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Created 7/23/2013 by David Cohan
Updated 7/25/2013 by Andrew Pultorak, LC, MIES
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2nd QUARTER 2013



It’s never over ‘til it’s over for the code geeks. There have been non-stop discussions and negotiations on various aspects of the energy code that was approved by the State Building Code Council last November and went into effect July 1. Many of these were resolved without official action but ultimately the Council made two decisions, effective immediately, under its emergency rulemaking powers. The first was to eliminate a new, third climate zone that had been created for the coldest areas of the state. Reverting to two zones simplified the code and had little energy impact as the affected areas have very small populations. The second created a prescriptive compliance path for glazing up to 40% of the wall area. The original language had a path only up to 30%. The new path allows more glazing but requires the use of a more efficient window so, again, the energy impacts are minimal.


None of these rulemaking activities stopped NEEA’s contractors from pushing ahead full speed with creating code support forms and materials to be ready for the July 1 kick-off date and holding classes on the new code. NEEC held thirteen trainings on the non-residential code from mid-April to the end of June and had 601 attendees. WSU held 17 trainings on the residential code for 418 attendees. As expected at the onset of a new code, NEEC and WSU are receiving a large volume of calls and emails from people trying to use it for the first time.




The development process for the 2014 Oregon commercial energy code is nearing completion. Based on proposals developed by Building Code Division staff and stakeholders, including NEEA, the Construction Industry Energy Board recommended a package that will provide modest improvements in efficiency mainly through requirements for better lighting and equipment. A public hearing on the proposed new code is scheduled for August 20th after which the Board will make a final decision; if the BCD administrator agrees with the Board (a given at this point) then the new code will go into effect April 1, 2014.


NEEA’s collaborative process with the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Oregon Homebuilders Association (OHBA) exploring the joint development of a long-term vision for Oregon energy codes made excellent progress in Q2. Agreement was reached on the economic tests that will be used to determine whether measures should be included in new codes and a package of measures that would be the basis for the next residential energy code. Modeling was then completed for this package of measures which provided estimates of energy savings. The next step is to collect price information on the measures so that a cost-effectiveness analysis can be completed.


Howard Asch, OHBA’s residential energy code educator, conducted four trainings with a total of 48 attendees in Q2.



A major step toward adoption of the next Idaho energy code took place on June 18th when the Idaho Building Code Board accepted the consensus proposal from the Energy Codes Collaborative and the Idaho Building Contractors Association supporting adoption of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). As explained in the last newsletter, the proposal recommends that the commercial sections of the 2012 IECC be adopted as written and the residential portions be amended to reduce the requirements to approximately those of the 2009 IECC with the understanding that these would be increased over time up to 2012 levels. The next step in the adoption process is that the Board’s proposal has to sit through a session of the legislature. If the legislature takes no action the code will go into effect January 1, 2015.


To begin laying the path toward upgrading the residential code to 2012 IECC levels, NEEA will begin funding education and training on specific items that it hopes to see go into the code starting in 2016. While this may seem like a long ways off, 2-3 years is not a huge amount of time to lay the groundwork for something like a state-wide blower door testing requirement. The Codes Collaborative is currently developing a list of training opportunities they plan to offer in the future under the name Livable Buildings. The circuit rider will play a key role in these efforts.


150 people received energy code training at seven different trainings in Q2.



The Montana Department of Labor & Industry held six “listening sessions” around the state in May to seek feedback on whether the 2012 editions of all the building codes – including energy -- should be considered for adoption and whether any modifications should be made and/or retained for those codes. On July 9 the Building Codes Council met to hear a summary of the listening sessions and consider and make recommendations concerning the adoption of the 2012 codes but there was very little discussion of the energy code and that was only in relation to the listening sessions. The Council has another meeting scheduled September 19 and 20 where we assume the energy code will be a major topic of discussion.


19 people received training in Q1.



The Northwest Energy Codes Group is submitting public comments on a number of proposals that were heard at the initial 2015 International Energy Conservation Code development hearings in April. The final hearings are in October in Atlantic City, NJ.

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Comments (2)
Alan Seymour on 07/25/13 on 02:24 PM (Pacific Time)
Thanks for the concise update David!
Andrew Pultorak, LC, MIES on 07/25/13 on 03:02 PM (Pacific Time)
Thanks for posting the summary!  It might be good for users of this forum to also know that besides the numerous changes that affect lighting in WA State, the biggest change, in my opinion, is that the PRESCRIPTIVE METHOD for interior lighting is no longer allowed in the 2012 WSEC.

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