Building energy codes have been around for a long time and compliance is mandatory. They are the requirements that Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), aka “building inspectors,” enforce. The codes provide design criteria that architects and engineers must satisfy to get construction documents approved and “permitted” for construction. One of the most important standards is ASHRAE 90.1 “Energy Standards for Buildings except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.” Until recently, data centers were primarily exempt from 90.1, but that is changing.
The two main building energy codes that are adopted by state and local jurisdictions for enforcement are the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ANSI/ASHRAE 90.1. The IECC covers all commercial and residential buildings. ASHRAE 90.1 covers buildings other than single-family dwellings and multi-family buildings three stories or less above grade. The IECC has adopted ASHRAE 90.1 by reference which means compliance with 90.1 qualifies as compliance with IECC for commercial buildings.