Codes + standards

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We provide expert knowledge and guidance to advance and enforce energy codes.

Local and state government control of energy codes has the potential to be one of the largest drivers of energy savings in the coming decade. Our research team uses deep knowledge of building design and codes to provide guidance for these initiatives. We focus on code advancement from a few angles:

Codes and standards programs

Local governments are interested in moving energy codes both further and faster. In order to do so, significant technical support is needed to determine and justify these accelerated pathways. We laid some technical foundation for these efforts. We also investigated the ability of utility programs, and their associated funding, to be a primary technical support source for ongoing efforts. Our research includes:

Code compliance

Without code compliance, there’s no energy impact. The compliance challenge increases as codes become more stringent. Slipstream investigates how code compliance and enforcement work in different jurisdictions. We provide recommendations for policies, approaches, and programs to support the building design and construction community to reach the highest rate of compliance possible. Our work includes:

Research | June 1, 2020
How can future versions of the ASHRAE 90.1 energy standard drive more energy cost savings? No studies have been conducted that determine the energy cost savings for buildings that comply with ASHRAE’s standard 90.1-2010 vs. the 2004 version based on utility bill data and building surveys. Slipstream will address this gap by documenting the energy performance of two building types. Then we’ll explore how to improve future versions of the standard to drive energy cost savings. More
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Research | May 1, 2020
What is the best way to accelerate the development and adoption of energy efficient technologies? Codes and standards programs are the most cost-effective of all the program options utilities can choose, according to a recent LBNL report. Why? Because standards can impact all major equipment, and codes can impact all buildings, giving the program the widest possible deployment footprint. More
contractors discussing plans
Research | April 23, 2020
Do stringent energy codes actually decrease energy use in homes? We find out. Residential building code is updated every three years with more advancements, but are those new code guidelines adopted and enforced? Are new and renovated homes following the latest code and producing decreased energy usage? We conducted a field study of 100 Minnesota homes that were either newly built or substantially renovated to establish a baseline level of energy use. To take a more realistic approach to our research, we interviewed the homeowner, not the builder. More
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Research | April 23, 2020
Can utilities affect changes to building codes to improve energy savings? How feasible is it for utilities to increase cost-effective energy savings by influencing state or local building codes? We worked with an Illinois utility to find out. We reviewed information on how other states, most notably California, incorporated code programs in their portfolio. We investigated methods for attributing savings from these programs and interviewed Illinois stakeholders for their perspective on opportunities for code programs. More
Publication | April 11, 2020
Code compliance: the only path to energy savings from advanced codes Many cities lean on advanced building energy codes to meet climate action plan goals. Energy savings that drive reduced emissions and bill savings for businesses and consumers are two great benefits. But are all buildings under construction following code? The City of Providence, RI partnered with Slipstream to find out. More
News | March 27, 2020
Slipstream’s team of researchers, with support from U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grants, will illuminate the future of energy productivity - both inside buildings and on the evolving grid. By partnering with DOE, our team will be on the front lines of needed change in the flexible building technology space which includes heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and lighting. This research will: More