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Posted on: June 15, 2021

Updated Energy Code Goes Into Effect July 1, 2021

portland news

The 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will go into effect in Portland on July 1, 2021. This will affect new residential and commercial construction, as well as many expansions and renovations of existing structures. Portland will be the first municipality in Maine and amongst the first in the nation to adopt this code which will dramatically increase the energy efficiency of new construction and significant renovations. 


A State law passed last year required the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code Board (MUBEC) to adopt the IECC 2015 as the energy code for the state. In compliance with the objectives of our One Climate Future climate action plan, the City joined with clean energy advocates to successfully advocate for the inclusion of a stricter, “stretch” energy code that municipalities could voluntarily adopt. The MUBEC Board selected the 2021 IECC as the official voluntary “stretch” code. Portland officially adopted it with the passage of the Green New Deal (Referendum Question C), which was approved by City voters during the November 2020 election. 


The Department of Energy has determined that the 2015 IECC is 20%-25% more efficient than the 2009 (current) code, and the 2021 IECC is 10%-15% more efficient than the 2015 Code. Adoption of this code puts Portland on a path to achieve its goal that all new construction should be net zero by 2030.

 

Some of the things included in the 2021 Code include:

  • Residential fuel burning systems will be required to be at least 95% energy efficient.

  • Residential wall insulation increased to R-30 or 20+5c or 13+10c or 0+20c/U-0.045.

  • Residential ceiling/Roof insulation increased to R-60.

  • Fenestration (window) requirements are changing from U-factor of .35 to a factor of .30.

  • Blower door tests have become a requirement in some construction and occupancy types, regardless of which compliance option you choose to use to meet code compliance.

  • Changes to existing buildings are now regulated under their own chapters in the Residential and Commercial Energy Codes.

The 2021 Code will apply for any new projects submitted on or after July 1, 2021. Projects that are currently under review before July 1 will be subject to the previous code requirements. 

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