Midwest Energy Codes Status Report - September 13, 2013

Midwest Energy Codes Status Report

September 13, 2013

The following is a brief rundown of building energy codes activity in the Midwest/Plains states.

Building Energy Codes Activity:


  • The Michigan Bureau of Construction Codes began a review of the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC), including Chapter 11 on energy efficiency. The first meeting of the Residential Code Review Committee took place August 28th, where committee members received code books and chapters of the IRC were assigned to respective committee members for review.  In the upcoming meetings, the committee will review the changes between the 2009 IRC and 2012 IRC and discuss which sections of Michigan’s code should be updated. The committee will separately review each proposed code change from the 2009 IRC to the 2012 IRC, including energy and construction cost impacts.  Members of the public may propose amendments to the 2009 IRC until October 18th at the BCC website, using the amendment proposal form. The Residential Code Review Committee meeting schedule is also available on the BCC website

The Michigan Legislative Service Bureau released a draft commercial building code and a schedule for public comments, but the energy efficiency portion of the code has not been updated. Review of the commercial energy code will take place at a later date.


  • The Omaha, Nebraska city council is planning to update their residential energy code to an amended version of the 2012 IECC later this year.  As part of the effort by advocates in Nebraska, local news media were invited to a home energy audit, and a local television station included a story on the energy code update on the local news.  Coverage can be viewed on Omaha’s Fox website here, or on BCAP’s youtube channel.

The process to update the commercial energy code in Omaha will begin soon, with adoption not expected until the middle of 2014. Several surrounding municipalities are expected to follow the lead of Omaha’s city council with respect to updating their residential and commercial energy codes.

  • Lincoln, Nebraska will begin the process to update the municipal energy code by convening a stakeholder group to discuss the residential and commercial 2012 IECC.  The group is expected to recommend amendments to the city council.  The council expects to finish the process some time in 2014.


  • The city council is expected to vote on an updated version of the municipal building energy code at the city council meeting on Monday, September 16th. At the previous council meeting a bill was introduced to adopt a version of the residential portion of the 2012 IECC that includes several amendments, making it similar to the 2009 IECC in terms of energy measures. A bill was also introduced that would maintain the commercial energy code at the current 2009 IECC level.  Advocates in Columbia are still urging council members to support a strong version of the 2012 IECC for residential and commercial buildings.

Building Energy Benchmarking Activity:


On Wednesday, September 11th, the Chicago City Council passed a building energy benchmarking and disclosure ordinance that regulates public, commercial, and high rise residential building types. The ordinance requires building owners and operators to utilize an industry standard, web-based program - EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager - to submit annual energy use data to the City for buildings greater than 50,000 square feet (roughly 1% of all structures within the city, and in general terms, buildings greater than 7 stories). The ordinance requires a phased-in, transparent approach to public disclosure of energy use statistics.  For more information, including a schedule of disclosure requirements, download the City of Chicago’s press release on the benchmarking ordinance.

You may also contact Steve Kismohr, Senior Technical Manager at MEEA, for more information on benchmarking activity in Chicago and the Midwest region: skismohr@mwalliance.org.

4th Annual Midwest Building Energy Codes Conference:

MEEA will hold its 4th Annual Midwest Building Energy Codes Conference in Louisville, Kentucky from October 22nd – 24th.  The first day of the event will be a full day pre-conference focused on issues related to building energy benchmarking and disclosure.  The second day will begin with an introductory “Energy Codes 101” breakfast, followed by a full day on Wednesday and half day on Thursday focused on energy code issues in the Midwest.  For more information, contact Matthew Giudice at MEEA, mgiudice@mwalliance.org. Information on past conferences can be found on MEEA’s website.

For more information on MEEA’s energy codes activities, please contact:

Isaac Elnecave | Senior Policy Manager                   Matthew Giudice | Building Policy Associate
Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance                      Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
312.784.7253                                                           312.374.0926
ielnecave@mwalliance.org                                    mgiudice@mwalliance.org