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What Is Changing With County Building Codes With The New Energy Code? Statement by Hawaii County Department of Public Works: "Given that Hawai‘i has the highest energy costs in the nation, the State has set ambitious goals to reduce electricity consumption by 2030 and use 100 percent clean energy by 2045. In order to help meet these goals, the Hawai‘i State Building Code Council adopted the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in 2017. Since that time, each county has been working on making amendments specific to their jurisdiction. Any County that did not officially adopt amendments by April 1, 2019 automatically adopted the state version of the code while still retaining the right to make future amendments. There have been recent media reports erroneously stating that Hawai‘i County residents are paying more to build a home because the County missed a deadline to enact local amendments or that they have to build a new home to mainland standards. Hawai‘i County officials have been working on Energy Code amendments as part of a larger, overall enhancement of code changes. As part of an ongoing rollout, Department of Public Works Building Division staff planned to introduce Energy Code amendments as part of the Administrative Code changes being released this year. As part of the legislative process, the County Council Committee on Public Works and Mass Transit, will be engaging design professionals and other building industry stakeholders to gather broad public input with the goal of creating efficient policy that will drive effective government. It’s important to note that the Energy Code changes are a precursor to larger building code changes that will take place in 2020. Because all of these code changes and programs have to be considered in relation to one another it’s taking longer to adopt amendments. It’s also worth pointing out that reported amendments adopted by Maui and Kaua‘i counties are primarily administrative in nature. For example, Kauai and Maui counties substituted the word “may” for “shall” regarding homes being Electric Vehicle ready and for ceiling fan proposals. The City and County of Honolulu just made code amendments for O‘ahu this week. In the meantime, County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works Building Division has proactively reached out to contractors and building professionals for months to let them know about the new code changes. “We outreached to the community in March, April and May of this year, in addition to holding two workshops for building professionals in Hilo and Kona in August,” says Robyn Matsumoto, County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works acting building division chief. Matsumoto points out that new code requirements will help Hawai‘i residents save money in energy costs in the long run. The code was designed with flexibility to cover both new construction and renovations to existing homes that already have some energy efficient systems in place. Whether building a new home or renovating an existing home, there are three ways to comply with the code by following the Tropical Zone requirements which recognize the unique environment of Hawai‘i, a Prescriptive option, which includes a more detailed version of the code, or a Simulated Performance Alternative. For instance, homes that are air conditioned for less than 50 percent of the home, with air conditioning in the bedrooms but not the main living areas, can follow the Tropical Zone option of the code. Homes that have air conditioning throughout the home (or more than 50 percent of the home) have to follow the Prescriptive option. ... This is a complex topic covering a wide range of code requirements. Tracker readers can learn more about the new Energy Code in a video made by the Hawai‘i Energy Office and the comedy duo Da Bruddahs."

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