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MEEA Celebrates a Successful 2nd Annual Building Energy Codes Conference

Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance held its 2nd Annual Building Energy Codes Conference on October 5th and 6th at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, IL with great success. The event brought together key members of the energy codes industry in the Midwest region. Attendees included a wide range of stakeholders represented by state code officials, state energy officials, gas and electric utilities, energy code advocates, manufacturers, energy efficiency program administrators, architects, and individuals from trade organizations. The goal of the event was to develop a regional approach to promoting the adoption and improving compliance with the energy code. A wide variety of companies, backgrounds, and states were represented which gave the audience a wide knowledge base to learn about the current status of energy codes and a great networking opportunity for individuals that may not have had the chance to interact otherwise.

The conference began with a discussion on the upcoming building energy codes and how they might be adopted. First was an overview of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code for residential buildings and of ASHRAE 90.1-2010 for commercial structures by Pam Cole of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Both standards are currently under consideration in many states to formulate the next baseline building code. Her presentation was followed by a practical and logistical review of “Issues Related to Upcoming [Code] Adoption” by Bruce Nelson of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Bruce denoted items to consider, especially related to ventilation, air quality and post-construction testing, with the implementation of these standards.

The focus for the second half of the day was cooperation between utility programs and energy codes. Adam Cooper of the Institute for Electric Efficiency gave an overview presentation on the interaction of utilities and energy codes. It was followed by Chris Baker of the Weidt Group who spoke about the idea of calculating or claimed energy savings from implementing code programs. Jim Edelson, Senior Project Manager at the New Buildings Institute, presented how his firm’s Core Performance Guide could be used to outline a code program or stretch code. Isaac Elnecave of MEEA completed the panel discussion with examples of collaborative activities underway in California and Massachusetts between utilities and the states.

The shorter, second day of the conference began with a panel discussion on the State Compliance Pilot Studies completed in WI, IA, and IL. Members of the panel included John Spalding of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, Brian Bishop of the Iowa Department of Public Safety, and David Baker of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). Each member discussed the methodologies utilized in the pilot studies in their respective states and answered questions about their findings.

Following the morning discussion, a presentation on the use of third party enforcement was started by Brian Bishop from the State of Iowa. He suggested the use of HERS Raters for code compliance work is possible and maybe an ideal solution for rural jurisdictions. He was followed by a presentation on the State of “Wisconsin’s Experience with Third Party Enforcement” by Henry Kosarzycki of AIA Wisconsin. After a general discussion of panel’s topic, the conference was adjourned.

Comments from the attendees expressed great satisfaction with the presentations and the ability to have lengthy audience participation following the formal panel discussions. After two years of successful events, MEEA plans on maintaining this conference as an annual event. They also plan to keep participants up to date on adoption and implementation activities in each Midwest state through a quarterly Energy Codes Quarterly Teleconference call. To participate in this call, please contact Michael Hairston at