Landscape of energy codes and commissioning requirements evolves

While energy and commissioning-related services for buildings and facilities expand, related codes and standards evolve. Energy and commissioning specialists must stay up to date with technical advancements in equipment, systems and controls and the latest requirements governing their disciplines. Energy and related “green” sustainability codes establish a common foundation for evaluating, regulating and benchmarking building performance, technologies, design and construction.

Codes and standards have become the enforcement tools to improve energy efficiency in buildings. ASHRAE 90.1: Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings is a consensus standard that provides the minimum requirements for the design of energy-efficient buildings. ASHRAE 90.1 is important, because it forms the basis of, or at least influences, most building energy code requirements in the United States. The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) includes ASHRAE 90.1 by reference.

In addition to the IECC, there are related sustainability codes, including the International Green Construction Code and ASHRAE 189.1 that are expected to be integrated next year. These also address energy and commissioning requirements. Finally, there are facility-specific standards, such as ASHRAE 90.4, which establishes the minimum energy efficiency requirements for data centers.

While these standards and codes are typically updated on a scheduled basis, various states and local jurisdictions adopt updated versions on their own timetables, sometimes with local amendments. The Building Codes Assistance Project has created a series of maps ( to provide a national snapshot of building energy code adoption and implementation status on a state-by-state basis.

Requirements related to commissioning in these codes continue to expand as well, and the International Code Council seeks to develop a dedicated commissioning standard: 1000P – Standard for Commissioning.

Engineers and commissioning providers need to remain informed regarding the codes and standards applicable to the jurisdictions in which they practice and specific discipline qualifications required by the associated authorities having jurisdiction.

For further information regarding energy and commissioning code requirements, please contact Tim Schroeder at or Bob Knoedler at