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Going Beyond the 2012 IECC

Posted by Mike Collignon

Jun 10, 2014 1:51:31 PM



The City of Boulder made the 2012 family of I-codes effective on January 31, 2014. There were “substantial local amendments” made to the jurisdiction’s energy code, but in contrast to amendments usually enacted, theirs increased the energy requirements of the code.

For commercial buildings, Boulder requires a 30 percent increase in performance over the 2012 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2010. Their residential code calls for an “improvement of 10 HERS points for all three of the Green Building and Green Points (GBGP) tiered energy efficiency requirements.” The city has set a goal of a net-zero residential energy code by 2031, so they are lowering their HERS index levels by 10 points in each code update.

Year to date, the city has hosted five code update workshops, including one on the energy code. Contractors, homeowners and the general public can request such a workshop.

Finally, Boulder is also researching the viability of a commercial green building program for both new and existing buildings. There is no word yet on when the program would be available for public review and comment.

Broomfield adopted the 2012 IECC effective March 15th, though they made a few amendments. All amendments can be can be viewed here: http://tinyurl.com/loj95um.

Mountain Village’s energy code went into effect one month earlier (February 15), and they added some very interesting requirements. Most notable is a HERS rating to obtain both a building permit and a certificate of occupancy. Their criteria reads as follows:

  1. 7,000 sq. ft. or less: HERS rating of 60 or lower.
  2. 7,000 to 13,000 sq. ft.: HERS rating of 55 or lower
  3. 13,000 sq. ft. and larger: HERS rating of 50 or below.

They also have specific language for direct vent furnaces and boilers:

  • Direct Vent Furnace - When the scope of the work of an addition to a dwelling or a remodel of a dwelling requires replacement of a furnace, the furnace shall be replaced with a direct vent unit that has a minimum 92 percent AFUE.
  • Direct Vent Boiler - When the scope of the work of an addition to a dwelling or a remodel of a dwelling requires replacement of a boiler, the boiler shall be a direct vent unit that has a minimum 90 percent AFUE.

The jurisdiction also requires programmable thermostats for forced air central heating and cooling systems, as well as timers, humidistats or motion sensors for bath exhaust fans.

All changes can be viewed by going to section 17.7.12 (page 19) of this document: http://tinyurl.com/kk7hty4

Nationally, Boulder is a leading environmental community, let alone in their own state. Having said that, what they have done with their commercial energy code is amazing. In fact, they might very well have the most stringent code for at least the next four years. The 2015 IECC (residential) remained relatively flat, so a 30 percent increase might not be seen in the model energy code for two or more code cycles.

Mountain Village went where the IECC can’t: specifying an AFUE rating. Their code calls for high-efficiency furnaces/boilers. Their required HERS ratings are a bit less stringent (depending on home size) than what’s coming in the 2015 IECC, but they weren’t adopting the 2015 IECC, either. When it comes time to do so, local builders will have to make a slight adjustment on homes less than 7,000 square feet.



The state Senate introduced two bills at the end of February.

The first, SB 352, would require the state to adopt the 2015 IECC a maximum of 18 months after its published date. Furthermore, the state’s Codes & Standards Committee would be required to annually revise the state’s building code to incorporate any published revisions to the IECC or a recommended HERS index, whichever is more stringent.

The other bill, SB 357, would allow municipalities to adopt high performance building construction standards for new commercial construction or renovations that are projected to cost $2 million or more. It would also require an ERI of 70 or less for new residential construction that exceeds 3,000 sq. ft. For homes less than 3,000 sq. ft. in size, an ERI of 65 or less would be required. Go here to track this swift-moving bill: http://tinyurl.com/kg44w2k

The line for adoption of the 2015 IECC has formally started. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any movement on SB 352 since late February (see: http://tinyurl.com/ltzeok4).

SB 357 could be viewed as a legislated transition, given its ERI component, between Connecticut’s current energy code (2012 IECC) and its next one. However, if SB 357 passes, there would be a short timeframe between its level of efficiency and the 2015 IECC adoption (and its more stringent, yet alternative, ERI compliance path).


City and County of Broomfield Building-Connection Newsletter, January 2014.
Mountain Village Ordinance 2014-01.

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