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PNNL Building Code Assessment Leads to Homeowner Savings in New York

February 2015

Are new energy conservation codes cost effective? Yes, according to a 30-year lifecycle analysis by PNNL for the state of New York. Using the Department of Energy's EnergyPlus software based tool, they developed 96 building energy models that simulate energy consumption across the three climate-zones in the state of New York over a 30-year lifecycle. Compared to the 2009 code, the latest (2015) International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will save New York homeowners more than $12,000 on average, with an annual average energy savings of $732.

Researchers in PNNL's Electricity Infrastructure and Buildings division evaluated building types ranging from one- and two-family dwellings to townhomes and low-rise multifamily residential buildings. Annual energy consumption for space heating, cooling, domestic hot water heating, and lighting was extracted for each case and converted to energy cost using the latest fuel prices for the state of New York, leading to the creation of 96 building energy models. In order to reflect local construction costs, incremental construction costs associated with the new building code were calculated and adjusted using New York State's construction cost multiplier.

Each year, energy bill reduction will exceed any increased mortgage costs. Plus, even after accounting for up-front and additional costs financed in the mortgage, homeowners should see net positive cash flow in one year.

PNNL Research Team: Vrushali Mendon and Abinesh Selvacanabady

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