Monday, November 13, 2023
5:15 PM - 6:45 PM
What, Why, When to Go Virtual: An International Analysis of Virtual Building Energy Code Inspections
Session ID
Poster Presentations
Social Science Insights
Andrea Mott

Countries around the world are pursing more ambitious policies in their building sectors to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets, such as introducing net zero energy/carbon building codes. Many jurisdictions are exploring faster, easier, and more reliable methods to check code compliance of their buildings since many jurisdictions report not having enough qualified staff for performing inspections. Building inspections are a critical element for ensuring code compliance and they have traditionally been performed in person. However, in-person inspections can be labor and travel intensive, costly, and prone to human error. This presentation explores how virtual inspections, particularly considering the recent COVID-19 pandemic, have impacted processes for building code compliance checks and behaviors in jurisdictions around the world. The rise of virtual inspections has transformed code compliance and provided new methods to ensuring buildings are emitting as little emissions as possible. The authors collected data from six jurisdictions and communities in five countries (Australia, Canada, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and the United States) to analyze the impacts of virtual inspections on code compliance checks. The analysis found the greatest value from virtual inspections in geographically dispersed regions and for cities experiencing rapid building construction. The study also explored emerging technologies that are being piloted for virtual inspections, along with the social behaviors required for effective virtual inspections. Virtual inspections can also help make compliance checks more accessible for jurisdictions that are short on resources and staffing, such as in developing countries or lower income neighborhood. Enforcing efficient buildings in code lead to less building emissions and lower building energy costs.