<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=209258409501153&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Code Watch Banner
Sign Up for Regular Code Watcher Articles

Green Builder Media is proud to announce the launch of Code Watcher, a brand-new title that is dedicated to covering information, news, and trends related to residential building codes, ratings, programs, and safety rules.

Do Green Codes and Standards Get in the Way of High-Performance?

Posted by GBM Research

May 15, 2014 1:36:00 PM

What’s The Situation?

High-performance homes sometimes require practices that code officials are unfamiliar with. This lack of familiarity can lead officials to improperly interpret and apply building code to prevent the implementation of high-performance building techniques. Additionally, green codes and standards sometimes encourage practices that aren’t in the best interest of high-performance building techniques.

Building America’s Take:

Building Code Priorities

The following observations were made about energy codes and standards and their relationship to high-performance construction techniques:

Fundamentally, in this order, codes should at least:

  • Not require the wrong thing
  • Not prevent the right thing
  • Discourage the wrong thing
  • Encourage the right thing

Current code is not always the problem. Often, it’s the interpretation and application of code. Better guidance for builders and code officials based on Building America research results may be all that is needed in many cases.

  • Performance, not Mandates. Prescriptive codes target single measures, whereas performance codes take a building-as-a-system scientific approach. The latter approach is essential. Better insulated construction assemblies, for example, have no tolerance for drying. A performance-based code would address this.
  • Retrofit Issues. New construction codes are reasonable. Codes for existing construction are often challenging for both builders and enforcers.
  • Interpretation Issues. Sometimes, code isn’t the issue: it’s the sub-organizations referencing the code and their standards (i.e. BPI, ASHRAE, ANSI, ENERGY STAR, LEED).

Derived from responses by Janet McIlvaine (BA-PIRC), Pat Huelman (NSTAR) and Duncan Prahl (IBACOS) at the 2012 Building America Technical Update Meeting.

Key Concepts

View Archived Impact Series Webinars

© 2016, Green Builder Media. All rights reserved. This article is the exclusive property of Green Builder Media. If you would like to reprint this content, you are free to extract a short excerpt (no more than 1/4th of the total article), as long as you 1. credit the author, and 2. include a live link back to the original post on our site. Please contact a member of our editorial staff if you need more information.

Design With Fire in Mind Download Ebook

Free Ebook: Mastering Building Code Challenges

Code Watcher Click to Learn More

Add a comment...