There’s a lot that goes into a new construction, and much of it is contingent on the laws put in place for environmental causes. Since buildings account for 40% of global emissions, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) serves as an impactful way to reverse that damage with mindful regulations for the future. What does this mean for the future of building code compliance in 2021? Let’s unpack the IECC and what it means for your construction projects moving forward.


Understanding IECC and Code Compliance in 2021

New laws and regulations leave a lot to unpack. Although the IECC was created in 2000, it updates every three years to give a more modern, prescriptive outlook of building regulations that are needed for a more sustainable future. Do you need to know more about what the IECC is, what building code changes have taken effect, and how to meet energy efficiency targets? Let the experts at Skilled Services tell you all about it.

What Is IECC?

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is a building code created by the International Code Council (ICC). It is a model code that establishes minimum design and energy efficiency requirements, “using prescriptive and performance-related provisions.”

For construction, this can have many meanings. Whether it’s higher efficiency, lower carbon emissions, or an increase in the value of new construction, the IECC is designed to keep construction modern with forward, sustainable momentum. As we head into 2021, we only see IECC becoming more important to building code, with movements around technology and environmentalism sweeping today’s current events.

How Is IECC Changing This year?

To stay current to the times, the IECC code is updated every 3 years through a process involving a forum of energy professionals, partners, and code officials that gather to discuss and vote on building codes. 2021 code changes set a record high—four to five times more votes were cast than in previous code cycles—due to an online voting option created by the ICC to supplement pandemic restrictions.

To summarize, here are some of the most notable changes made for the 2021 IECC model code for Tennessee building code:

  • Increases in ceiling R-values in Climate Zones 2 thru 8 (Knoxville is Zone 7a)
  • Energy recovery ventilation or heat recovery ventilation is required in Climate Zones 7 and 8
  • Zero Energy Appendix requires compliance with an ERI score without considering renewables and, furthermore, a score of “0” with renewables

What to Expect

The IECC codes for residential and commercial buildings are projected to save:

  • $126 billion energy cost savings
  • 841 MMT of avoided CO2 emissions
  • 82 quads of primary energy

These savings can be hard to comprehend, but this is huge. To put it into real-world terms, those savings are equivalent to 177 million passenger vehicles, 245 coal power plants, or 89 million homes!

The approved proposals in the 2021 IECC will result in at least a 10% efficiency improvement over the 2018 IECC for residential and commercial buildings. Because the proposals cover a wide range of measures, they create greater flexibility for code users and local jurisdictions as they look towards new construction projects. Consider these regulations as protections, not setbacks, so our environment can continue to sustain itself for generations to come.

Choose Skilled Services for Sustainability and Expertise

Regulations like the IECC are in everyone’s best interest, so make sure to hire construction that cares about the environment as much as you do. Our history in sustainability projects makes us the perfect choice to remain compliant on all new building codes as they come. Our experts will bring the latest standards in construction to you. At Skilled Services, we specialize in sustainability that saves both the earth and your wallet.

We care about your project and building a lasting relationship with your business. Construction doesn’t have to be out of touch, and we are firm believers in having a highly knowledgeable staff with the customer service to go the extra mile. If you’re looking for excellent building services with up-to-date knowledge that ensures you stay compliant on all building codes, book an appointment with us today to see what Skilled Services can do for you.

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