointly achieve decarbonization goals. Energy code provisions that are designed to prepare buildings for a BPS can help avoid major costly retrofits. This resource explores how several jurisdictions have successfully aligned their energy code updates with building performance standards, looking at both existing and new buildings. It will also discuss innovative approaches that can better align energy codes and BPS, including lessons learned from a conversation with Colorado’s Energy Office.

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