Where Should We Focus Efforts To Improve Building Energy Code Enforcement Rates? Results From A Research Study In Florida

Report Number





Energy Codes; Buildings


Most states have adopted commercial and residential building energy codes and many are planning adoption of more conservative codes over time. While code language that requires measures for decreased energy use will help improve conservation, the realized conservation related to future construction is limited in part to how well energy codes are enforced. A research study was completed in 2012 that evaluated the residential and commercial energy code compliance enforcement in the State of Florida for buildings built to the 2007 code with 2009 code supplement. Buildings were selected randomly around Florida using guidance from the U.S. Department of Energy's Building Energy Codes Program. Residential research involved a sample size of 43 buildings and was limited to single-family detached homes. Commercial building research included a random sample size of 50 buildings in various size groups classified from less than 25,000 ft2 up to 250,000ft2. Primary areas of the energy code were selected to evaluate how well compliance was enforced in each building. Submitted energy code forms were sought for randomly selected buildings where owners granted access for an evaluation. The asbuilt audited building was compared to the claimed efficiency submitted on energy code forms. Ninety percent of the residential buildings were found to be passing the performance code although forms submitted had one or more items incorrectly specified in almost all cases. On average, 84% of what was specified on the form complied. Many jurisdictions did not have sufficient commercial building code forms to conduct a field evaluation. This occurred 25% of the time based on our commercial building sampling process. Of those commercial buildings field audited, on average 81% of the specified components were found to be in compliance. This paper describes the research method, audit procedure and results, which include a list of the top occurring areas of non-compliance and suggestions to improve compliance enforcement.

Date Published



This paper published in the Proceedings of the 2014 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, http://www.aceee.org.

© 2014 American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy

Local Subjects

Buildings - Energy Codes


FSEC Energy Research Center® Collection



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