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www.greenbuildermag.com 08.2012


Building Code State Spotlight:


9. GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA Market Information: The Gainesville multiple listing service (MLS) has added a home’s Home Energy Ratings System (HERS) index score to its report. It is clearly visible amongst traditional characteristics, such as year built, subdivision, lot dimensions, etc. Observation(s): While this is not the fi rst time green features have been added to an MLS, it is another example of a local realtor association leading by example. going against the grain of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In our opinion, it’s just a matter of time before some type of energy rating score becomes common for both new and used homes: It could be a green/energy effi ciency label or a HERS score. That accolade will become a key factor among poten- tial buyers, and homes without it will face a distinct disadvantage in the marketplace.


10. CALIFORNIA (UPDATE) History: The California Energy Commission (CEC) is updating the state building energy code, also known as Title 24. The update is called the “2013 Building Energy Effi ciency Standards,” or BEES. Due to a compromise with the California Building Industry Association (BIA; the state’s HBA), the original update was revised downward slightly. The new energy code is now proposed to be roughly 10% above the 2012 IECC and 25% over the previous 2008 BEES. General Energy Code Information: At the full adoption hearing on May 31, the CEC unanimously passed (4-0) the update to Title 24 and the 2013 BEES. Training & acclimation will occur in 2013, with the standards becoming eff ective on January 1, 2014. Observation(s): This still keeps the state on track to meet its goal of achieving code-mandated zero net energy (ZNE) buildings for residential construction in 2020 and commercial construction in 2030. The topic of cost will remain a part of this discussion for quite


some time, as it should. Therefore, we expect to see more com- promise the next time Title 24 is due for an update, which will be sometime in 2017. GB


ILLINOIS


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Thanks to the Illinois Energy Effi cient Building Act, the state is required to adopt the latest version of the IECC code within a year of its publication. While the expected battle between the home builders and effi ciency advocates ensued, we decided to publish each side’s cost estimates. We also did our own cost analysis to provide a third-party data point.


INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE:


Home Builders Association of Illinois (HBA) The state HBA voiced serious concerns over the move to the 2012 IECC. As usual, their concerns revolved around cost. While the state is claiming the step up from the 2009 IECC to the 2012 IECC will save homeowners 15% on their energy bill, the HBA is citing cost increases ranging from $5,000 to $6,200. Because of that cost increase, the (simple) payback period is extended far beyond what energy effi ciency advocates assert, according to the HBA. In a May article published in Builder Magazine, Bill Ward, the state HBA’s executive vice president, supplied the following cost


estimates for a 2,000 sq. ft. home: ■


■ ■ ■


Increased R-values in attic to R-49 from R-38: Add $1,000


Increased R-values in basement to R-15/19 from R-10/3: Add $1,700


Mandatory Blower-door and Ductblaster tests: Add $1,000


Increased sealing of the house to meet the blower-door test requirement of three air changes per hour: Add $1,000


■ ■ ■


Mandatory duct sealing, even when completely in conditioned space: Add $500


Mandatory ducting and sealing of return air plenums and chases: Add $500


Mandatory HVAC equipment sizing using Manual J: Add $500


The article, which presents only the builder’s side of this debate,


insinuates that the HBA’s cost estimate of $6,200 may be low, because additional code changes that require added insulation to the exterior walls, safety measures for both wood-burning fi replaces and fuel gas ignition systems and more energy-effi cient lighting will all add to the price tag. The HBA also questions the ability to comply with the blower- door test mandate due to a labor shortage of energy raters in the state. They also expressed concern that residential HVAC contractors will not be able to size equipment dictated by Manual J due to a lack of familiarity with that method. Ultimately, the HBA had many of their proposed amendments denied. These amendments included tradeoff s on HVAC equipment, a prescriptive alternative for the blower-door test and an extension of the code review cycle from 3 to 6 years (similar to PA and MI). Ward blamed the state’s political makeup for the denials, saying, “Illinois… is a very ‘blue’ state and sensitive about the environment.” They did have one moment of success; they moved the eff ective date back from July 1, 2012 to January 1, 2013.


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