State and federal energy bills considered

A bill in Illinois would force all new structures in the state to follow the IECC, while a federal committee looks at renewable energy and new building codes.




A bill passed in the Illinois General Assembly will force all

new residential and commercial buildings in the state to follow the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

It awaits the signature of Governor Pat Quinn.


The Energy Efficient Building Act states that every new construction, including

alterations, additions, renovations, and repairs, has to follow the 2009

version of the IECC. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy ,  Illinois will

be the third state to adopt the code for commercial buildings, joining California and Florida.


A DOE study stated that the easiest way for a building to

comply with the new bill is to use more environmentally friendly boilers,

furnaces, insulation, and windows. Inefficient ways to cool, heat, and light

commercial structures are reasons that approximately 40% of energy created in

buildings is wasted.


The passing of the bill in Illinois coincides with a federal benchmark

created by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that would require

companies to use renewable energy and create a standard for building



With the help of Renewable Energy Systems , the

committee purposes a requirement on utility companies to supply 15% of their

electricity from renewable sources by 2021, as well as allowing them to replace

energy efficiency measures for over 25% of their target.


Building codes would take place at least every three years

in a way to reach 30% energy savings by 2010, based on the standards set in

2006, and 50% standards by a still un-determined time. DOE would assist in

creating the new codes. The new plan would require less than $50 million in

federal funding per year, according to the New York Times


A change in building codes would also result in a change for

engineers. Going green no longer can be an option for construction, and

environmentally efficient products for cooling, heating, lighting, and water

would likely see a rise in production. The renewable energy portion of the law

would have an impact as well to the engineering world, with items such as solar

panels being in higher demand.


Update:  The National Association of Realtors, National Association of Home Builders, and Commercial Real Estate Development Association were among nine building and realty trade groups that have expressed opposition to the federal renewable energy and building code law.

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