Much of the information presented in this summary is drawn from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Energy Codes Program and the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP). For more detailed information about building energy codes, visit theDOE and BCAP web sites.
Authority for adopting the state energy codes was previously vested in the Energy Security Office of the Department of Commerce (originally the Department of Public Services). In 1999-2000, the state legislature transferred this authority to the Building Codes and Standards Division within the Department of Administration. Eventually, the Building Codes and Standards Division was transferred to the Department of Labor & Industry so that all regulations and activities regarding construction in the state were under one department.
After authority over energy codes was transferred to the Building Codes and Standards Division (within the Construction Codes and Licensing Division) in the Department of Labor & Industry, significant effort was made to transition the Minnesota building community from a purely state-developed code to one aligned more closely to the national model codes. In 2008, after seven and a half years, the state adopted new residential and commercial energy codes based on the 2006 IRC and ASHRAE 90.1-2004, respectively. Officials hope to streamline this process in the future and update the state codes more frequently.
On June 1, 2009, the 2009 Minnesota State Building Code became effective. The new residential energy code (Chapter 1322) has been simplified to the point that in virtually all cases a REScheck-like program is not needed to show code compliance. The code now simply requires minimum R-values and maximum U-factors for building components without regard to square footage of those elements. A REScheck for the new Minnesota code is not currently available. Other alternatives are listed in the code at Part 1322.1102.
COMcheck is not yet available for the new commercial energy code (Chapter 1323), but commercial building envelope and lighting compliance can be readily determined by available tools. The envelope requirements of the new commercial energy code are not difficult to determine from the two tables (one for northern and the other for southern Minnesota) in Part 1323.0550. The lighting requirements of the code are identical to ASHRAE 90.1-2004, with the exception of exterior building grounds and parking lot lighting (Part 1323.0944). To demonstrate lighting compliance, simply start COMcheck and select "Code: 90.1 (2004) Standard" for all but building grounds and parking lot lighting.
Click here for more information about the Minnesota State Building Energy Code.