Policy Solution

Energy efficient building codes

Mandate

Overview:

Summary: Setting more energy efficient building energy codes can drive the implementation of cooling strategies. Mechanical cooling often makes up a large portion of total building energy use. Adoption of more energy efficient designs and technologies such as passive cooling and sensor systems to measure usage can reduce overall heat gain by reducing waste heat and minimize the building's cooling load.

Implementation: Update building energy codes to require increased energy efficiency in new and existing buildings. Building Performance Standards can be used to set long-term goals with phased; interim targets.

Considerations for Use: This intervention will have the greatest impact in geographies anticipating increasing or continued growth with new development. Governing authorities without sufficient capacity or authority to adopt regulations could consider voluntary requirements. Energy efficient building codes are particularly impactful in hot and humid climates where mechanical cooling makes up a significant portion of energy costs.

  • Policy Levers: The mechanism municipalities can use to actualize the intervention. These policy levers will likely be used in combination with each other.

    MandateMandates are government regulations that require stakeholders to meet standards through building codes, ordinances, zoning policies, or other regulatory tools.
  • Trigger Points: Opportunities for municipalities to implement risk reduction and preparedness interventions based on the policy lever, building on the United Nations Environment Programme triggers used in the Beating the Heat handbook (2021).

    City planning processesIncludes city initiatives such as the development of climate action plan, pathway to zero-energy, master plan, transit plan, energy mapping etc.
    Introducing new or updated zoning/codesIncludes codes, zoning requirements or by-laws pertaining to urban planning and building construction activity.
    No-regrets actions (low cost/low effort but substantial benefit)Interventions that are relatively low-cost and low effort (in terms of requisite dependencies) but have substantial environmental and/or social benefits.
  • Intervention Type:
    Buildings and Built Form
  • Sectors:
    Buildings,

    Impact:

  • Target Beneficiaries:
    Property owners; Residents
  • Phase of Impact:
    Risk reduction and mitigation
  • Metrics:
    Number of complying buildings; Energy savings; Change in energy consumption

Implementation:

  • Intervention Scale:
    City; State/Province; Region
  • Authority and Governance:
    City government; State/provincial government
  • Implementation Timeline:
    Medium-term (3-9 Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:
    Array
  • Funding Sources:
    Private investment
  • Capacity to Act:
    Medium; High

    Benefits:

  • Cost-Benefit:
    Low
  • Public Good:
    N/A
  • GHG Reduction:
    Medium
  • Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
    Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Co-benefits (Social):
    Save on utilities