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The Online Code Environment and Advocacy Network

Effective Residential Compliance Techniques

Builders and Designers


Ensuring energy code compliance is efficiently incorpo-

rated throughout the entire building life cycle, from de-
sign to building and even during renovation.


The residential construction community plays a pivotal

role in determining the energy efficiency of buildings.
Design professionals as well as builders must take into
consideration two critical issues:
Courtesy of DOE-NREL, Credit—Paul Norton

Incorporating energy code and efficiency issues in the upfront planning and design effort

Preparing, organizing and presenting proper documentation

To accomplish these goals, designate a central point of compliance responsibility. As part of the project planning
process, clearly carve out responsibility for code compliance. That individual can manage compliance for all the ap-
plicable codes for the structure. By doing this, the CEO can conduct one integrated review and field check of all im-
portant details, coordinating with a single point of contact for sign-off. Sub-contractors should also be involved, or at
least notified of their responsibilities in the process to facilitate co-ordination.

To ensure the compliance process goes smoothly, designers and builders should act in close cooperation with Code
Enforcement Officials (CEOs) . For their part, CEOs should insist that all design elements be considered before com-
pliance documents are even submitted. This will help avoid costly time delays resulting from design or construction
changes and subsequent requests for further compliance information.


Start early. Paying careful attention to energy codes from the earliest possible point ensures requirements are effi-
ciently incorporated into the design and construction planning. At the outset of each project, designers and builders
should consider the impact of energy codes on issues such as air sealing and insulation.

Get your house in order. All code compliance requires supporting documentation that should be gathered and sub-
mitted, including: 1) efficiency labels and guides and 2) data on plans and drawings.

OCEAN is an online resource of the Building Codes Assistance Project

BCAP 1850 M St. NW Suite 600 | Washington, DC 20036 |
Effective Residential Compliance Techniques
Energy efficient construction resources from the US-DOE Building America
program. The climate-specific area of the site may be of particular interest.

Builders Challenge from the US-DOE Building America program

Builders Challenge for high-performance homebuilders from the US-DOE

Building America program

Research teams from the US-DOE Building America program

High-performance building resources from the US-EPA Energy Star Home


The Colorado Code College website

The International Codes Council website

The US-DOE Building Energy Codes Program website

Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons,
Code Compliance Guides
Look or ask for these kinds of materials in your state or jurisdiction to aid in providing guidance for energy code com-
pliance. Guides like these might also be developed by Homebuilders Associations or AIA chapters for the use of their

The BCAP 2006 IECC Prescriptive Compliance Poster

Compliance Guides that may be developed by states or jurisdictions and provide guidance to permit applicants.

Vermont’s Compliance Guide is an example. The Guide can be a useful tool for code officials, and may be pro-
vided to permit applicants for reference.

Sample Compliance Forms and Worksheets

These are the types of materials that might be provided in your jurisdiction for permit applicants to ensure energy
code compliance. Make sure you ask for these materials, and include them on plans or otherwise in compliance sub-

OCEAN is an online resource of the Building Codes Assistance Project

For more information, please visit us at:
A joint initiative of the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), the Natural Resources Defense

BCAP Council (NRDC), and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
1850 M St. NW Suite 600 | Washington, DC |