Idaho Energy Codes

Building Safety Professionals of Southwest Idaho

Summary of Issue – October, 2022

There are currently rule changes being proposed before the Idaho State Building Code Board (IBCB) to eliminate more than 50 pages from the Idaho Energy Code, taking energy building requirements back to 2006 or before levels.

The IBCB will hear final testimony on this proposal on November 15, 2022 at 9 am at 11341 Chinden Blvd at which time they will vote to keep energy codes in Idaho or take us back 20 years. More information on the exact wording of language eliminations can be found here (Page 2).

ACTION NEEDED

We encourage anyone who is concerned about energy efficiency and climate change to contact the IBCB and let them know that you are not interested in going backwards on energy efficiency standards in Idaho and to not adopt the proposed cuts to the Idaho Energy Code.

Comments can be emailed to the Idaho Building Code Board via DOPL staff member Michael Hyde at: michael.hyde@dopl.idaho.gov

Or by mailing it to:

IBCB
PO Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720

They must be received prior to the hearing and we suggest by November 10.

Details of Issue:

1) These weakening proposals will result in unintended adverse consequences that must be weighed and carefully considered, namely:

  • increasing building energy waste and homeowner energy bills on Idaho families;
  • putting strain on owner/tenant budgets during extended cold snaps and heat waves;
  • making new homes less fire resistant and resilient to natural disasters;
  • unnecessarily increasing our local energy use, which can lead to the need for new power generation; and
  • potentially disqualifying the state from FHA and VA loans, State Energy Program funds, and disaster relief grants to states.

These outcomes can be avoided by simply doing what Idaho has long done: adopted the full version of the latest IECC building codes. Buildings often last for 50 years. Let’s set ourselves up for long-term success.

2) Now, regulations can be bad, but they can also be good. Governor Little’s Executive Order to remove regulations that are excessive, ineffective, or outdated is laudable and sensible, but updated building energy codes don’t meet any of his criteria for the regulatory chopping block.

The current energy standards in Idaho Code were adopted in 2021 after a two year review process involving the whole building industry to insure that they applied to Idaho and were not overly regulatory. In 2022, the Idaho State Legislature formally adopted the 2018 Energy Code into law (39-97).

3) The majority of comments received so far – from Idaho Power and a broad statewide spectrum of Idaho jurisdictions, businesses, and NGOs – support the 2018 Idaho Building Energy Code and are opposed to the weakening IBCB staff proposals.

These businesses and local governments understand that updated building codes improve home safety and affordability while slashing energy waste and stabilizing Idaho’s grid.

More Information

Why Protect Energy Codes in Idaho?

1. Strong energy codes protect you and your family’s health – personal benefit, emotional appeal, “human-centric”
2. Energy efficient homes are more comfortable, durable and provide a better return on investment – home value, emotional and rational appeal, “economic-centric”
3. Energy efficient homes reduce our environmental impact – common good, emotional appeal, “earth-centric” (this message is not to be used in 2020 but draft content is ready in case it is determined to use it in 2021)

Energy codes guard against pollutants, pests, mold, mildew, and vulnerability to extreme temperatures. Energy codes work in tandem with other building codes to ensure safe buildings.

  • Prevent pollutants
  • Prevents pests
  • Prevent mold and mildew
  • Decrease temperature vulnerability

Newer energy codes mean better exterior walls, roof and floor (the envelope) that act as a cozy blanket for your home. If a home’s envelope is not built right from the start, homeowners can be stuck with costly upgrades and higher energy bills for the life of the home.

Energy codes also guard against pollutants and mold that can be triggers for asthma. In 2018, 111,954 adults in Idaho suffered from asthma (according to the CDC). Outdoor pollutants (such as smoke) and mold are two of the most common causes of asthma attacks. The air sealing and moisture prevention measures of the energy code help prevent outdoor pollutants from leaking into the home and mold from growing.

A home built to the most current energy code is safer and healthier for you and your family.

To find out more about the link between energy efficiency and health in homes, the EPA provides additional resources.

Strong energy codes protect you and your family’s health

Energy codes also guard against pollutants and mold that can be triggers for asthma. In 2018, 111,954 adults in Idaho suffered from asthma (according to the CDC). Outdoor pollutants (such as smoke) and mold are two of the most common causes of asthma attacks. The air sealing and moisture prevention measures of the energy code help prevent outdoor pollutants from leaking into the home and mold from growing.

A home built to the most current energy code is safer and healthier for you and your family.

To find out more about the link between energy efficiency and health in homes, the EPA provides additional resources.

Energy efficient homes are more comfortable, durable and provide a better return on investment

Energy codes are the only building codes that return money to homeowners by paying dividends each month. From 1975 when national energy codes were first developed, over 30% energy savings have been achieved.

  • Improve comfort
  • Prevent rot, mold, and mildew
  • Increase durability and value

A home built to the most current energy code is based on the latest building science and results in a safer, more comfortable, and durable home that costs less to operate.

And, an energy efficient home can qualify applicants for more mortgage options and larger loan amounts. For example, the mortgage loan amount for an FHA and VA energy efficient mortgage (EEM) can be increased by the cost of effective energy improvements. For more information on energy efficient mortgages, click here.

For more information on the value of energy codes and how they protect consumers, learn more here.

For resources on how you can save money through utility home energy efficiency programs, click here and then the residential tab and utility resources.

Energy efficient homes are more comfortable, durable and provide a better return on investment

Energy codes are the only building codes that return money to homeowners by paying dividends each month. From 1975 when national energy codes were first developed, over 30% energy savings have been achieved.

  • Energy codes require sealing air leaks and controlling ventilation as well as building better exterior walls, roof, and floor that act as a cozy blanket for your home. Uncontrolled air flow can result in uncomfortable drafts and more risk of smoke spread in the case of a fire. Tightly-built and well-insulated homes with good windows help maintain livable temperatures for longer, allowing residents to stay inside during extreme weather events such as heat waves, blizzards, or wild fires.
  • Moisture issues can remain hidden until the structure is unsafe or health is adversely affected. To prevent rot, mold, and mildew, the energy code dives deep into building science to apply the latest advances for controlling heat, air, and moisture transfer through the envelope of the home using proper air sealing, insulation, and construction practices. Energy codes control condensation through the envelope, which can result in risks such as ice damming.
  • In addition to saving on utility bills every month, energy codes add long-term value to a home through durability measures such as better air sealing, insulation, and windows. If a home’s envelope is not built right from the start, homeowners can be stuck with costly upgrades and higher energy bills for the life of the home.

A home built to the most current energy code is based on the latest building science and results in a safer, more comfortable, and durable home that costs less to operate.

And, an energy efficient home can qualify applicants for more mortgage options and larger loan amounts. For example, the mortgage loan amount for an FHA and VA energy efficient mortgage (EEM) can be increased by the cost of effective energy improvements. For more information on energy efficient mortgages, click here.

For more information on the value of energy codes and how they protect consumers, click here.

Contact Us

Address: PO BOX 8382, Boise, ID 83707

Email: info@bspsi.org

Phone: (986) 273-9071

Join BSPSI Today