Update on the International Code Councils (ICC) Proposed Changes to the 2024 Edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
As a reminder, the
Public Comment Draft #1 of the 2024 International Energy Conservation Code® Commercial Provisions was released earlier this month for public comment and commentors have until Friday, October 21 to provide comments on the commercial provisions to the IECC. AGA staff and some BECS’s committee members have reviewed the proposal and at this time have not identified any provisions that are troublesome for the application of the direct use of natural gas in commercial buildings. But the review is ongoing and all BECS members are requested to review the draft and identify any provisions that are of concern. Proposals that supported “electrification”, i.e., electric ready, electric only, etc. were not approved by the Commercial Consensus Committee in the public draft.  Unfortunately, during this public review, commentors can resubmit proposals that are pro-electrification or anti-fossil fuel that will again be addressed by the Commercial Consensus Committee. The Residential Consensus Committee met this week and finalized the proposed revisions to the residential coverage in the IECC and unlike the commercial provisions, this week, the committee adopted pro electrification provision , i.e., electric ready in the body of the code and Appendix provisions that include all electric coverage (Appendix provisions are not mandatory in the code). The complete residential provisions for the IECC are being prepared for public review and once available, the comments can be submitted on the proposal. We will provide the public 45 day review version of the residential provisions in the IECC when available including the deadline for comments. We will also include a full analysis of the proposal and suggested public comments on the troublesome provisions.

City of Chicago Passes “Energy Transformation Code” Impacting Natural Gas Applications.
This week, the City of Chicago passed the  2022  “Energy Transformation Code” that includes provisions that negatively impact natural gas applications and is the latest energy code adoption process that adopts the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) but adds additional requirements that are above the 2021 IECC baseline code requirements and did not go through a national consensus development process that would include a cost effective analysis. Here are the additional provisions in the Chicago Energy Transformation Code:
• Requires placement of windows in new buildings to minimize energy demands due to solar heat gain in summer
• Requires new low-rise commercial buildings, such as warehouses, to be designed so roofs can support the future installation of solar panels
• Requires new residences with gas-fired appliances to be built with the electrical capacity and wiring necessary to switch to electric appliances in the future without opening walls or upgrading the electrical service
• Requires improved insulation to reduce heat loss through the exterior walls of buildings with projecting balconies or parapets
• Incentivizes the use of smart heating, cooling, and hot water equipment that is integrated with the electric grid to reduce demand during peak usage
• Requires indoor plant-growing facilities to use energy-efficient lighting
• Prohibits new decorative gas lighting
This supplementary adoption of energy provisions above the 2021 IECC, is the latest example of states and jurisdictions adopting energy code provisions that negatively impact natural gas applications. BECS Committee members are reminded to be vigilant of building energy code adoptions within your service territory and to be responsive in providing responses that can help in keeping these types of troublesome and not justified provisions from being adopted into the energy code. AGA BECS Committee staff can be contacted for assistance in providing fact-based responses to energy code provisions that are not justified and will not save energy.