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Originally published in Interiors & Sources

10/24/2013

New Energy Code Expected to Bring Big Savings

 
New energy code from the IECC includes updates to existing building codes.

Better Controls for Lighting and Daylighting

NBI assisted in the development of measures that will increase the mandatory installation of occupancy sensors and daylighting controls to many new types of spaces in areas not covered by the 2012 IECC, including warehouses and lounge rooms.

In addition, a provision has been added that details how all of the lighting controls must be commissioned.  Independently, the IALD successfully introduced a measure that will reduce the LPDs for most types of spaces in commercial buildings.

New Technology Applications for HVAC Systems

There was successful adoption of an important code change addressing high economizer failure rates in new commercial rooftop-type air conditioners.  The measure requires that all air-cooled, direct expansion HVAC units (including variable refrigerant flow products) be equipped with a fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) reporting system. This applies to units 4.5 ton or larger with an economizer and says the fault reporting system must be accessible by day-to-day operating personnel or on zone thermostats in the building. The IECC measure was tailored from the California 2013 Title 24 code requirement and reinforces the same minimum system size threshold for the required FDD thereby making it a virtual national standard.

In addition, Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems will be available in the 2015 IECC as a compliance option for the ‘options packages’ for the first time ever in an IECC code.  These efficient systems use a mechanism to condition a space that is independent of the system providing ventilation thereby maximizing the energy efficiency of each.

Close Counts In Horseshoes, But Not Building Codes

NBI was a key sponsor, along with various allies, of three groundbreaking measures throughout the IECC development process.  These measures addressed commissioning of building envelopes, providing for “solar-ready” space set aside in buildings for solar or other renewable energy systems to be installed at a later date, and an “outcome-based” methodology for using energy consumption data to comply with International Code Council’s (ICC) Performance Code.  Each of these three measures received enough votes (a simple majority) to move to a final action vote on code-ready language.  However all three of these proposals fell short of achieving the necessary two-thirds majority for final passage by just ONE vote.


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