Residential FAQ

What types of residential buildings are covered by the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)?
The IECC residential requirements cover one and two- family, detached and low-rise (less than three floors in height) multifamily buildings (i.e. single family homes, duplexes, and townhomes).

What should be shown on plans and drawings for energy code compliance?
It is good practice to have a sheet dedicated to energy in
your plans. This is helpful not only for the Code Enforcement Officer (CEO), but the efficiency of the entire enforcement process. The sheet should show all the energy details of the envelope, including windows and doors with their respective R- and U-values detailed. It is also helpful to include:

  • Copies of any required compliance forms for your municipality
  • REScheck printouts
  • Spec sheets for any materials or equipment that are part of the energy design

Does REScheck allow tradeoffs?
Yes, however they work differently depending on what version of the IECC your state or jurisdiction adopts. All REScheck versions allow some tradeoffs for envelope areas and other features; however, tradeoffs become more difficult to secure after the 2006 IECC , where walls and windows must be oriented to the north, south, east and west.

Are there specific energy code requirements for architects?
Generally, any requirements for designers are in Chapter 1 of the IECC. This section may call for construction documents and materials to be prepared by a registered or licensed design professional, but only if it is required by your state or municipality.

Does enforcement need to adhere strictly to the code as written or is interpretation on the part of the code official allowed?
The Code Enforcement Official (CEO) is the first line of defense for enforcement. In certain cases, that individual must make a decision as to how a specific requirement applies to a situation. They may also need to interpret a code requirement that seems somewhat ambiguous. If a member of the building community feels a decision made by the CEO was not appropriate, there may be opportunities with the state administrator to receive another interpretation. It is also possible to incorporate additional information in your application to address the CEO’s concerns. Above all, it is important to work within the system. Everyone involved, including the CEO, is working to ensure sound construction of the buildings within a given jurisdiction.

Should designers sign off on compliance of building plans?
When a design professional is involved in a project, many states and jurisdictions require the designer to confirm plans are compliant. If this is not required, it would be advantageous to consider adding this requirement to the law. Many times the assurance of the designer is the primary means of enforcing the code on complex commercial buildings. Greater care is taken to assure code is met if a designers’ license is at stake.