Assessment of the 1995 Model Energy Code for Adoption
Single-family owners would save an average of $41 per year in home energy costs under the 1995 MEC compared with the 1992 code, according to the report. Average annual energy cost savings would range from $22 in the State of Washington to $67 in Arizona. Initial building cost increases would range from $172 in Connecticut to $487 in Nevada. Annual savings for homes in lowrise multifamily buildings would average $37.
The home energy code is periodically revised by the Council of American Building Officials. In keeping with the Energy Policy Act of 1992, HUD and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will then determine whether to require compliance with a revised MEC for mortgages insured, guaranteed, or made under their loan programs. This study, by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, measured the energy efficiency and economic impact of the 1995 MEC for single-family and lowrise multifamily homes and will be instrumental in that determination.
The cost-benefit model used to analyze the energy efficiency gains of the new code takes into account several factors: fuel types and costs in 881 cities, annual energy cost savings, and initial building cost increases.
The 1995 MEC has a number of important changes. It requires increased wall and ceiling insulation for lowrise multifamily buildings and for single-family homes in southern locations, increases duct sealing and insulation, limits heat loss through recessed-lighting fixtures, changes allowable air leakage rates for windows and sliding doors, and corrects thermal calculations with metal-stud framing.