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No More Excuses

Posted by Ron Jones

Jun 2, 2016 10:21:35 AM

Builders need to take responsibility for their own standards of quality and performance.

These days, the bulk of communication and commentary emanating from the predictable homebuilding industry sources, as well as the trade media that pander to those same organizations, appears reflective of a well-choreographed, strategic campaign to rally anyone who will listen to take up arms against the evils of regulation.

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That’s our story and we’re stickin’ to it…for now.

Posted by Ron Jones

Apr 8, 2015 5:13:00 PM

The National Association of Homebuilders talks the talk of caring about home energy efficiency, then fights bitterly to prevent any helpful green legislation. Will the real NAHB please stand up?

Back on March 30, a fluff piece from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) appeared in my inbox under the heading “New Homes Increasingly Offer Efficiency, Sustainable Features.” It was a retread message generated by the public affairs department, giving lip service to the Association’s claim of support for sustainable building practices and energy efficiency.

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ecoSelect: A Green Building Program by the Numbers

Posted by Mike Collignon

Oct 19, 2014 6:51:28 PM

This “entry-level” green building program is attracting builders with its low cost and easy-to-follow checklist.

More and more builders are recognizing the importance of creating a unique “green” identity, but navigating through the myriad of green building programs can be overwhelming. Similarly, even knowledgeable homebuyers are confused by the plethora of options.

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The Living Building Challenge: A green building certification program

Posted by Laureen Blissard

Jul 9, 2014 2:07:00 PM

THE LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE is a green building certification program that reaches beyond projects’ physical boundaries. As more green building programs delve into the manufacturing process, they will create a demand for products with established life-cycle assessments (LCSs) and reduced use of harmful chemicals.

In the Beginning…
In 1992, then Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Montana) had secured an earmark of approximately $1.2 million to be administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for the intent of funding sustainability projects. At the same time, Montana State University’s (MSU) Office of Research and Technology Transfer was charged with identifying appropriate projects and funding green building technology research.

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Going Beyond the 2012 IECC

Posted by Mike Collignon

Jun 10, 2014 1:51:31 PM

BOULDER, BROOMFIELD & MOUNTAIN VILLAGE, CO

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Three More States Tweak Energy Codes

Posted by Mike Collignon

Apr 29, 2014 12:02:19 PM

MINNESOTA
Energy Code Information: The state’s Construction Code Advisory Council approved a draft energy code based on the 2012 IECC. It then moved to a review by the state’s Department of Labor and Industry. A public comment period was held earlier this year, though the state first has to work through the issue of residential sprinklers. Once they finally get to the energy code discussion, they will review the following amendments proposed to both the commercial and residential codes:

Commercial: The IECC commissioning requirements were incorporated into ASHRAE 90.1-2010, so there is consistency between the code and standard.

Residential: Wall insulation R-value is R-21 for the prescriptive table, while the U-value table remains the same as it was. Ventilation requirements have been increased to balanced ventilation (cannot use exhaust or supply).Two options for basement wall insulation: R-15 continuous or R-10 exterior insulation; however, 2.5 ACH50 must be proven.Elements to ensure basement walls are waterproofed, which helps mitigate moisture damage.
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Snapshots from Around the Country

Posted by Mike Collignon

Mar 26, 2014 11:14:00 AM

DALLAS

Green Code Information:
On October 1, 2013, the City of Dallas implemented a green building ordinance, requiring green building practices for all new residential and commercial buildings. Here are the details:

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Here Comes the 2012 IECC

Posted by Mike Collignon

Jan 1, 2014 1:37:00 PM

1. Michigan

History:
Michigan has been quite the battleground between energy efficiency advocates (including state industry) and the state HBA. In a compromise reached between the two groups, the state will adopt the 2012 IECC, but will not review their code for a minimum of three years and a maximum of six years.

General Code Information:
The Bureau of Construction Codes tasked the Residential Code Review Committee with reviewing the 2012 IRC and IECC. The meetings, seven in total, ran between August 28 and December 12.
While a draft of the commercial building code was released, the energy section was not updated. The review of the commercial energy code was delayed.

Observation(s):
Back in December 2012, when Public Act 504 passed, we felt it was a short-term victory for energy efficiency. Now, with the 2015 IECC nearly finalized, it appears it might be an all-around victory for energy efficiency. An attempt by NAHB to drop the energy code down from 2012 levels failed at the national level. At the same time, a new ERI compliance path will soon be available that should hold appeal amongst most builders. If the state decides to wait the maximum six years to update their code, that delay could prevent many Michigan builders from utilizing a very usable compliance path. Thankfully, the door is open for the state to add the new option in approximately two and a half years.

2. Massachusetts

General Code Information:
In early July, the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) approved the 2012 IECC for residential and commercial buildings. They built in a one-year transition period, where the 2009 and 2012 IECC are allowed. Starting July 1, 2014, only the 2012 IECC will be recognized by building officials across the state.

An updated Stretch Energy Code (2.0) was submitted at a September meeting of the BBRS.

Observation(s):
Massachusetts has always been a progressive state when it comes to energy codes. Their stretch code helps the state’s building industry prepare for the next mandatory code. It’s a model that really encourages energy-efficient construction.

3. Rhode Island

General Code Information:
The Building Code Standards Committee updated the state’s building code, including the 2012 IECC with amendments. The new codes went into effect on October 1, 2013. Two notable amendments were:

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Building Code State Spotlight: New Mexico

Posted by Mike Collignon

Sep 30, 2013 2:20:00 PM

A Tale of Two Governors

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Are We Using the “Right” Building Products and Materials?

Posted by Laureen Blissard

Aug 26, 2013 2:28:00 PM

In the past 10 years or so, green building product availability and technology has increased along with the revision of energy efficiency codes. Unfortunately, there seems to be a disconnect in the coordination of available information for specifiers, code authors and code officials. This disconnect becomes more apparent when conflicts arise between unique building code requirements and energy code requirements. Add to the above a project attempting to meet green certification and a designer or builder may end up spending precious time and fees researching all of the variables.

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New Jersey

Posted by Mike Collignon

Jul 30, 2013 2:36:00 PM

Executive Summary:

In the second half of 2012, the State was considering an update of its energy code. The Code Advisory Board (CAB) was recommending a minor step up from the 2009 IECC, while the codes and standards division was contemplating an endorsement of the 2012 IECC. Then everything changed, when Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast, and the focus shifted to recovery. But even Sandy wasn’t strong enough to wash this decision away, and in some regards, it may have brought an even bigger problem ashore.

The State Energy Code

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A Tale of Two States

Posted by Mike Collignon

Jun 24, 2013 2:42:00 PM

In our June 2011 report, we reported on a bill (S708-CSRO-20) passed by the North Carolina state legislature that (on average) increased the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings by 15% and 30%, respectively. This bill was signed by then-Governor Perdue and became law on January 1, 2012.

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Affordable and Certifiable

Posted by Laureen Blissard

Apr 30, 2013 2:48:00 PM

The intent of creating EGC was to provide a clear, cost-effective framework for all affordable housing development types anywhere in the country. An organization called Enterprise Community Partners (www.enterprisecommunity.com) headed up the effort, with a team comprised of many different stakeholders within the sustainable community. Some of the program criteria were actually based on portions of LEED for Neighborhood Development, LEED for Homes and Energy Star. The development types that could be considered include new construction and rehabilitation of multi-family projects, as well as single-family homes.

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