Energy codes regulate the design of buildings with the intent of conserving energy. They seek to improve building energy performance. In the past 15 years, the ASHRAE and IECC energy codes have been revised and rewritten, increasing the required energy efficiency of buildings by almost 40%. In 2012, commercial building energy consumption in the United States totaled 6.96 trillion BTU. In 2018, this figure grew to 9.40 quadrillion BTU¹.
If our energy codes are increasingly reducing the amount of energy a building or home can use, how can energy consumption be increasing? Revising the codes every three years is a necessary, responsible step in the process of reducing energy consumption; however, states and provinces choose how and when they will enforce these codes. For example, some states enforce the 2010 version of ASHRAE 90.1 while others use the 2013 or 2016 version. Twenty percent (20%) of states only enforce versions prior to 2007 or no code at all.
6,960,000,000,000 commercial building energy consumption (BTU) 2012
9,400,000,000,000,000 commercial building energy consumption (BTU) 2018
11,900,000,000,000,000 residential building energy consumption (BTU) 2018
(Quadrillion = fifteen zeros!)