5 Steps Your City Can Take to Boost Building Energy Efficiency by 10%

The year-long process to develop the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code culminates with cities’ online vote beginning November 18.

In just a few days, cities across the country have a golden opportunity to boost the efficiency of America’s Model Building Energy Code (the International Energy Conservation Code, or IECC) by at least 10%.

Buildings are the largest energy consuming sector and one of the primary sources of carbon emissions in the United States. By participating in the International Code Council process, cities, towns and villages can tackle top priorities of improving energy efficiency, reducing energy consumption, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This big step forward will slash energy bills for residents and businesses and help stabilize the grid. The cost of any energy and carbon reductions will be quickly and fully recouped through lower energy bills over the 100-year or more life span of more efficient buildings. Achieving a 10% efficiency gain will reduce nearly 50 million metric tons of carbon emissions from buildings by 2030. A win-win-win for communities and residents!

Local governments played an important role in achieving the nearly 40% efficiency boost in the 2009 and 2012 IECC updates.  While cities voted to defeat efforts to roll-back those gains in the subsequent 2015 and 2018 IECC updates, there weren’t enough votes cast to improve the building efficiency.

This time around, because of increased awareness, cities and states across the country signed up over 500 new Governmental Memberships (GMs). Since local governments are the lion’s share of ICC voting members, energy efficiency gains are within reach if cities cast their votes during the ICC’s online voting window, November 18 through December 5.

Each ICC Governmental Member (cities can have more than one) can cast 4, 8, or 12 votes, depending on population. For example, the City of Fort Collins, CO has 3 GMs totaling 36 votes, the City of Santa Fe, NM has 2 GMS with 16 votes and the City of Geneva, IL has 1 GM with 4 votes. It is important to ensure that the people who are voting for your city are doing so in a manner that is consistent with the policies of your city.

Over the course of the year, the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC) has been working to introduce proposals to the ICC that will achieve at least a 10% boost in residential, multifamily, and commercial buildings using readily available and cost-effective measures.

The EECC has developed a voting guide for local governments highlighting the top votes Governmental Voting Representatives can make to secure a 10% efficiency gain the 2021 IECC, as well as a comprehensive voting guide with all efficiency-related proposals.

5 Steps for Maximizing Your City Votes in the ICC

  1. Identify your city’s Governmental Memberships and ICC-registered Governmental Member Voting Representatives (GMVR). ICC Governmental Memberships dues had to be paid by March 29 and GMVR rosters validated by September 23.
  2. ICC encourages all GMVRs to set up their password and security questions before online voting begins.
    1. Log in to myICC (User Name for cdpACCESS is your email address)
    2. Choose My Information on the middle left of the screen.
    3. The “Change My Passwordscreen is the place to check/update your PIN and date of birth. Both fields are necessary security questions for the voting process.
    4. For login help, call 1-888-ICC-SAFE (422-7233)
  3. Make sure your GMVRs have EECC’s voting guide, the only guide endorsed by the nation’s efficiency community.
  4. Each GMVR should set aside an hour to vote. ICC’s online ballot will include hundreds of proposals, and some of these votes will require two-thirds majorities to prevail.
  5. It will be easiest if your GMVRs vote en masse (pizza optional) to conquer the “learning curve” and tackle any voting issues together. EECC will post “How-to-vote” YouTube videos, voting webinars, and is ready to answer any questions about your city’s Governmental Memberships and/or technical assistance about the specific 2021 IECC efficiency proposals. Contact EECC online, e-mail bfay@ase.org, or call Bill Fay at (202) 744-4572.

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About the author: William Fay has led seven broad-based national issue campaigns that coordinate lobbying, media, communications, and grassroots advocacy. A coalition builder, he organized and led the nation’s premier coalitions on 1990 Clean Air Act reauthorization, product liability reform, multi-year highway legislation, and President Bush’s Clear Skies Initiative.  He was named one of GreenBuilder® Media’s “2018 Eco-Leaders.”