More Bang for the Buck: Does Increased Code Compliance Result in kWh and kW Savings?

The energy benefits of increased code compliance have generally been viewed through the lens of energy savings – kWh and therms. Peak demand reduction as an additional benefit of increased code compliance is a comparatively unexplored area – despite a general acknowledgement that there are electric demand savings (kW) associated with increased energy code compliance. The ability to include peak demand reduction as a component of the code compliance savings has important and significant benefits. The inclusion of demand savings will improve the cost effectiveness of many energy saving programs and it offers a new path for engaging utilities in energy reduction, since the inclusion of code compliance demand reduction may allow utilities to defer, or even eliminate, the construction of new, capital-intensive generating capacity.
The authors investigated this problem using a randomized set of new single-family homes in the state of Kentucky. Information about the building envelope and mechanical systems was collected for 54 homes. Detailed energy modeling was then used to evaluate the potential impact of improved code compliance on peak demand. This paper describes the methodology developed for calculating demand reduction attributable to increased residential energy code compliance and the potential kW savings available. Two independent aspects of demand reduction were analyzed – improved measure level compliance, and HVAC equipment sizing. The potential statewide annual measure level savings ranged from 40 kW to 2,987 kW depending on the measure. The potential statewide annual HVAC equipment sizing savings was 2,373 kW, along with a corresponding annual statewide energy savings of 624,325 kWh. 

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