Cost-Effective Model Energy Codes and Standards for New Construction

Construction and Codes

Resolves that NAHB urges lawmakers, regulators, and other policymakers to support or adopt cost-effective energy codes, standards, and legislation that contain provisions where the initial cost and annual savings to home buyers meet the following criteria:

  1. Consider the needs of home buyers and renters with modest incomes and limited resources for down payment;
  2. Are based on the final cost to the home buyer rather than the change in costs to construction trades or the builder;
  3. Are estimated using methods and data that are recent and verifiable via published sources;
  4. Are estimated to show positive life-cycle metrics; and
  5. Are based on incremental evaluation of individual measures;

Further resolves that NAHB supports model energy codes and standards that meet the following criteria:

  1. Offer a comprehensive and cost-effective prescriptive compliance path for all types of residential buildings at any code-specified level of performance;
  2. Offer design flexibility in reaching energy performance goals and shall not impose unnecessary restrictions (including unreasonable mandatory backstops) on design choices for achieving specified levels of energy performance;
  3. Where energy codes pursue zero net energy goals or other high-performance goals, provide adopting jurisdictions and designers the flexibility for defining the right balance between building enclosure, heating and cooling systems, and renewable generation;
  4. Where code requirements are increased via additional measures with assigned credits, ensure that such provisions offer a minimum of two (2) cost-effective compliance paths per climate zone with options that can be evaluated as a package of measures that achieves the required performance level; and
  5. Offer alternative compliance paths via above-code programs (such as the National Green Building Standard);

Further resolves that NAHB recognizes that greenhouse gas emission reductions may be a consideration when evaluating proposed changes to energy codes;

Further resolves that NAHB supports renewable energy generation from all sources, sites (including onsite and offsite), and methods (including community- and utility-scale);

Further resolves that NAHB supports studies intended to:

  1. Determine energy-efficient measures that are cost-effective;
  2. Confirm through field evaluations that the code-specified increases in energy efficiency consistently achieve the expected levels of energy savings in buildings; and
  3. Confirm through evaluation that increases in energy efficiency pose no unintended consequences to health, safety, and welfare;

Further resolves that NAHB urges that any energy efficiency legislation or regulation related to housing shall be accompanied by an economic study of the impact on affordability, availability, and cost-effectiveness, and be conducted by an appropriate agency with responsibility over regulated housing programs;

Further resolves that NAHB supports the ability of jurisdictions to amend the model codes and standards to address specific cost, climatic, regional, market, and energy grid factors and to ensure compliance with the jurisdiction’s regulations;

Further resolves that NAHB continue to develop educational programs to help builders, code officials, and others understand and correctly apply the provisions of the energy codes and standards; and

Further resolves that NAHB urges jurisdictions and communities to focus their resources on improving the performance of existing buildings where more significant cumulative reduction in energy use, peak energy demand, and greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved when compared to new buildings which already comply with rigorous energy code requirements and add only about one (1) percent of the total number of homes to the nation’s housing stock per year.

Resolution originally adopted: 2024.6, Resolution No. 1

Committee with primary jurisdiction:

  • Construction, Codes & Standards Committee
Full Resolution The full text of this resolution is available for download