Leveraging State Energy Office-Utility Partnerships to Advance Building Energy Codes

In December 2011, the NASEO Board adopted a resolution encouraging State Energy Offices and utility commissions to create opportunities for utilities to incorporate building energy codes into energy efficiency portfolios and resource planning.  The SEO-utility relationship is critical in advancing state building energy code programs, especially as federal and state funding for codes declines.

In June 2012, NASEO published a report, "Leveraging State Energy Office-Utility Partnerships to Advance Building Energy Codes," to illustrate successes and lessons learned from existing SEO and utility building energy codes collaboration.  The report also offers recommendations for how SEOs and utilities can collaborate on building code adoption, implementation, and compliance.

Key findings include:

  • State approaches vary according to needs, budgets, capacity, and energy code status.
  • Examples of SEO-utility partnerships on building energy codes include training programs, stretch code initiatives, stakeholder engagement processes, and SEO oversight or monitoring of utility energy efficiency programs.
  • NASEO recommends the following to strengthen or develop partnerships with utilities on building energy codes:
    1. Demonstrate the value of building energy codes to utilities as a key first step;
    2. Recognize and highlight the ways utilities can provide support and resources, such as providing direct funding support and important data on consumer energy use and new construction trends, utilizing political and social capital with key stakeholder groups, hosting code trainings, and distributing code books; and
    3. SEOs and utilities should continue to work closely with state and local code adoption and enforcement officials, as this collaboration helps ensure state resources are effectively leveraged to improve code adoption and compliance. 

NASEO will continue seek out opportunities to work with SEOs on codes and help facilitate increased SEO-utility collaboration.  

Contact Chris Wagner