With no fanfare, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the Affordability Determination by the Departments of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and Agriculture (USDA) that the energy efficiency standards of the 2009 IECC should be required for new homes with federal mortgages and new public housing (currently, the minimum is the 2006 IECC).

Both HUD and USDA must now finalize the determination, publish it in the Federal Register, and edit the current HUD Builder’s Certificate to reflect that builders must certify that the property meets the 2009 IECC. ACEEE’s Lowell Ungar reports that last time, the new Builder Certification was also put out for public review, then went back to OMB. He is uncertain if the new form needs to wait for the current form to expire on January 1, 2016, but feels it’s unlikely that the process will be completed much before that date.

Calling the decision a “slam dunk,” advocates urged OMB to allow the determination to go forward, citing the US Department of Energy’s determination that the 2009 IECC saves energy over the 2006 IECC, DOE’s nationwide analyses that show the 2009 IECC to be cost-effective, and widespread experience that shows that the 2009 IECC doesn’t harm the availability of housing.