The 2012 Energy Code and Its Impact on Builders

The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code has been adopted by several states. The new version of the energy code requires more insulation, better windows, tighter ducts and more efficient lighting.

Each revision of the code tends to increase the energy performance requirements. The new version isn’t different either. Builders and remodelers need to keep an eye on the revisions because ensuring compliance with the latest version of the code will help them market their projects better.

Thanks to the internet, today’s homeowner is well-informed of the need to conserve power. They are also aware of the processes and systems that make their home more energy efficient. Consequently, they want to ensure that their contractors use energy efficient designs and materials while building or remodeling their home.

One of the key provisions of the Energy Conservation Code is the emphasis on continuous exterior insulation that will create a better performing envelope around the home.

Another provision is an increase in wall-insulation requirements. Builders in the northern climate zones are required to provide exterior insulation to meet the requirements.

By installing a thick layer of insulation in areas where it is required, homeowners can reduce their heating and cooling requirements. This will result in lower utility bills. Other benefits include less noise penetration. Insulation also prevents or reduces the risk of moisture penetration which may lead to damp patches on the walls. Higher insulation levels make the home less dependent on HVAC equipment.

In order to implement these changes the contractor has to reevaluate their building methods. They will probably also have to change the construction materials they use.

Builders can implement these new requirements in several different ways. Some of them already use materials and technology that are compliant with the revised version of the code.

The new standards also require each home to pass the blower-door test. This is done to determine the airtightness of the home. If you are building a new home, the blower door test should be conducted after the home is insulated but before the drywall is hung.

However, as airtightness increases, the need to facilitate mechanical air exchange also increases. The IECC code does not specify any such requirement, but that is necessary to improve the livability of the home. The 2012 IRC code, however, specifies the need for mechanical ventilation.

States and municipalities may be slow to adopt the code and specify their own requirements to ensure compliance with the new standards. In fact, several states have not yet adopted the 2009 energy code. Now that a revised version has arrived, they are more likely to skip the previous version and upgrade to the latest.

Even so, by mastering the specifics of insulation and the role it plays in energy efficiency, the builder can find the most effective methods and materials to meet the new standards with the least disruption.

Forward thinking builders and remodelers can gain an edge over their competitors by implementing the new codes. This will also help them market their projects more efficiently. By making the appropriate changes early enough, they can ensure that their home is ready when the code will be enacted in the area.

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