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Southwest Energy Efficiency Project Southwest Energy Efficiency Project

Beyond Code: Resources for State and Local Governments

As part of its mission to promote more energy efficient buildings in the Southwest, SWEEP is supporting local initiatives to develop and implement a range of strategies for promoting energy efficiency improvements in residential and commercial properties, including advanced building energy codes, green building incentives, and minimum energy efficiency standards for publicly funded projects.

While building energy codes set a floor on the energy efficiency of new buildings, it is possible to move well beyond minimum code requirements and reduce energy use in new buildings by 30% or more very cost effectively. SWEEP has developed the Going Beyond Code guide to help state and local governments design and implement successful efficiency programs for new commercial and residential buildings in the Southwest. The guide provides detailed descriptions and analysis of previously implemented programs, including lessons learned and best practices. The Guide addresses each of the primary areas that are typically addressed in beyond code or green building programs, including energy efficiency materials and resource conservation, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and site development and land use. The guide includes recommendations for developing and implementing beyond code programs as well as model energy codes.

The Guide provides detailed descriptions and analysis of previously implemented programs, including lessons learned and best practices. The Guide reviews national beyond code programs and standards, and assesses their applicability to state and local codes. States and localities can use the information on local programs, national codes and standards, and the model energy efficiency criteria for residential and commercial buildings to determine what which approach will work best for their jurisdiction, and develop and implement an effective beyond code program.

Information Resources

SWEEP Report: Going Beyond Code: A Guide to Creating Energy Efficient and Sustainable Buildings in the Southwest


  • SWEEP Beyond Code Guide (presentations prepared by the Britt/Makela Group)

Municipal programs

Beyond Code and Green Building Program Resource Guides

Additional information resources

SWEEP Beyond Code Resources for States and Municipalities

Action steps for states and municipalities interested in developing a beyond code program:

  1. Adopt the most recent version of the IECC for all new residential and commercial construction
  2. Establish beyond code program goals and adopt policies to achieve the goals with input from stakeholders
  3. Consider working collaboratively with other jurisdictions in your area or region to develop a regional  approach with consistent requirements
  4. Establish an integrated process to implement the program across all affected departments and/or agencies
  5. Conduct education and outreach to builders, community groups, businesses and households.  Consider offering incentives for going well beyond the minimum program requirements.