energy code

A Second Look at a Surprising Study on Energy

Posted on April 19,2015 by StevenNadel in building codes

Steven Nadel is the executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. This post originally appeared on the ACEEE blog. GBA posted a news story about the original study in January.

British Columbia Updates Its Energy Code

Posted on April 19,2015 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.

A New Green Building Rating System

Posted on April 19,2015 by ScottG in energy code

For builders who find established green-building rating systems too daunting, a startup called ecoSelect is offering a simplified building standard that will be easier and cheaper to follow.

German Building Codes Keep Ratcheting Up

Posted on April 19,2015 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 April 19,2015 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? 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. And the fourth reason is that even when the code clearly requires spray foam to be protected with a thermal barrier or an ignition barrier, many code officials don’t bother to enforce the code.

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

Posted on April 19,2015 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.”

The 2015 IECC Recognizes Home Energy Ratings

Posted on April 19,2015 by ab3 in energy code

Great news, everyone! (If you read that in the voice of Professor Hubert Farnsworth, please don't let your imagination run away with you. This really is great news.) The HERS Index will part of the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code. Why does that matter? Because it will help home builders build better homes.

ICC Approves Changes to Energy Code

Posted on April 19,2015 by ScottG in energy code

The 2015 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will include a new performance path to compliance that is both easier for consumers to understand and also somewhat more stringent than the current version of the code. Meeting at the International Code Council's annual conference and public comment hearings, code officials approved an updated code that will be published in 2014. Like other model building codes, this one would take effect only when states or local jurisdictions choose to adopt it.

All About Climate Zones

Posted on April 19,2015 by ab3 in Building Science

One of the fundamental principles of building science is that buildings must be suited to their climate. When they're not, problems can ensue. Maybe it's just that they're not as efficient as they should be. Maybe it's worse.

The ICC 700 Green Standard’s Energy Requirements Ramp Up

Posted on April 19,2015 by Fretboard in American National Standards Institute

After navigating the educational offerings, the product rollouts, and the more celebratory rituals that accompany the International Builders’ Show, which for three days in January took over the Las Vegas Convention Center, it may have been hard to stay focused, or even awake, once it was all over.

A Tough Energy Code Is the Worker’s Friend

Posted on April 19,2015 by user-1095434 in energy code

The Town of West Tisbury passed the Stretch Code at Town Meeting this year. It's a more stringent building code and in essence it speeds up the adoption of the next iteration of the International Energy Code.

Why Don’t More HVAC Contractors Own Duct Leakage Testers?

Posted on April 19,2015 by ab3 in Bailes

HVAC contractors own a lot of equipment. Of course, they have pressure gauges to test refrigerant charge in air conditioners and heat pumps, and many more pieces of technical equipment. One piece that few contractors own, however, is a duct leakage tester. With more and more state energy codes requiring duct leakage tests, doesn't it seem obvious that HVAC contractors need to be like plumbers and test their own work before passing it off?

Choosing a Cost-Effective Wall System

Posted on April 19,2015 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?”

On the Path to More Green Building

Posted on April 19,2015 by CarlSeville in energy code

We are in a very conservative, practically radical, political environment in where taxes, regulation, and almost anything that smells of “government” is beaten back as soon as it comes up. As energy codes become more rigorous, we see efforts to beat them back.

Efficiency Programs Struggle to Stay Ahead of Energy Codes

Posted on April 19,2015 by ab3 in energy code

Smart people in the home-building industry have a saying about codes: A code-built house is the worst house allowed by law. The implication behind that statement is that if all you're doing is meeting the code, you're probably short-changing the people who will live in the house. The folks at the International Code Council (ICC) are doing their best to make sure that that barely-legal house is worth living in.

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

Posted on April 19,2015 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 April 19,2015 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 April 19,2015 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…

Energy Code Enforcement is a Mixed Bag

Posted on April 19,2015 by CarlSeville in Air Barriers

I’ve never been much of a code geek, but recently I’ve been studying the 2009 and 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) documents. When I was a contractor, energy code enforcement by building officials was pretty much nonexistent, so I didn’t pay much attention to the specifics, although I’m fairly certain we met or exceeded the minimum requirements in our projects.

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