Recent Actions to Increase Model Energy Code by 30% for Residential Housing will Impact HUD-Code

The International Energy Conservation Code Council (IECC), at a meeting last week in Charlotte, North Carolina, voted to adopt a new national model energy code that boosts new home and commercial energy efficiency by 30%, and will likely impact the Department of Energy’s (DOE) efforts to establish comparable standards for manufactured housing.

The DOE is currently drafting the standards, and plans to publish a proposed rule early next year. The Systems Building Research Alliance’s Executive Director, Emanuel Levy, at a DOE meeting last week, confirmed that indeed, the DOE will use the new 2012 IECC code as model for new manufactured housing standards. Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the DOE must establish energy standards for manufactured homes that are based on the most recent version of the IECC Code, and must also consider the cost effectiveness of the standards for manufactured homebuyers.

Both in meetings with DOE officials, and in our written comments, MHI has warned of the impact of new energy standards on the ability of many homebuyers to afford the increased home costs of the new standards, particularly since loan underwriting and appraisal standards do not consider the increased costs of energy conservation features in new homes. At its Legislative Meeting in April, MHI’s Board of Directors voted to support amending EISA to clarify that the DOE, in setting new standards for manufactured homes, consider the lowest total costs to the purchaser, including financing and down payments.

The action last week by the IECC won the support of officials from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, The National Association of State Energy Officials, and a broad-based Energy Efficient Codes Coalition.

The model energy code governs residential and commercial building construction, additions, and renovations in 47 states and the District of Columbia where local building codes are based on these national model standards. In the residential sector, improvements will:

  • Require that new homes are better sealed to reduce heating and cooling losses
  • Improve the efficiency of windows and skylights
  • Increase insulation in ceilings, walls, and foundations
  • Reduce wasted energy from leaky heating and cooling ducts
  • Improve hot-water distribution systems to reduce wasted energy and water in piping
  • Boost lighting efficiency

Code officials also voted to eliminate the weaker Energy Chapter of the International Residential Code.

For more information, MHI members can contact Lois Starkey at

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