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Environmentally sensitive home designs and construction methods have been valued for generations. My own father considered naming his fledgling construction company Here Comes the Sun in hopes of focusing on solar energy back in 1977. But the degree to which local jurisdictions are incorporating these principles into code is a new phenomenon, and the specific requirements are continuing to adapt and improve with the passage of time.

Energy and green building codes exist, to varying degrees, in every U.S. building jurisdiction. Just as the main purpose of traditional building code is to ensure homeowner safety, green building and energy codes protect and nourish our environment and the world we share together. Here’s what to know about these codes and why we have them.

More in this series: When a Permit Is Required and When It’s Not | The Submittal Process | 10 Critical Code Requirements for Every Project

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