Building Energy Codes

Building energy codes set minimum standards for energy-efficient design and construction in new and renovated buildings. Since buildings are responsible for 39 percent of energy consumption in the United States, codes are an important tool for energy conservation.

Energy Code Field Guides and Videos

Southface developed several field guides and videos to help code officials and design and building construction professionals in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi understand energy code requirements. To view the videos or download the field guides, visit the links below:

Southface would like to thank the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), the Alabama Department of Community Affairs (ADECA) and the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) for funding this work.

Additional Resources

Recent Developments

Codes are continuously evolving to increase the safety and efficiency in our nation’s buildings.  When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was enacted on February 17, 2009, it marked a major step in improving energy efficiency in building codes. States receiving ARRA funding must adopt a residential energy code that meets or exceeds the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and a commercial energy code that meets or exceeds ASHRAE 90.1-2007.

Energy Codes in Georgia

As of January 1, 2011, new construction and renovations in Georgia must comply with the 2009 IECC plus Georgia Supplements and Amendments. Because chapter 5 of the 2009 IECC references ASHRAE 90.1-2007, commercial buildings (and high-rise residential buildings) may either comply with chapter 5 of the 2009 IECC or ASHRAE 90.1-2007. One of the new requirements in Georgia’s energy code is that all new single-family homes be tested for envelope and duct tightness. This testing requirement for ducts and homes will be enforced beginning July 1, 2011; however, provisions that require whole-house air and duct sealing went into effect January 1. For additional resources and links on the Georgia energy code, click here.

Mechanics and Content

The energy code identifies insulation R-values, window performance requirements, air-sealing measures, building envelope testing guidelines and more. Once builders meet the mandatory requirements in the energy code (like air sealing and testing), they have three options to demonstrate energy code compliance. A builder can choose to follow the prescriptive requirements in the energy code which lay out minimum R-values, window performance requirements and more. A builder who needs more flexibility may instead choose to make simple trade-offs using the free REScheck (for residential) or COMcheck (for commercial) software. If even more flexibility is required, builders may also conduct a detailed energy simulation.

Interested in Learning More?

Visit our learning center to learn more about Southface's energy code trainings.

Visit our Duct and Envelope Tightness (DET) page to learn more about becoming a DET verifier or to view our DET resources.

For Georgia energy code resources and links, click here.