Tag Archive: international energy conservation code

  1. Energy Conservation Codes and Roofing: What You Need to Know

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    Most people know the important role that a roof serves to a home or building; it’s so much more than a simple covering. Of course the aesthetic appeal of a good roof adds immeasurable value, but beyond that, a good roof saves energy and money while making a building more efficient.

    What many people might not realize is that the energy efficiency of roofing is mandated by codes that require minimum thermal insulation levels. These codes are related to energy conservation and are increasing regularly. They vary individually by state and region, but follow the guidelines of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which is determined by the U.S. Department of Energy.

    The purpose of increasing them, of course, is for buildings to continue achieving greater levels of energy efficiency, which is beneficial for a number of reasons. The DOE’s goal is a 30% improvement in energy efficiency compared to the previous version.

    The IECC is updated every three years and the current edition in effect for our area is IECC 2012. For the Chicago area, the latest edition increased the R-value requirements—the thermal resistance value of insulation—fromR20 to R25.

    Essentially, this means that existing roofs being renovated, and roofs that are built in new construction, must adhere to the latest R25 requirement. This pertains to all buildings, with the exception of detached one- and two-family dwelling and townhouses.

    While the specific codes that are followed are determined by individual states and cities—with some cities currently on the 2012 edition — it’s important to not only note that you must follow your city’s current requirements (again, R25 for Chicago), but to remember that these codes change regularly and rapidly.

    As each edition aims to improve efficiency over the last, we can safely assume that newer editions will increase the R-value for our city once again. While we don’t yet know what it will be, we do know that it will most likely increase, and it is important for building owners, builders, and maintenance staff to remain aware and current.

    At Knickerbocker Roofing, we are always on top of the latest news, changes, rules, and regulations related to roofing. If you have any questions about the IECC codes—or anything else—feel free to contact us anytime.

  2. Embracing New Standards of Energy Efficiency

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    According to one study, about 48% of all energy produced in the U.S. goes toward heating, cooling, and providing power to buildings. The use of more efficient building materials, adopting sustainable construction practices, and installing more efficient building systems has the potential to significantly reduce energy consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

    Here in Illinois, a new statewide building energy code took effect Jan. 1, and its intent is to save energy through making the building’s “envelope” tighter. The codes come from an organization called the International Code Council, whose International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) spells out the technical requirements for building design and construction.

    The impact of adopting these standards is significant, particularly on new construction. Higher, more stringent standards for greater thermal value insulation will minimize the loss of heated or cooled air, putting less strain on systems to maintain comfortable temperatures. Heating and cooling systems will not have to work as hard, which not only saves energy, but it also reduces utility bills. The changes also call for vapor barriers to encapsulate the entire building to further prevent air leakage as well as moisture ingress.

    How these new energy saving guidelines can apply to retrofit projects still remains a question. Existing buildings, especially older ones, might not have adequate space or framework to accommodate all of these energy efficiency upgrades. As of now, work considered re-roofing or roof recovering is not subject to comply with all of the new provisions, and a timeline for enacting further changes to the code is still under development. Stay tuned to these pages for further updates!