building code

British Columbia Updates Its Energy Code

Posted on February 28,2015 by ScottG in British Columbia

British Columbia is preparing to usher in a new building code that will set higher standards for energy efficiency and ventilation. According to an article posted at the Journal of Commerce, the amendments to the province's building code will establish minimum insulation requirements, plus performance standards for heating and cooling systems, hot water appliances, and doors, windows, and skylights.

New Effort Will Streamline Green Building Standards

Posted on February 28,2015 by ScottG in ASHRAE

Five of the country's most influential developers of construction industry standards have announced a joint effort to create a single green standard that would be more coherent and cohesive than the jumble of overlapping green building standards and regulations that currently exist.

German Building Codes Keep Ratcheting Up

Posted on February 28,2015 by Andrew Dey in building code

In October of 2013, the German government approved amendments to its Energie Einsparung Verordnung (EnEV), the federal ordinance that mandates energy efficiency for buildings. The revised EnEV reflects the government’s latest energy policy decisions, and it brings the ordinance into alignment with the most recent European Union Directive regarding building energy performance.

Thermal Barriers and Ignition Barriers for Spray Foam

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in building code

Do building codes require spray foam insulation to be protected with a layer of drywall or a comparable barrier for fire safety? The answer is yes, usually — but not always. There is no simple answer to the question, for several reasons. The first reason is that the code is complicated. The second reason is that the code is poorly written. The third reason is that the code is subject to interpretation by local code officials.

What’s the Definition of an ‘R-20 Wall’?

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in building code

Builders often talk about the R-value of their walls. But if a builder claims to have an R-20 wall, what does that mean? Building codes commonly include a table listing the minimum prescriptive R-values for walls and ceilings in different climate zones. For example, Table R402.1.1 in the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) informs builders that the minimum prescriptive R-value for walls in Climate Zones 3, 4, and 5 is “20 or 13+5.”

Do Homeowners Need to Understand Home Performance?

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in building code

My father was a college professor who was respected for his scholarship. Yet Dad doesn’t pay much attention to the physical world. If he were asked to define the stack effect, he’d probably guess that it was a type of exhaustion caused by walking past miles of library bookshelves. According to a family legend, the engine of our family’s Volkswagen van had to be rebuilt in 1963 because my father drove thousands of miles without checking the dipstick or changing the engine oil.

Dallas Green Building Law Takes Effect

Posted on February 28,2015 by ScottG in building code

Builders in Dallas, Texas, are now required to meet one of several green-building standards for all residential and commercial projects. Under terms of a resolution adopted in 2008, the requirement was completely implemented on Oct. 1, 2013. Builders on residential projects will have to meet the minimum requirements of LEED for Homes, GreenBuilt Texas, or the National Green Building Standard. Water use must be reduced by 20%.

Low-Road Buildings Are Homeowner-Friendly

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in building code

There are at least two recognizable camps in the green building community. The older camp includes hippies, owner/builders, and those in the natural building movement. These builders prefer to scrounge materials from the woods or demolition sites rather than purchase new materials from a lumberyard. Their homes might be made of adobe, logs, or straw bales.

Choosing a Cost-Effective Wall System

Posted on February 28,2015 by ScottG in British Columbia

Erik Olofsson is planning a small house in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. Ideally, he’d like to get the walls close to R-40. The question is how. “Seeing that the received opinion around GBA is the tandem of polyethylene sheeting and exterior rigid foam is not ideal, what do the builders on this site recommend?” he asks in a post at the GBA Q&A forum. “Larsen trusses seem fairly labor-intensive and rigid foam is expensive ... Is a double-stud wall the answer?”

ICC Releases 2012 International Green Construction Code

Posted on February 28,2015 by Fretboard in building code

On March 28, the International Code Council released the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC), aimed at helping state and local governments provide direction and oversight of green design and construction. The ICC notes that the 2012 IgCC is written to offer flexibility to jurisdictions that adopt the code by establishing several levels of compliance, starting with the core provisions of the code, and then offering requirement options that can be customized to fit the needs of a local community.

What’s the Difference Between the Energy Code and the DEA?

Posted on February 28,2015 by CarlSeville in building code

I’ve been on a bit of a rant lately about the poor state of energy code enforcement and its effect on building performance. The rules are there, but not enough people are following them. This misbehavior leads to excessive energy use, providing support to the energy and utility industries, and does nothing to reduce our dependence of foreign oil.

High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 3

Posted on February 28,2015 by AnnEdminster in building code

During the last month we’ve had a very stimulating conversation going about design – and how some important design opportunities for improving energy performance are often overlooked, and why. The dialogue started here and, thanks to fellow GBA Advisor Bruce King, continued on Facebook. Now to continue the fun, we’re going to look at CODE – specifically, the energy code – and its role in high-performance and net-zero energy homes.

The First National Green Code — or Communism?

Posted on February 28,2015 by Ecovrn in building code

After a few false starts, the International Code Council (the code writing body for the U.S.) finally prevailed with the new International Green Construction Code, to be available in Spring 2012. Already there is media spin about the wonderful leadership shown by the U.S. in setting the example by providing such a code. Hoorah for the U.S.! I think…

(At Least) Six Things Are Wrong With This Crawl Space

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-1068097 in building code

Last week, GBA published a photo of a crawl space in an old house under the headline, “What's Wrong With This Picture?” The photo showed an unvented crawl space in a cold climate. The home was built in 1885. This crawl space is attached to an adjacent concrete-floored basement. The foundation walls are made of mortared limestone.

Ranking States’ Energy Efficiency Programs

Posted on February 28,2015 by Fretboard in ACEEE

The fifth edition of the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, announced on October 20, shows that Massachusetts and California essentially switched places, with Massachusetts now in the top spot and California ranked No. 2.

An Overview of the 2012 Energy Code

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in building code

UPDATED and CORRECTED on 9/22/2011 Are you ready for the 2012 code? Each revision of the International codes tends to ratchet up energy performance requirements, and the 2012 revision is no exception. Although its adoption may be a long ways off in some jurisdictions — after all, many rural areas of the U.S. still have no building codes at all — the 2012 International codes may become law in some areas as soon as next year.

Georgia Pulls the Attic-Ventilator Plug (Sort of)

Posted on February 28,2015 by Fretboard in air sealing

Attic ventilator fans have taken a whupping in the court of building science, played starring roles on useless-products lists, and gotten roughed up in the comments sections of blogs. Now they’re gadget non grata in Georgia’s supplement to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code.

New Air Sealing Requirements in the 2009 International Residential Code

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in air barrier

One of the most cost-effective ways of lowering residential energy costs is to reduce a home’s air leakage rate, so it makes sense for energy codes to ratchet up air-sealing requirements. The latest (2009) version of the International Residential Code does exactly that.

Napa and Telluride: Tales of Green Building Code Adoption

Posted on February 28,2015 by Fretboard in building code

For builders in and around the town of Napa, one of California’s principal wine-country destinations, the city’s recent adoption of more-stringent energy efficiency standards came no surprise. Napa’s 19-member Green Building Task Force consulted frequently with industry professionals as it hammered out the requirements, which in large part reflect the 2008 California Building Standards Code, whose provisions begin taking effect August 1.

Forget Vapor Diffusion — Stop the Air Leaks!

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in air barrier

Last week’s blog answered some common questions about vapor retarders. This elicited a comment from Bill Rose, research director of the Building Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois in Champaign. “We might imagine a future in which the building code sections that address the vapor barrier would all go blank,” Rose wrote.

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