Q:  How will the new State of Washington Energy Codes affect builders?

A:  The upcoming energy code changes will take effect on July 1st, 2016 and there are three classifications of home sizes being: Small (1,500 sq. ft.), Medium (1,501 – 4999 sq. ft.) and Large (+5,000 sq. ft.).

New home construction using new Washington State Energy Codes in Vancouver WA

We focus our attention on going over and above the standards required for building in the State of Washington.

The code becomes incrementally harder as the size of a house increases. Here is an example: for 2012 the Small category only needed 0.5 points to pass code while now needing 1.5 points in 2015 changes. The Medium sized house only needed 1.5 points while now needing 3.5 points, and finally the Large category needed 2.5 points and will now need 4.5 points.

Roughly 90% of the new homes Quail constructs will be within the Medium category and we will 3.5 points as a baseline for comparison. With this being said, let’s take a look on what portion for home are reciprocals for points.

There are six areas of the homes where you could be given points for.

  • First is the wall constructions, which pertains to window glazing, insulation, and overall wall components. There are also three levels of difficulty ranging from 0.5 points to 2.0 points depending on what you use.
  • Second is the air leakage and ventilation the scale of points ranges from 0.5 to 1.5 depending on how often your house leaks air per hour. (Lower is better)
  • Thirdly is HVAC systems. The rating is between 0.5 – 2.0 this depends on the efficiency of yours and type
  • Fourth is (1 point) for simply having the ducting of your HVAC system in a conditioned space (not in attic or crawlspace) it is easy for two-story homes, not so much for single-story homes.
  • Fifth, includes 0.5 – 1.5 for water heater efficiency.
  • Sixth area includes 0.5 points for renewable electric energy.

In next week’s article we will discuss further into the wall construction on what the code calls for and what will need improvements.

I hope this helps and thank you for reading Ask The Builder and making The Columbian of Vancouver, WA a part of your day.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com. Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800