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NEEA Energy Codes Update - Q1 2014

Created 4/8/2014 by Ken Baker
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This quarterly newsletter highlights only a few of the energy code activities that are being implemented in the four-state region.    If you have questions on other activities or want more detail on those presented, you are always welcome to contact me at: kbaker@neea.org  - 208-861-5736.  Thank you.


Codes Update:




The Oregon Department of Energy is hiring an engineer whose main task will be provision of energy code training for stakeholders.  NEEA is supporting this position through contract with ODOE. 


Total trained in Q1 - 210



On February 19th the Building Codes Council residential committee met to consider changes to the upcoming residential code.  Most of the agenda items were non-energy related but NEEA presented a code change proposal to require air sealing where interior walls meet the attic.  The code change proposal was not passed by the committee.  The Oregon energy code is currently on a six-year cycle and code changes during this period are expected to be minimal.


Supported through NEEA, the Oregon Homebuilders Association energy code specialist, Howard Asch, has provided some innovative webinar sessions, reaching about 160 builders statewide through March with another 50 attendees at on site sessions.   During January, Mr. Asch attended a three-day Home Energy Rating System training sponsored by NEEA.  In February NEEA assisted the OHBA in the purchase of a blower door and Mr. Asch has been using his skill set to provide technical assistance to builders statewide.



Energy Trust of Oregon, the State Building Codes Division, Oregon Department of Energy and NEEA representatives have been working collaboratively to build a set of reach code measures that would be available for implementation outside the current full package reach code.  Bonneville Power has been brought into the loop and is considered to be a key player in measure assessment for incentives.  The four measures, which include above-code efficiencies in exterior and interior lighting, HVAC and water heaters, will be presented to the Oregon building code board for consideration in Q2. 




Total trained in Q1 – 367



Washington is cycling through year one of their new 2012 code with continued education and training statewide.  The Washington residential training and technical assistance is provided through Washington State University and commercial through the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council.  The classes are generally well attended, in large part due to the participatory format and credibility that WSU trainers have built over the years.  About 258 participants have attended indoor air quality and code classes in 2014 with multiple classes scheduled through the quarter and the year.  Technical assistance requests remain high in this first year of the new code.  Many questions center on the use of the newly developed compliance forms. 


In January, WSU staff was contracted by NEEA to provide three-day Home Energy Rating System training to a select group of regional technical assistance providers.  This has led to expanded technical assistance availability in Oregon and Idaho. 


NEEA funding of WSU efforts has resulted in significant improvements in HVAC air handler box tightness on new HVAC equipment and represents a significant market transformation.  WSU staff continues to pursue manufactured home standard updates through service on national committees.



Full-day training sessions were implemented in Centralia, Bellevue and Vancouver.   The NEEC presented morning sessions focused on the building envelope and lighting was presented by the Lighting Design Lab during the afternoon.   As in residential, technical assistance requests remain high in response to the new code. 




Total trained in Q1 – 92



Idaho has several actions of interest in the first quarter.  A marketing plan, developed in 2013 is about to be implemented.  Members of the Idaho energy code collaborative met the last week of March to develop a marketing messaging strategy that will be utilized by all Idaho energy code implementers.  The codes manager of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance visited Idaho to participate in this meeting.


Eastern Idaho jurisdictions and builders are considering engagement in a pilot program that would implement the full 2012 IECC, including air leakage and whole-house ventilation requirements.  The cities of Idaho Falls and Ammon have already reinstated a requirement for whole-house ventilation. The ventilation requirement, a holdover from the Super Good Cents and Model Conservation Standard days was only recently removed from code.  Ventilation studies in the past year showed that many homes in the area are exceptionally tight, some less than 2 ACH at 50 pascals (current code is 7 ACH 50). 


Legislation submitted by the building contractors during the recent legislative session was approved to rename the International Residential Code and energy codes to the Idaho Residential Code and Idaho Energy Code.



Code jurisdictions are attending sessions on the 2012 IECC which will be implemented on January 1, 2015.  During Q2, NEEA contractors will begin jurisdiction site visits to assess jurisdiction needs for the upcoming 2012 code. 




Total trained in Q1 – 7



NEEA and Montana Division of Environmental Quality have shared in the cost of 7 blower doors, 7 duct blasters and 5 infrared cameras to be purchased by the Montana Building Industry Association.   NCAT (National Center for Appropriate Technology) will provide seven training sessions statewide that will certify industry attendees on the use of equipment.  Once certified, the equipment will be available for check out and use for code compliance. 


The 2012 IECC will become effective in April of 2014 but the requirement for house and duct tightness certification will not be required until next year, providing industry time to learn and certify.  DEQ staff is responding to multiple technical assistance requests related to the upcoming 2012 IECC implementation.  DEQ staff developed a Homebuyer Energy Guide and Checklist and providing copies to inquiring homeowners. 



The 2012 commercial IECC becomes effective in April 2014.  NCAT will provide 2012 IECC training at the annual Montana building industry conference the first week of April.


Next Quarter:

In quarter two training for the industry and trades generally falls off as it is a busy construction time.  However, technical assistance to jurisdictions will generally increase during this season.  None of the states are currently in the process of full energy code development, though code change proposals are always an ongoing part of the work performed. 
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