• Introduction

    Internationally, code officials recognize the need for a modern, up-to-date energy conservation code addressing the design of energy-efficient building envelopes and installation of energy efficient mechanical, lighting and power systems through requirements emphasizing performance. The International Energy Conservation Code®, in this 2012 edition, is designed to meet these needs through model code regulations that will result in the optimal utilization of fossil fuel and nondepletable resources in all communities, large and small.

    This code contains separate provisions for commercial buildings and for low-rise residential buildings (3 stories or less in height above grade.) Each set of provisions in this code—IECC-Commercial Provisions and IECC—Residential Provisions are separately applied to buildings within their respective scopes. Each set of provisions are to be treated separately; they each contain a Scope and Administration chapter, a Definitions chapter, a General Requirements chapter, and a chapter containing energy efficiency requirements applicable to buildings within their scope.

    This comprehensive energy conservation code establishes minimum regulations for energy efficient buildings using prescriptive and performance-related provisions. It is founded on broad-based principles that make possible the use of new materials and new energy efficient designs. This 2012 edition is fully compatible with all of the International Codes® (I-Codes®) published by the International Code Council (ICC)®, including: the International Building Code®, International Existing Building Code®, International Fire Code®, International Fuel Gas Code®, International Green Construction CodeTM (to be available March 2012), International Mechanical Code®, ICC Performance Code®, International Plumbing Code®, International Private Sewage Disposal Code®, International Property Maintenance Code®, International Residential Code®, International Swimming Pool and Spa CodeTM (to be available March 2012), International Wildland-Urban Interface Code® and International Zoning Code®.

    The International Energy Conservation Code provisions provide many benefits, among which is the model code development process that offers an international forum for energy professionals to discuss performance and prescriptive code requirements. This forum provides an excellent arena to debate proposed revisions. This model code also encourages international consistency in the application of provisions.


    The first edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (1998) was based on the 1995 edition of the Model Energy Code promulgated by the Council of American Building Officials (CABO) and included changes approved through the CABO Code Development Procedures through 1997. CABO assigned all rights and responsibilities to the International Code Council and its three statutory members at that time, including Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) and Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI). This 2012 edition presents the code as originally issued, with changes reflected in the 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009 editions and further changes approved through the ICC Code Development Process through 2010. A new edition such as this is promulgated every three years.

    This code is founded on principles intended to establish provisions consistent with the scope of an energy conservation code that adequately conserves energy; provisions that do not unnecessarily increase construction costs; provisions that do not restrict the use of new materials, products or methods of construction; and provisions that do not give preferential treatment to particular types or classes of materials, products or methods of construction.


    The International Energy Conservation Code is available for adoption and use by jurisdictions internationally. Its use within a governmental jurisdiction is intended to be accomplished through adoption by reference in accordance with proceedings establishing the jurisdiction’s laws. At the time of adoption, jurisdictions should insert the appropriate information in provisions requiring specific local information, such as the name of the adopting jurisdiction. These locations are shown in bracketed words in small capital letters in the code and in the sample ordinance. The sample adoption ordinance on page ix addresses several key elements of a code adoption ordinance, including the information required for insertion into the code text.


    The International Energy Conservation Code is kept up to date through the review of proposed changes submitted by code enforcement officials, industry representatives, design professionals and other interested parties. Proposed changes are carefully considered through an open code development process in which all interested and affected parties may participate.

    The contents of this work are subject to change both through the Code Development Cycles and the governmental body that enacts the code into law. For more information regarding the code development process, contact the Codes and Standards Development Department of the International Code Council.

    While the development procedure of the International Energy Conservation Code assures the highest degree of care, ICC, its members and those participating in the development of this code do not accept any liability resulting from compliance or noncompliance with the provisions because ICC and its members do not have the power or authority to police or enforce compliance with the contents of this code. Only the governmental body that enacts the code into law has such authority.

    Code Development Committee Responsibilities
    (Letter Designations in Front of Section Numbers)

    In each code development cycle, proposed changes to the code are considered at the Code Development Hearings by the applicable International Code Development Committee. The IECC—Commercial Provisions (sections designated with a “C” prior to the section number) are primarily maintained by the Commercial Energy Code Development Committee. The IECC—Residential Provisions (sections designated with an “R” prior to the section number) are maintained by the Residential Energy Code Development Committee. This is designated in the chapter headings by a [CE] and [RE], respectively. Proposed changes to a code section or defined term, other than those designated by [CE] or [RE], that has a number beginning with a letter in brackets are considered by a different code development committee. For example, proposed changes to code sections or defined terms that have [M] in front of them are considered by the International Mechanical Code Development Committee.

    Maintenance responsibilities for the IECC are designated as follows:

    [CE]=Commercial Energy Code Development Committee
    [M]=International Mechanical Code Development Committee
    [RE]=Residential Energy Code Development Committee

    Note that, for the development of the 2015 edition of the I-Codes, there will be two groups of code development committees and they will meet in separate years. The groupings are as follows:

    Group A Codes
    (Heard in 2012, Code Change Proposals
    Deadline: January 3, 2012)
    Group B Codes
    (Heard in 2013, Code Change Proposals
    Deadline: January 3, 2013)
    International Building CodeAdministrative Provisions (Chapter 1 all codes except the IECC, IRC and ICCPC, administrative updates to currently referenced standards, and designated definitions)
    International Fuel Gas CodeInternational Energy Conservation Code
    International Mechanical CodeInternational Existing Building Code
    International Plumbing CodeInternational Fire Code
    International Private Sewage
    Disposal Code
    International Green Construction Code
    ICC Performance Code
    International Property Maintenance Code
    International Residential Code
    International Swimming Pool and Spa Code
    International Wildland-Urban Interface Code
    International Zoning Code

    Code change proposals submitted for code sections that have a letter designation in front of them will be heard by the respective committee responsible for such code sections. Because different committees will meet in different years, it is possible that some proposals for this code will be heard by a committee in a different year than the year in which the primary committees for this code meets.

    For example, the definition of the term “Energy Recovery Ventilation System” for the IECC—Commercial Provisions (page C-8) is the responsibility of the International Mechanical Code Development Committee, which is part of the Group A code hearings. Therefore, any proposed changes to this defined term will need to be submitted by the deadline for the Group A codes, so that the International Mechanical Code Development Committee can consider that proposed change during the 2012 Code Change Cycle.

    It is very important that anyone submitting code change proposals understand which code development committee is responsible for the section of the code that is the subject of the code change proposal. For further information on the code development committee responsibilities, please visit the ICC web site at

    Marginal Markings

    Solid vertical lines in the margins within the body of the code indicate a technical change from the requirements of the 2009 edition. Deletion indicators in the form of an arrow (

    ) are provided in the margin where an entire section, paragraph, exception or table has been deleted or an item in a list of items or a table has been deleted.

    A single asterisk [*] placed in the margin indicates that text or a table has been relocated within the code. A double asterisk [**] placed in the margin indicates that the text or table immediately following it has been relocated there from elsewhere in the code. The following table indicates such relocations in the 2012 Edition of the International Energy Conservation Code.


    Italicized Terms

    Selected terms set forth in Chapter 2, Definitions, for both the Commercial and Residential Provisions are italicized where they appear in code text. Such terms are not italicized where the definition set forth in Chapter 2 does not impart the intended meaning in the use of the term. The terms selected have definitions which the user should read carefully to facilitate better understanding of the code.