The new International Energy Conservation Code provides residential and commercial builders flexibility in making their projects more energy efficient and for the first time includes provisions for electric vehicles and ways to reach net-zero-energy consumption.

IECC is the model code that local governments use to develop their own building requirements. It is updated every three years. After it is approved by IECC, it will be available for public comment and is expected to be published Oct. 1.

The 2021 IECC is expected to be more robust compared to its previous two iterations, which lagged behind other model codes. It provides builders more flexibility to choose options that will work on specific projects based on their particular design, building type and location.

Christopher Perry, research manager for American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s buildings program, says the 2021 IECC is estimated to provide 10% or more in annual energy savings.

The proposals related to electric vehicles require new commercial buildings to set aside a portion of parking spaces for EVs. Additionally, the 2021 IECC includes ways for states and cities to adopt net-zero-energy performance requirements with a mix of energy-efficiency improvements and renewable energy.

David Cohan, director of technology and policy analysis at the Institute for Market Transformation, says the expected 10% annual energy savings in buildings from the code is “a very big deal. We’re very happy about that,” he says.