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Energy Codes Update 2nd Quarter 2012

Created 8/30/2012 by David Cohan
Updated 8/30/2012 by Greg Stiles
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Substantial progress has been made in developing the new state energy code. In early June, the Technical Advisory Group for the energy code finished its work and presented a recommended package of measures to the Mechanical, Ventilation and Energy Committee. This package was the final version of the “mash up” document which merged the existing the existing Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) and the nationally-developed International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). A special success was the inclusion of the Nothern Climate Heat Pump Water Heater specification in the recommended package. Many organizations around the region helped develop the specification and having it in the code starts the process of making it a uniform requirement across the region.

On June 22nd the Committee recommended the TAG package to the State Building Code Council (SBCC) without amendments. The next step is to develop cost and savings estimates for the package so that a benefit-cost analysis can be performed. NEEA is supplying the savings analysis for both the residential and non-residential portions of the code. We know there are significant savings but no one yet knows exactly how much they are. We will also be working with various stakeholders to develop costs. Once those are done the Department of Commerce will perform a cost-benefit analysis which will have a major influence on the SBCC’s willingness to adopt the package.

In other news, NEEA’s residential compliance study is now underway. A stakeholder meeting was held in June to introduce the project and request help in getting data to develop a sample design. Cadmus Group, the contractor, is now working with jurisdictions to get lists of recent homes built to the current code. Data collection is expected to start anon and be finished in September.

Finally, there was a substantial amount of training done around the state. Q2 classes on the non-residential code were presented in Bremerton, Port Angeles, Yakima and Moses Lake. Jurisdiction visits were conducted with Clallam County, Sequim, Poulsbo and Bremerton. Development of a comprehensive training on envelope continuity funded by BPA is almost completed; the first session will be offered in during Q3. Residential classes were taught in Spokane, Olympia, Mercer Island and Burlington.



The Idaho Building Code Board is in the process of deciding whether to retain (for an indeterminate period) the 2009 IECC or move to the 2012 version. If they moved to the 2012 version it would be with amendments that would reduce the stringency significantly. There is no politically viable scenario in which the 2012 IECC would be adopted unamended. On August 20 the Board will have a special meeting to take testimony on which version of the code they should support. (This includes the International Building, Residential, Existing Building and Energy Conservation Codes.) A stakeholder meeting was held on July 18 which included the residential building industry, building officials, state agencies, the Association of Idaho Cities, NEEA and its consultants. This group will recommend to the Board that they retain the 2009 IECC while forming a working group to study the 2012 version and make recommendations on when and how to move towards that higher level of stringency.

NEEA’s residential compliance study is now underway in Idaho. A stakeholder meeting was held in May to introduce the project and request help in getting data to develop a sample design. Cadmus Group, the contractor, is now working with jurisdictions to get lists of recent homes built to the current code. Data collection is expected to start anon and be finished in September.

Over 200 people received energy code-related training in June at the 26th Idaho Energy & Green Building Conference which NEEA helps support.

The circuit rider attended an advanced energy code training and received his International Code Council certification in the energy code. He has been touring the state, introducing himself and the role of the circuit rider and providing trainings. The Circuit Rider Oversight Board will be reviewing his activities on a regular basis and providing guidance on general direction.



NEEA has been negotiating with the Oregon Homebuilders Association (OHBA) to deliver residential code training in Oregon. The statement of work has been agreed to and there are just a few more details on the legal part of the contract before we have an agreement in place at which point OHBA will immediately begin a search to hire a trainer.

The Oregon Building Code Division, after seriously considering skipping a code cycle or having an abbreviated development process, decided to run a standard code development process which will include the commercial energy code. The University of Idaho is doing an analysis to compare the existing Oregon commercial code with the 2012 IECC. The development process will start after that analysis is complete, most likely in late 2012 or early 2013. In support of the existing commercial code, NEEA signed a contract with PECI to deliver trainings to the market. The contract also includes development and delivery of an HVAC controls training curriculum (which can be used throughout the region with minor changes) and identification of and technical support for buildings with the potential to meet the Oregon reach code.


More than 80 people attended a commercial energy code compliance class offered in Bozeman in April.

Negotiations with the Montana Building Industries Association (MBIA, the homebuilders group) to support an energy code compliance program in self-certification areas continue. We have exchanged multiple concept papers with MBIA and currently its Board is considering the latest implementation ideas for a pilot program. It has been a challenge to develop a program design that will be financially replicable and expandable throughout the state. A huge question is whether builders who build in rural areas will participate in such a program. We hope to have agreement with MBIA soon and then sign a contract with them to develop and roll out the program.


With both Oregon and Washington switching from self-promulgated codes to (heavily amended) versions of the IECC, all the Northwest states are now “I-code” states. The region thus has a much stronger interest in the development of the IECC than it had previously. To further that interest, NEEA has hired Britt/Makela Group to lead a regional effort to develop code change proposals which will be submitted to the 2015 code development process. Proposals are due January 3, 2013.

Britt/Makela is also analyzing the energy code as it relates to existing buildings, an area we believe to have low compliance. The intent is to identify areas where NEEA can have a positive influence and develop an action plan that would be implemented in late 2012 or early 2013.

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Comments (1)
Greg Stiles on 08/30/12 on 01:13 PM (Pacific Time)
Thanks for the update David! Much appreciated.

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Sector: Non-Sector Specific
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Energy Codes and Standards

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