Market Transformation Strategies for Commercial Code Enhancement

Market Transformation Strategies for Commercial Code Enhancement

Authored by John Jennings, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance Neil Grigsby, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance Ken Baker, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (Paper presented at ACEEE 2018 Summer Study For Buildings)


Since the 1980 Power Act and development and widespread adoption of the Model Conservation Standards in the 1980s, Northwest entities have contributed significantly to advancement of energy codes within Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and nationally. 

Looking to the future, Northwest non-residential energy codes face three major challenges: 1) increasing difficulty identifying new cost-effective strategies that jurisdictions and the design and construction industry can effectively incorporate into policy and practice; 2) engaging a broader group of stakeholders in addition to the regional energy code advocates in the code development process; and 3) the greater challenge is market engagement, including utility demand-side programs and alignment of market best practices and emerging technologies into the code change process.  

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s Commercial Code Enhancement initiative bridges the gap between current and best practice adoption to inform jurisdictional policy choices. By bringing awareness and utility support to new, energy-efficient technologies, practices, and design and construction approaches, the initiative paves the way for each state to more thoughtfully adopt solution-oriented, market-supported code proposals. Increasing awareness, participation and buy-in from the market will streamline the adoption process, increase compliance, and ensure intended energy efficiency gains are realized. After developing state-specific coordination plans, the initiative builds momentum and support for code proposals through technology and market assessments, advanced training, and education. This paper describes an approach that resets the established code change processes in order to accelerate the introduction of new, innovative commercial code measures and approaches arising from emerging technology research and advanced market practices. In conjunction, this effort aims to coordinate and leverage regional efforts to align commercial new construction practices, utility programs, and state policies with those new measures and approaches.

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