July 26, 2012 | Andrea Krukowski

[NOTE: The 2012 awards cycle is now CLOSED. The next call for entries will be in Summer 2013.]

Strong building energy codes are one of the most effective tools for ensuring that buildings are energy efficient, minimizing lifetime operational costs, and maintaining healthy environments for occupants. Significant efforts have been made to enhance energy codes and bolster adoption rates in recent years, but there’s been a historic lack of funding targeted at training, outreach, implementation, and enforcement. And these days, building departments are stretched thin.

Given these obstacles, energy code compliance levels across the country are too low, and buildings are using more energy than they were designed to.

But many building departments are finding ways to do more with less, raising compliance rates despite time and budgetary constraints. To recognize them and encourage others to follow their example, IMT is launching a new award program.

The Excellence in Energy Code Compliance Award will recognize jurisdictions using innovative and cost-effective code compliance methods. One winning jurisdiction will receive registration and a travel stipend to attend the International Code Council (ICC) Annual Conference in Portland, Ore., for the chance to participate in professional education seminars, networking opportunities, and the Final Action Code Hearings. Winners will be announced by ICC leadership at the Opening Session of the conference and featured in EcoHome, a national green building magazine of the American Institute of Architects. They will also be profiled on IMT’s website.

Improving energy code compliance nationwide would result in huge benefits: a taskforce led by IMT found that every $1 spent on code compliance efforts yields up to $6 of energy savings. Moreover, as a condition of accepting American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding in 2009, all states now need to reach 90 percent compliance levels with target energy codes by 2017.

With the ARRA funding condition as an impetus, and as political, environmental, and economic pressures to reduce energy use and carbon emissions mount, building departments have piloted a range of inventive strategies to increase code compliance. We look forward to showcasing them as part of the award program.

IMT welcomes entries and nominations from around the country. Applications are available at imt.org/codes/code-compliance and are due August 15. All local and state enforcement programs are eligible, including programs supported by utilities and those that depend on third-party enforcement companies.

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Andrea Krukowski

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