Zero Code Renewable Energy Appendix Added to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code

A new voluntary appendix to the International Energy Conservation Code, which was championed by AIA and Architecture 2030, will allow jurisdictions to make zero-net-carbon their minimum code standard.

The recent addition of the renewable energy portions of the Zero Code, included as Appendix CC: Zero Energy Commercial Building Provisions, to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code empowers local communities to take action on climate change through building codes. Jurisdictions that adopt the Appendix can make zero-net-carbon the standard for their commercial, institutional, and mid- to high-rise residential building operations.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Architecture 2030 joined forces in 2019 to introduce and advocate for the Zero Code to be included as an appendix in the IECC. The latest round of updates to the IECC, approved by ICC voting members, included the addition of the renewable energy portions of the Zero Code in the new Appendix CC.

“Every jurisdiction can now adopt a Zero Code standard for zero carbon new buildings,” reports Ed Mazria, CEO and Founder of Architecture 2030. “There are many ways to effectively reduce building sector emissions – by adopting Appendix CC of the IECC or the ZERO Code itself; or by ordinance or legislation requiring on-site and/or off-site renewable energy to power a building.”

The appendix gives jurisdictions the option to adopt a zero-net-carbon standard as their community’s minimum energy code beginning in fall of 2020. Local jurisdictions that adopt the appendix could require all new commercial, institutional, and mid- and high-rise residential buildings to produce or procure enough renewable energy to achieve zero-net-carbon annually. Additionally, the appendix encourages on-site renewable energy systems, but also supports off-site renewable energy when on-site generation is not feasible, such as for high-rise buildings with insufficient roof area, or buildings in densely built and shaded areas.

AIA and Architecture 2030 have also teamed up on an implementation guide and other resources for code officials and advocates, and plan to release additional materials and best practice guidelines later this year (and on an ongoing basis) for jurisdictions working to adopt the appendix.

> Access the 2021 IECC and Appendix CC