code

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

When we break the rules, we all suffer

Posted on Feb 29 2012 by Carl Seville

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.


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Image Credits:

  1. ICC

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The First National Green Code — or Communism?

Do we need a national green construction code — or would such a code be a threat to our freedom?

Posted on Jan 10 2012 by Vera Novak

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…


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Image Credits:

  1. International Code Council

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Tackling PV’s Red-Tape Roadblocks

The DOE names the winners of a competition to make permitting and financing for photovoltaic systems quicker and cheaper

Posted on Dec 19 2011 by Richard Defendorf

Financial prospects for deployment of photovoltaic systems could be brightening.

Prices of PV panels from both Asian and domestic manufacturers, for example, have dropped so much recently that many developers of solar power utility projects in California who originally planned to use solar thermal systems are switching to PV, according to a San Jose Mercury News story posted this month.


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Image Credits:

  1. Department of Energy

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Judges Dismiss Cases Over Carbon Monoxide Deaths in Aspen

An HVAC contractor and a building inspector were facing criminal charges in connection with the deaths of four people who were poisoned by carbon monoxide

Posted on Nov 10 2011 by Richard Defendorf

Update: This story now includes the information on the dismissal of cases against two defendants who were charged with criminal negligence in the carbon monoxide deaths.


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Image Credits:

  1. UTC Fire & Security Co.

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An Overview of the 2012 Energy Code

The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code will require more insulation, a tighter envelope, tighter ducts, better windows, and more efficient lighting than the 2009 code

Posted on Sep 16 2011 by Martin Holladay

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.


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Image Credits:

  1. Fine Homebuilding
  2. ICC
  3. Energy Efficient Codes Coalition
  4. Building Energy Codes Resource Center

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New Air Sealing Requirements in the 2009 International Residential Code

The latest version of the IRC gives you two options: comply with an air-sealing checklist or perform a blower-door test

Posted on Jun 3 2011 by Martin Holladay

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.


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Image Credits:

  1. Martin Holladay
  2. International Code Council

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Are Energy Codes Working?

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy codes will have to become more stringent — and they’ll need to be enforced

Posted on Feb 4 2011 by Martin Holladay

Residential energy codes have evolved rapidly over the last two decades. The origin of many of our current energy codes can be traced back to the Model Energy Code (MEC), which was first introduced in 1992. The MEC eventually evolved into the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC International Energy Conservation Code.).


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Image Credits:

  1. International Code Council

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Report from the ICC Code Hearings

I attended the ICC hearings in Charlotte last week and got to watch sausage — er, codes — being created

Posted on Nov 3 2010 by Michael Chandler

The ICC hearings last week were packed with building inspectors and government officials who received grant funding — both to join the ICC (so they could vote) and to cover the cost of transportation, food and lodging for the trip. Together they managed to vote in a new code that aims for a 30% reduction in energy usage compared to the 2006 code. Voters who were more interested in affordable housing than energy efficiency never had a chance, though the debates were long and redundant. (For example, the blower door test mandate was debated on five separate occasions.)


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Image Credits:

  1. Michael Chandler
  2. Michael Chander

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Congress for the New Urbanism Lands in Atlanta

Seein' you at CNU (coined by Fernando Pages)

Posted on Jun 1 2010 by Carl Seville

I had the pleasure of attending the 18th Congress for the New Urbanism in Atlanta this year. I have been following the development of the New Urbanism movement since its early days, having been introduced to it by my friend Peter Katz, who wrote one of the first books on the subject, The New Urbanism, almost 20 years ago.


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Forget Vapor Diffusion — Stop the Air Leaks!

Building codes are finally beginning to recognize that air barriers matter more than vapor barriers

Posted on Mar 19 2010 by Martin Holladay

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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Image Credits:

  1. Martin Holladay

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