2021 State Energy Code Price Tag – $10,000 Per Home
Bill Ward, Executive Vice President, HBAI
The price tag for changes to the Illinois Energy Conservation Code will raise the cost of construction on a new, median-sized home by over $10,000. Illinois updates its statewide energy code every three years following the completion of the code by the International Code Council (ICC).
The proposed code is an administrative rule (not state legislation) that is introduced by the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) after the ICC publishes its revised code every three years.
The process to enact the code requires four steps and right now, we are on the first step.
- The Code is published, and time is provided for public review and proposed changes to the code. The code and the proposed amendments are gathered and sent to the Illinois Energy Conservation Advisory Council (IECAC).
- The IECAC reviews the code, the proposed changes, and hears oral statements from public entities supporting and opposing the language. The IECAC amends the code by majority vote and sends the code up to the CDB. HBAI has two designees who serve on the IECAC, Allen Drewes from St. Charles and Jason Huelsmann from Albers.
- The CDB reviews the code as it was introduced and with the changes made by the IECAC. The CDB then considers amendments and votes to send the code with or without amendments to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (J-CAR).
- J-CAR is a 12-member body of State Legislators who take final action on the code. They re-publish the code, accept public comment, and make final changes to the code prior to it becoming state law.
All of this occurs between now and the end of the year.
The most significant changes in the 2021 code are the increased insulation requirements. Window and door jams will require additional material and labor. Walls will require 2”x6” studs to house the new insulation requirements which will go basically from 20 to 30 R-Value.
The cost increase for each door and window will be about $300. The average number of total jams is 25 which raises costs by $7500. Going from 2”x4” to 2”x6” studs @ 400 studs per home will raise costs by another $1836. The cost increase for top and bottom plates will increase by about $500.
Continuous R-5 will require 1” foam sheathing vs. current 1/2” sheathing, a cost of about $850.
Ceiling R-Values will increase from R-49 to R-60. Total cost increase from these changes will be over $10,000.
Home builders across the country are already experiencing massive cost increases due to record-high building product pricing. NAHB estimates that the combined cost increases for lumber, steel, and gypsum is $36,000 compared to just one year ago. Place another $10,000 in state regulation and the effect will be that most Illinoisans (75% or more) are priced out of the new home market.
Action is needed now at the state and national levels of government. HBAI members need to reach out to elected officials to inform and educate them on the importance of affordable housing and how our communities suffer when housing goals are never met.
Jason Huelsmann, Allen Drewes, and HBAI staff will do everything possible to stop the increases at the state level. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or at (217) 494-8143 should you and your local association have the desire to help yourself and the industry you represent.