ASHRAE 90.1-07 and 2009 IECC Pose Most Immediate Concern to Manufacturers

Julie Ruth , American Architectural Manufacturers Association
March 26, 2013

Code development tends to focus on where the codes are going, rather than where they are now. This year, the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code will be determined. Last year, requirements for the 2015 International Building Code were established. Enforcement of these codes, however, is not likely to begin until 2016 or later.

It’s the wise manufacturer that looks down the road at where regulations are going and plans accordingly.

At the same time, in today’s struggling economy, the more immediate concern is what will be required for your products this year, and over the course of the next few years.

This month’s column, therefore, focuses on this more immediate question, particularly with regards to enforcement of the IECC. Consider the following:

  • All 50 U.S. states were provided some level of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Terms for acceptance of these funds included agreement to adopt ASHRAE 90.1-07 for commercial construction, or an equivalent such as the 2009 IECC. States are required to achieve at least 90 percent compliance with these codes by 2017.
  • Although 20 states have still not adopted the 2009 IECC or an equivalent energy code, 30 states have. In fact, in some states, the energy conservation code that has been adopted and enforced is more stringent than the 2009 IECC.
  • Of the 20 states mentioned above, nine sought and received grants through DOE’s Energy Efficiency Construction Block Program. These are also ARRA funds. The grant application required the state to include a plan for achieving 90 percent compliance with ASHRAE 90.1-07 or an equivalent like the 2009 IECC by 2017. These nine states are Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota and Tennessee.
  • Jurisdictions in at least an additional 12 states that have already adopted the 2009 IECC or an equivalent also sought and received grants through DOE’s Energy Efficiency Construction Block Program. Two of these states—Illinois and Washington—have adopted the 2012 IECC. The other 10 states (Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, New Hampshire, Nevada, Texas and Virginia) are enforcing the 2009 IECC. Program implementation to achieve the 90 percent compliance level required has begun in many of these states.

The net result is that 21 U.S. states have now committed to achieving 90 percent compliance with ASHRAE 90.1-07—or an equivalent like the 2009 IECC—by 2017. Only 11 U.S. states have not yet adopted the 2009 IECC, ASHRAE 90.1-07 or a more stringent energy conservation code.

Demonstrating Compliance

In 2010, the DOE created a new Office of Enforcement in the Office of the General Counsel, which leads the department’s efforts to ensure that manufacturers deliver products that meet the energy and water conservation standards DOE supports. It is anticipated that this office will also be responsible for enforcement of the commitments made by the states and local jurisdictions that accepted Energy Efficiency Construction Block Program grants. This includes those states and local jurisdictions that committed to achieving 90 percent energy conservation code compliance by 2017.

Although each state was asked to outline a plan for demonstrating 90 percent compliance, DOE has provided materials to facilitate these programs. These materials include an acceptable methodology for demonstrating compliance through sampling, which can be obtained on the following website:

This particular methodology recommends separate sampling for four different types of building projects:

  • commercial new construction
  • residential new construction
  • commercial renovations
  • residential renovations.

States can focus on one of these types of building projects each year rather than attempt an evaluation of all four during a single year. If, during any particular year, a valid sampling of one of the four types provides a resulting compliance score of 90 percent or better, compliance for that particular type of building project is considered to have been achieved. Hence, that state could then focus on achieving the 90 percent compliance score for the other three building categories.

It can be anticipated that some of the states mentioned above will focus on achieving 90 percent compliance for commercial new construction in 2013, while others will focus on achieving 90 percent compliance for new residential construction, commercial renovations or residential renovations. Some states might choose to focus on more than one type of building project in 2013, or possibly even all four.

It is not clear if the states will make building owners and contractors aware of which type of building project they are focusing on, prior to the beginning of sampling inspections. What is clear is that the DOE is pretty serious about seeing enforcement of ASHRAE 90.1-07, or an equivalent like the 2009 IECC, take place across the country. And it has put mechanisms into place to strongly encourage not just adoption, but enforcement as well.

Although the ARRA calls for the adoption of the most recent version of the IECC and ASHRAE 90.1, the National Association of Home Builders has sought, and received, confirmation that the edition of the IECC and ASHRAE 90.1 that a jurisdiction adopted under the ARRA is the edition with which they must demonstrate 90 percent compliance.

Combining this information yields the following:

From 2013 to 2016, for vertical glazing in commercial buildings, we can expect to see maximum U-factors that do not exceed the values shown in Figure 1 and maximum SHGC that does not exceed the values shown in Figure 2 being enforced on at least some projects, in all states except Wyoming, South Dakota and Maine. U-factor is to be determined in accordance with NFRC 100 and SHGC in accordance with NFRC 200. Both U-factor and SHGC are to be determined by an accredited, independent laboratory. The fenestration product is to be labeled and certified for these values by the product manufacturer.

Figure 1Air leakage shall not exceed 0.3 cfm for windows, sliding doors and skylights or 0.5 cfm for swinging doors when tested in accordance with AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 or NFRC 400 by an accredited, independent laboratory, and listed and labeled by the manufacturer in all U.S. states except Illinois, Washington, Maryland, California, Wyoming, South Dakota and Maine. In Illinois, Washington, Maryland and California, air leakage shall not exceed 0.2 cfm for windows, sliding and swinging doors, and skylights without weepage openings, and 0.06 for curtain wall and storefront when tested at 1.57 PSF.

Figure 2Although area weighted averaging of the U-factor of fenestration is permitted, it is limited to products in the same product category. Therefore, for example, the U-factor of operable windows cannot be area weighted averaged with fixed windows on the same project.

Julie Ruth is a code consultant for AAMA. Contact her through AAMA at 847/303-5664 or at Ruth is also owner of JRuth Code Consulting.