State of Washington Energy Code for new homes—a brief explanation…

In response to new federal guidelines, the State of Washington adopted the 2012 editions of the International Energy Conservation Code of the State of Washington. The scope of this code applies to residential buildings and the building sites and associated systems and equipment. This code regulates the design and construction of buildings for the effective use and conservation of energy over the useful life of each building.

This code does not apply to existing buildings. Historic buildings may have modications allowed within this code. Additions, alternations, renovations or repairs are subject to this new code. There are exceptions. It is important to know that if you do the work yourself or hire it out that you understand this code. This code can be easily found by googling Washington State Energy Code.

New Construction is based on a point system. A Small dwelling unit (<1500 square feet of conditioned air space and <300 square feet of fenestration area) needs .5 points, a Medium dwelling unit (>1500 and <5000) requires 1.5 points and a Large dwelling (>5000) unit 2.5 points.

Points are based on how efficient the building envelope is designed and built, air leakage control (sealing the home), efficient ventilation, high efficiency HVAC (heating and cooling equipment), and efficient water heating and renewable electric energy systems. It is a very flexible point’s earned system. You can pick what you want to use to get the points required.

Next week I will explain in more detail how these points are earned. What is important to understand is that by the year 2031 the code will require new homes to be built to use 70% less energy than what the current code dictates. The current point system was designed with this end goal in mind. The flexibility of the program allows them to ratchet up the requirements easily.

I also enjoy reading the paper daily. Thank you for doing so.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am. See you next week!