The most common approach in the United States for encouraging energy efficiency in new buildings is for governmental agencies to adopt building codes requiring specified levels of energy efficiency. While beneficial, codes are often poorly written, ineffectively enforced, and chronically out of date. One way that utilities and other policy makers can influence the efficiency of new buildings is through connection charges and credits for electric utility service based upon the efficiency of the structure.

This paper examines several different approaches which have been considered or implemented in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States for achieving electrical energy efficiency in new buildings, and compares the effectiveness of each approach.