Energy Code Changes– Are You Ready?

Energy  Code Changes– The Inspectors are ready!  Are You?

The new energy code changes are fairly extensive and are sure to catch the unknowing off guard.  We attended several different types of seminars & trainings about the code changes that came in effect on January 1st & I observed how few contractors and superintendents I had seen!  Building officials made the same observation.  Where were the contractors & how are they finding out about the codes?  The building officials have commented that this is not uncommon and it always becomes a problem with the first wave of permit applications and inspections. 

Unfortunately, many of the changes will be very costly to the builders who have not taken the effort  to learn about them.  Inspectors have mentioned that they are only going to show leniency one time only, and after that they will write a correction and let the builder deal with it.  Some corrections could be VERY tough to fix… for an example: will you use 5 advanced framing methods & R-38 ceilings or raised heel trusses & R-49 ceilings?   How about the blower door test?  Fail that & builders will be hard pressed to get the house to pass!

Rough Summary of new WSEC changes

It basically bring the energy codes up to the older 2010 ENERGY STAR levels.

2 methods:

1.      Prescriptive (cookbook or checklist method)

2.      Component Performance (engineered)

Energy Certificate required to be posted near electrical panel

Design conditions specific to locale – systems analysis 16% better than model house

Must meet code plus achieve minimum of 1 extra credit  (gives builders options in order to achieve desired energy efficiency)


·         Duct testing on ducts outside of conditioned space <6% CFA25

·         Whole house leakage test required (blower door) 0.00030 SLA = Advanced air sealing

·         Advanced framing + R-38 ceiling or Std. framing + R-49 ceiling

·         R-10 insulated headers

·         Grade 1 insulation installation. Verticle surfaces enclosed 6 sides

·         13% or less glazing = U – .34 window average 

·         25% or less glazing = U – .32 window average

·         Unlimited glazing = U – .30 average

·         Gasketed recessed light assemblies

·         Programmable thermostat

·         Documented HVAC sizing

·         Ducts cannot displace insulation

·         >50% high efficacy lighting

·         Units under 1500 sf = credit       Units over 5000 sf = penalty


This is only a partial list of the most obvious codes.  Swiftsure Energy can help you to understand the many changes.  We can also do the duct testing, blower door testing and the required Energy Certificate.  

Don’t get caught off guard –   Contact us today! 



About Kent Mitchell

30 years in various construction positions. Currently specializing in residential energy efficiency and green building methods. Also I am a new online business student at BYU-I
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