Several municipalities and counties in Northern Nevada recently joined states around the nation by adopting the 2015 IECC Energy Rating Index (ERI) compliance option. The state’s current residential energy code – the 2012 IECC – is still in effect, but has been amended in these locations to include an ERI compliance path and a 2009 IECC thermal envelope backstop.
With the 2018 version of the IECC being developed this year, it seems appropriate to look at the success of the ERI and what the future may hold. The voluntary ERI path for the 2015 IECC gives builders the option of complying with the code by meeting a target Energy Rating Index score. This is a numerical score where 100 equates to the efficiency levels prescribed in the 2006 IECC and 0 is equivalent to a net-zero-energy (NZE) home.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that eight states would be part of a three-year Residential Energy Code Field Study. Once completed, the study will provide an unprecedented opportunity to develop new strategies for education, training, and outreach for improving the energy efficiency of single-family homes, as well as a measurement of the impact those activities have on residential energy use.
This article covers some important changes to additional efficiency package options, rooms with fuel burning appliances, walk-in coolers and freezers, refrigerated display cases, and equipment buildings.
The Florida Home Builders Association and the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance have teamed up to prepare building code trainers to deliver effective energy code training for the Florida construction industry. The organizations developed a curriculum in early 2015 and held the first train-the-trainer series in late February.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) determined last week that the adoption of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for single family homes and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 for multifamily buildings will have zero negative impact on the affordability and availability of certain HUD- and USDA-assisted housing.
There was a lot of buzz around the residential provisions in the 2015 IECC last year but not enough around the commercial provisions. Major changes in commercial buildings for the 2015 IECC include increased commissioning and upgrades for HVAC, water heating, and lighting.
This post will dive into mechanical and water heating systems—supply and return duct systems, cooling systems, and hot water piping insulation. Failure to comply with the mechanical system provisions in the IECC can lead to several unintended consequences that negatively affect more than just energy consumption—including indoor air quality, premature equipment failure, and a less-controllable and less-comfortable environment for homeowners and tenants.
After a three-year hiatus, the Department of Energy’s National Energy Codes Conference returned in March 2015 for two and half days of inspiring education and a reminder of the importance of energy code support in our country. The conference was a great success thanks to the enthusiasm of 250 attendees, session speakers, moderators, and plenary speakers.
Looking at what makes the 2015 IECC different from the 2012 version, the biggest change that will affect builders is the addition of an Energy Rating Index (ERI) compliance path. This article will outline some other important changes. Five of the major changes in the 2015 IECC that will affect new home construction include specifying required inspections; revised requirements for vertical access doors; a new requirement for combustion closets; revisions to the building envelope air leakage testing requirements; and revised requirements for duct insulation.
In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a historic plan under the Clean Air Act’s Section 111(d) to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the nation’s largest source: existing power plants. Because 71 percent of America’s electricity is consumed by residential and commercial buildings, building energy codes – which have proven to be among the most cost effective measures to reduce carbon emissions – should be a prominent part of the menu of options that states can include in the State Compliance Plans they file with EPA. Unfortunately, EPA’s proposed plan doesn’t name specific demand reduction measures, like energy efficiency, that would be eligible for emission credits, let alone cite building energy codes as an option for state compliance plans.
Duct and Envelope Tightness (DET) Verifiers are individuals certified to perform duct and envelope tightness testing on residential construction. Georgia amended the 2009 IECC to require building envelope leakage testing and eliminated the visual inspection option. Since the 2009 IECC already required duct leakage testing, this meant that both a duct and envelope leakage test would have to be conducted.
Energy Code Ambassadors are experienced building code officials who have been specially trained and certified on the energy code, and volunteer to offer their expertise and assistance to other code professionals in their state. They provide customized assistance to other code professionals or the construction and design industry. For example, in working with neighboring building departments, they provide an overview of the state energy code, assist with a plan review or site inspection, discuss compliance software such as REScheck or COMcheck, or present a specific topic such as air barriers, or mechanical requirements.