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U.S. Mayors Adopt Resolution to Strengthen Energy Codes

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This summer, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) unanimously adopted Resolution 86, “Uniting Cities to Accelerate Focus on the Economic and Climate Benefits of Boosting America’s Building Energy Efficiency,” during the organization’s annual meeting in Boston. This resolution seeks to continuously strengthen the country’s model building energy code, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), by putting it on a glide path to net-zero energy building construction by 2050. That means each code cycle would be accompanied by progressively higher mandates in efficiency.

Resolution 86 directly addresses two priorities: boost the energy efficiency of the nation’s new buildings and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions generated by new construction and building operation. Analyses by New York City–based McKinsey & Co. showed that building-efficiency measures have a “negative cost” in reduced carbon consumption, meaning that the utility bill savings that stem from efficient construction quickly recoup the initial cost of the efficiency improvements. With the federal government withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, cities have not retreated and determined that the best and most effective step they can take toward meeting Paris Accord and USCM target dates is greater building efficiency.

While the resolution was offered by Orlando mayor and seconded by the Mayor of Clarksville, TN, ironically, they may have little say in the energy codes adopted in their jurisdiction. Some states still still do not have a statewide building code but pass the responsibility to the local jurisdictions to adopt the codes themselves. Tennessee is two code cycles behind the current model codes. And Florida, the state that faces more hurricanes than any other, decided in 2017 to weaken its code adoption process.

Concrete buildings systems such as Insulating Concrete Forms have a proven track record for energy efficiency in the residential and commercial market. Build With Strength, a coalition led by NRMCA that promotes concrete building systems through communications, project promotion, education and advocacy, can help leverage energy code updates to help place more concrete. To learn more about these programs or for more information on how local energy policies can help you, contact Tien Peng at or 206-913-8535.


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