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Policy Center

BUILDING CODES

Although codes are a state and local issue, the entire country benefits if states and localities adopt better codes.

 

Model building codes are developed in open, consensus-based processes that rely on the latest research in building technology and enable all stakeholders to weigh in. This process includes energy codes, which are designed to help buildings save energy.

 

In 1992, Congress authorized DOE to examine each revised edition of the model energy code to determine whether it would save more energy as compared to the previous version, and provide technical assistance to the code-development organizations and to states and localities in adopting better energy codes.

 

Unfortunately, many states have not implemented the most up-to-date energy codes, leaving potential energy savings on the shelf. Worse, many local governments lack the capacity to adequately enforce building codes, and budget crunches caused by the pandemic are making it worse.

 

Congress can help by providing grants and technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy to help states, communities and the building industry adopt and enforce better codes. 

Wild Forest Fires

RESEARCH

Up-To-Date Building Codes Support Safe, Sustainable and Resilient Communities

Building codes represent a highly cost-effective strategy to help protect communities from the risks posed by natural and man-made events. Two recent national studies affirm the significant benefits up-to-date building codes provide communities.

Policy Ideas

Climate Resilient Communities Act (H.R. 1936)

Require GAO to evaluate and issue a report on the structural and economic impacts of climate resiliency at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, including recommendations on how to improve the building codes and standards that the Agency uses to prepare for climate change and address resiliency in housing, public buildings, and infrastructure such as roads and bridges.