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.
The 2012 code requires more insulation, a tighter envelope, tighter ducts, better windows, and more efficient lighting than the 2009 code.
Here is a summary of the important changes for residential builders in the 2012 International codes:
The bottom line: every new home will need to be tested with a blower door, every cold-climate builder will need to come up with a strategy to stop thermal bridging through studs.
The 2012 IRC still includes energy efficiency requirements in Chapter 11. However, these requirements are now identical to the residential provisions found in the 2012 IECC.
In essence, chapter 11 of the IRC is just a reprint of the applicable sections of the 2012 IECC.
Until the most recent round of code revisions, residential builders could choose to comply with one of two energy codes: either Chapter 11 in the IRC (the “Energy Efficiency” chapter), or the residential section of the IECC. Most builders found it easier to follow the IRC. However, any builder who wanted to follow the performance path (rather than the prescriptive or component-tradeoff path) had to use the IECC, since the IRC didn’t include a performance path option.
The fact that there were two parallel energy codes — one in the IRC, and one in the IECC — was confusing to many builders. While the two codes were aligned on most matters, they occasionally conflicted, further adding to confusion.
The 2012 code revisions have simplified the…