Blog

2012 Energy Conservation Code Raises Energy Standards

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 by Tim Snyder


2012 Energy Conservation Code Raises Energy Standards  - Image 1Lake Bluff, IL - Developed by the Washington, DC-based International Codes Council, the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will be used by federal agencies like the National Park Service, Department of State, U.S. Forest Service and the Veterans Administration. The IECC will eventually be used by many state and municipal building departments all across the country.

Even though the 2012 IECC focuses on new and commercial construction, green building experts, such as Dr. Energy Saver®- a nation-wide network of energy specialists, predict that this new building code will have a major impact on upgrading the energy performance of existing houses. Alex Wilson, founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and executive editor of Environmental Building News, is certain that the new code will have a major impact on home energy performance.

“Simply having code language finalized doesn't mean that a code is in force,” Wilson explains. “But any time a new building code is adopted, designers, builders, and building owners change their practices. I’m hopeful that we will see a residential version of this code in the not-too-distant future.”

Highlights from the new Energy Conservation Code that will impact existing home performance

  • More airtight construction. Blower door tests are already performed on houses during a standard home energy audit, to measure and detect energy-wasting air leaks. The IECC calls for mandatory blower door testing on new buildings. In colder climate zones, airtight construction techniques should yield a blower door reading equivalent of just 3 air changes per hour (at 50 Pascals pressure). This tight construction standard reinforces the need to stop energy-wasting air leaks with expert air-sealing work.
  • Higher insulation levels. The new code stresses the importance of insulation in all areas of a building, from basement to attic. For existing houses, the best opportunities for insulation upgrades are in basement, crawl space and attic zones.
  • Well-sealed ductwork. Leaky ductwork wastes energy by increasing HVAC system run time. The IECC proposes a maximum leakage of just 4cfm (cubic ft./min.) for every 100sq.ft. of floor area. Even though it’s easy to seal ducts when a house is first built, this work is often neglected or entirely omitted. That’s why duct sealing improvements remain very important for existing houses.
  • More efficient lighting. Recognizing advancements in efficient lighting technology, the new code calls for at least 75% of a new building’s lighting to be “high efficacy.” Thanks to the widespread availability of low-watt compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and even more efficient LED lights, this standard is just as easy to achieve in existing houses as it is in new construction.

Contact Dr. Energy Saver today to schedule your home energy audit or estimate for any of their services, which includes: air sealing, ductwork and duct cleaning, crawl space encapsulation, replacement windows in Buffalo Grove, IL and more!

Top