9 Steps to A Greener Code
New homes built using the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC) or International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will be more energy efficient than ever. As a consequence, a builder’s world may become a bit more complex and, in some cases, a bit more expensive.
STEP 4: PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS (Section N1103.1.1)
The code: Where the primary heating system is a forced-air furnace, at least one thermostat per dwelling unit shall be capable of controlling the heating and cooling system on a daily schedule to maintain different temperature set points at different times of the day. This thermostat shall include the capability to maintain zone temperatures between 55°F (13°C) and 85°F (29°C). The thermostat shall initially be programmed with a heating temperature no higher than 70°F (21°C) and a cooling temperature no lower than 78°F (26°C).
What it means to you:
This type of energy-saving device is commonly regarded as low-hanging fruit. It has been a popular addition to many new homes because of customer demand. A typical programmable thermostat will add between $20 and $40 over the cost of manual thermostats. The Energy Star website suggests that when used properly, programmable thermostats can save about $150 a year in energy costs.
This code requirement is mandated only for new homes using a forced air heating system because using programmable thermostats with other types of heating systems can cause complications.
The 2009 building codes reflect practices that not only increase energy efficiency—air-sealing measures and increased insulation, for example—but also address sustainable building practices, such as moisture control.
Other segments of this series: