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The IECC 2015 Commentary/User Manual indicates '...Section C401.2 requires that the building's energy costs be 85 percent or less of the costs of the standard reference design building. Section C407 provides the methodology to make the determination of compliance with the 85-percent requirement." C4-123.

Which doesn't necessarily clear that completely up. I think the point they're trying to make is that C401.2.3 is the requirement and C407 is the method(s) to demonstrate compliance. I've see a few local codes that have modified the amount, but none that eliminate it to 0%. (Not saying there aren't any, I just haven't run into them, yet)

This can be a factor for us to move to ASHRAE CH11 for compliance. Different method(s), but no question that ASHRAE is just a flat 'equal or better'. Also have different mandatory elements, so be aware of those impacts as well.