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Delaware has adopted national and international energy conservation standards to guide statewide rules and regulations for the building sector. DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy issues and regularly updates regulations based on these standards, which come from the International Code Council (ICC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
The state first established a minimum statewide code for energy conservation in 1979 with passage of legislation requiring local governments to meet the energy conservation requirements of a national model energy conservation code. Over the years, the legislature has updated the requirement to match changes in national and international model codes.
In 2009, the General Assembly approved an updated Code for Energy Conservation (16 Del.C. § 7602) which tied Delaware building and plumbing codes to the International Energy Conservation Code published by the International Code Council (ICC) and the Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
The legislation requires the Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy to review and update the state’s regulations every three years.
In 2014, the Division promulgated the Regulations for State Energy Conservation Code (7 DE Admin Code 2101), based on the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code and the 2010 edition of the ASHRAE Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings.
Enforcement and compliance with the energy code is determined at the local level, and varies depending on the county or municipality. The US Department of Energy provides a suite of compliance checklists and evaluation tools.
In June 2020, the Division amended the Regulations by adopting the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code and the ASHRAE 90.1 2016 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings. These codes become effective on December 11, 2020.
All projects may utilize the new energy codes at any time after the date of promulgation (June 11, 2020), provided such choice is stated on the construction documents.
Until December 11, 2020 Delawareans can choose between the new codes (2018 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1 2016) or previous code (Delaware specific version of 2012 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1 2010).
All projects must meet the requirements of the new energy codes (2018 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1 2016) six months after date of promulgation (December 11, 2020).
The Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy created the Delaware Energy Code Coalition in 2011, following a first recommendation in its Strategic Compliance Plan. Delaware was the first state to create a such a coalition. The Coalition brings together a diverse group of state and local stakeholders responsible for advising the Division on energy code implementation, infrastructure, updates, and compliance. The members include representatives of homebuilders, building code officials, contractors, architects, the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility, the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) and the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP).