International Energy Conservation Code Upgrades
The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) has been upgraded to require that newly constructed and renovated residential and commercial buildings achieve energy savings 30% higher than the IECC’s 2006 predecessor. The revisions represent the largest single-step efficiency increase in the history of the national model energy code. A majority of state and local jurisdictions around the country have adopted energy codes modeled after the IECC standards, and the recent 2012 revisions represent a significant step forward for efficiency gains. It is anticipated that the changes will be widely adopted by various jurisdictions.
Approximately 500 state, county and city building and fire code officials from across the country voted, by an overwhelming majority, to pass a series of energy-saving changes to the IECC. The most notable changes to residential buildings include:
- An increase in stringency for insulation efficiency requirements;
- A mandatory air infiltration test in all homes to reduce heating and cooling loss;
- A requirement that ducts be tested to a tighter duct leakage standard to reduce wasted energy; and
- A set of options to improve hot-water distribution systems and reduce wasted energy and water.
As for commercial buildings, changes include:
- More efficient air leakage requirements by mandating continuous air barriers;
- The option to choose between renewable power generation;
- Improved lighting systems or more efficient HVAC equipment; and
- A commissioning requirement for HVAC systems, mandatory automatic daylighting controls, and increased HVAC piping insulation provisions.
Pennsylvania’s Uniform Construction Code, which is mandatory statewide and applies to residential and commercial buildings, is based on the 2009 IECC. With the publication of the 2012 IECC, it is anticipated that Pennsylvania’s next code change will occur sometime in late 2011 with a tentative effective date of December 31, 2011. We will keep you posted on any updates regarding the Construction Code.
Philadelphia Among the Nation’s Leaders in Green Roofs
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) recently announced the results of its 2011 Annual Industry Survey, which revealed that the green roof industry grew by 28.5% over the course of 2010. This growth is a significant increase from the 16% growth recorded in 2009.
The GRHC Survey lists the top 10 U.S. cities leading the way for green roofs installed in 2010. Chicago topped the list for the seventh year in a row with more than 500,000 square feet of green roofs installed. Philadelphia ranked fourth with nearly 150,000 square feet of green roofs installed. Notable green roofs in Philadelphia include the Free Library of Philadelphia, PECO’s headquarters, Comcast Center, the Friends Center of Philadelphia and Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.
The government’s investment in green roofs for their stormwater, air quality, green space and city cooling, largely fuels the growth of the green roof industry, according to Steven W. Peck, Founder and President of GRHC. “Cities such as Chicago, Washington, New York, Portland, Seattle and Philadelphia continue to lead the way with incentives and regulations that recognize the many benefits from green roofs, including much needed green jobs in their communities.”
The Green building industry continues to grow each year, with new technologies and green building ideas coming into play every day. Contractors need to stay on top of all these changes and advancements, and be able to offer clients the newest and most cost effective options. We will continue to report on new green building advancements as they occur.
Cohen Seglias Partner Lane F. Kelman contributed to this post.