Consider Whether this Program In a Box is Right for Your State

When you weigh the possibility of initiating a Circuit Rider program, several factors apply. Partnering with a local community college or university can provide stronger opportunities for ongoing training; however, this is not essential for a successful program. If your state has completed an energy code compliance field study, it may illuminate areas to address through education. Finally, this program may be easiest to implement if your state has a statewide energy code rather than municipal stretch codes; however, the program may be most needed in states with municipal stretch codes. Circuit rider programs can provide support to rural building officials as well as urban and suburban building officials.

Justice40 Considerations

Through Executive Order 14008  which established the Justice40 Initiative, the Biden Administration has set a goal of ensuring that at least 40 percent of the benefits of federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities. Justice40 will have significant implications for hundreds of programs across the federal government, including clean energy, climate, and resilience programs that are overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)  in partnership with states. State Energy Offices and their partners may wish to consider assessing various dimensions of their programs – including such factors as the ability of disadvantaged and diverse individuals and communities to influence, participate in, and access the benefits of state policies and programs – and explore metrics and reporting strategies that will help illustrate the Justice40 impacts of their policies, programs, and investments. Available resources to support these actions include:

Through NASEO’s Energy Equity Committee , State Energy Offices can learn about ongoing developments and resources that support federal Justice40 and state energy equity and environmental justice goals.

To help states identify the location of disadvantaged communities, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has developed The Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) . Instructions for using the tool are linked above.

Goals and Name

Writing a goals statement for an expert code official program will create internal consensus and help with communications among municipalities and code officials. Goals of current circuit rider programs include educating the building code industry on energy code best practices, improving code compliance, providing technical assistance, and fostering connections among code professionals.

Giving the program a name is an important step in the process of branding and advertising the program.

Recommendations for program name:

  • Reflect the goals of the program
  • Solicit recommendations from participating agencies and organizations

Proposed action items:

  • Align program activities with state policies and goals
  • Finalize the program name
  • Craft a goals statement
  • Craft a one-page program description to support consistent communications
Program NameStated Goal
Nevada Energy Code Circuit RiderEducate the building industry on the practicality of energy codes and standards
Idaho Energy Code Circuit RiderAssist local jurisdictions, permitting departments, building officials, and design and construction professionals by providing energy code assistance
Illinois Energy Code Training & Tech SupportIncrease design professionals’ compliance with the Illinois Energy Code and support code officials’ enforcement of the code.
Florida Energy Codes Circuit Rider ProgramProvide technical assistance, ensure best practices are followed, and foster increased coordination between involved parties
Iowa Energy Code ConsultantImprove compliance with the Iowa State Residential Energy Code through an improved understanding of code requirements, best practices and building science

Performance Metrics

Program metrics should be defined before the program is implemented. Metrics to consider include code compliance improvement, the number of energy professionals served by the program, the number of communities served by the program, and specific equity and Justice40 goals.


Consider how partnerships with local universities and the relevant Regional Energy Efficiency Organization (REEO) can support programs. For example, see successful programs run by MEEA . Illinois runs a program with a partnership through University of Illinois Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC).

Program NamePartners
Nevada Energy Code Circuit RiderSWEEP
Idaho Energy Code Circuit Rider
SEDAC Energy Code TrainingThe University of Illinois Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC)
Florida Energy Codes Circuit Rider ProgramSEEA
Iowa Energy Code ConsultantMEEA

Eligibility Criteria

The program should provide clear guidelines on which municipal jurisdictions are eligible to participate in each program. The program should also provide guidance on methods for contacting the circuit rider and the nature of assistance available.

Budget and Staffing

Before finalizing the program design, consider budget allocations and staffing requirements. In most cases, the circuit rider devotes half their time to the circuit rider program and half their time to other activities. In Iowa, the code consultant is typically between a 0.33-0.5 full time employee. The consultant fee (including travel expenses) has been $3,200-$4,600 per month, excluding MEEA management and overhead. See a summary of Iowa’s Energy Code Consultant Program budget and staffing.

Scale and Scope

During program design, consider the scope and reach of the circuit rider program, the scope of training activities offered, how technical assistance will be provided (e.g. telephone, email, text message) and the State Energy Office administrative functions. The scope of training activities and technical assistance offered will vary depending on your state’s needs, the expected number of participants in trainings, and the amount of funding available for the program.

Proposed action items:

  • Draft a description of your proposed program that includes the number of communities served.
  • Define the scope of groups that the circuit rider will train and the objectives for the trainings.
  • Define the scope of assistance offered by the circuit rider.
Program NameScope of Assistance Offered
Nevada Energy Code Circuit Rider– Technical support via phone and email
– Assistance with code interpretations, installation practices, and compliance and enforcement practices
– One-on-one training
– Resources to support energy code compliance
– Assistance with conceptual code amendments including electric vehicles and electrification
Idaho Energy Code Circuit Rider– Technical support via phone and email
– On-site training and technical assistance
– Assistance with code interpretations
Illinois Energy Code Training & Tech Support– Technical support via phone and email
– In-person workshops
– Webinars
– Online training modules that can be accessed anytime
– Energy code resources such as FAQs, checklists, and smart tips
– Partnership with a local university
– Continuing education credits available from the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the International Code Council (ICC)
Florida Energy Codes Circuit Rider Program– Technical assistance through trainings, phone calls, emails, question and answer sessions, and online forums
– In-person training sessions
Iowa Energy Code Consultant– Technical support via phone and email
– Individual assistance, advice, education, and training on specific residential energy code issues.
– Short small group presentations


One element of program design is reviewing the budget and determining a realistic timeline for getting the program up and running. As your state develops the timeline, consider key objectives for accomplishing during the duration of the program. Examples may include funding the program, hiring the expert, setting up trainings and technical assistance, and setting up a tracking system. In the case of the Iowa program, the time from planning the code consultant program until the consultant was in the field was a few months.