Building Up Energy Efficiency: An Analysis of the Relationship Between Energy Efficiency Building Codes and Electricity Consumption in the U.S. Residential Sector
The effects of climate change caused by the release of greenhouse gases (GHG) are a growing concern for state governments in the United States. The majority of state governments have attempted to mitigate GHG emissions through energy efficiency programs to combat the rising demand for electricity. In order to manage the increasing demand for electricity, states have adopted International Energy Conservation Codes (IECC) for new residential buildings to offset the demand for energy. This paper studies the relationship between state level residential building codes and electricity consumption rates. Using state-level panel data, I construct a database of state residential building code adoptions and energy use from 2000-2010 to measure the relationship between state regulation and residential electricity consumption using an OLS Fixed Effects model. My most conclusive findings suggest that there is a negative association between specific code adoption and electricity consumption, but only in states with low rates of new residential construction. I find that the adoption of the 2006 IECC building code in states with low rates of new residential construction is associated with a 1.7 percent decrease in electrical consumption per 10,000 residents. I also find that the adoption of an up-to-date building code is associated with a .7 percent decrease in electrical consumption per 10,000 residents in states with low rates of new residential construction.
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