NEEA’s codes, standards and new construction team kept up a busy pace all summer with impactful activities in water heating standards and Washington state’s energy code. A few highlights follow.
• Washington completed a separate public process for implementing code changes that would prevent conflicts with federal standards. This effort was conducted due to concerns from the State Building Code Council that Washington’s newly completed Code might violate federal preemption for gas appliances, similar to the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling on federal preemption in Berkeley, California’s natural gas ban. The review process will continue into Q4 2023, and the State Building Code Council announced a new effective date for March 2024. The codes updates will provide greater choice for natural gas appliances, but will require more efficiency points for gas heated homes to offset emissions.
• The U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the consumer water heater standard incorporating many of the recommendations of NEEA’s joint stakeholder group that included major manufacturers Rheem and Bradford White. NEEA staff submitted comments along with the joint stakeholders affirming the U.S. DOE’s changes. The savings from this standard are expected to be the largest in the history of federal standards.
• The U.S. DOE released the first funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for code support included in the Inflation Reduction Act. $400M is being allocated within the 50 states and six federal territories. In the Northwest, if states pursue the 2021International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) — and over the next four years, a net zero code path — the U.S. DOE will fund code support up to $5.8M for Idaho, $3.7M for Montana, $4.5M for Oregon, and $5.5M for Washington. NEEA staff are available to help state energy organizations take advantage of this opportunity.