More cities and states are implementing building codes that mandate lower energy consumption in new homes and commercial real estate. Codes typically are updated every three years; and the past two cycles have stipulated the greatest efficiency increases. The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), for example, dictates 15 percent more efficiency than the 2009 version, which in turn is 15 percent above the 2006 code. Paul Karr of the Online Code Environment and Advocacy Network reports that, as of this month, 23 states are operating under the 2009 IECC residential model — up from just half a dozen in January 2010; and the number of states embracing a similar code for commercial buildings increased from seven to 30 over the same period. Maryland, meanwhile, has become the first state in the country to adopt the 2012 IECC for new homes. It is expected to also comply with the first International Green Construction Code, which is due for release in March. Other states, such as Florida and Oregon, and cities including Phoenix and Scottsdale also are planning to adopt the voluntary guide for improved air quality in commercial and public buildings. | Read More