DOE Requests Feedback on IgCC Code Change Proposals
March 9, 2011

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has submitted several proposed changes to the International Green Construction Code (IgCC)—a number of which relate to the building envelope. The DOE is interested in receiving input on these proposed changes, which will be considered at the International Code Council public hearings taking place May 16-22, 2010 in Dallas.

One such DOE proposal related to air leakage may be of interest to those in the building envelope industry, including those working with and installing products such as doors, windows and skylights. The proposal would delete several sections of the code (606.1.2, 606.1.2.1, 606.1.2.1.1, 606.1.2.2, 606.1.2.3, 606.1.2.4 and 606.1.2.5) and would modify 606.1.2 to require the building thermal envelope to have an air leakage rate not exceeding 0.25 cfm/ft² (4.57 m³/hr/m²) when tested at a pressure of .30 in w.c.

In its reasoning, the DOE notes that several of the sections repeat what is already covered in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and do “not provide any additional or more rigorous provisions than those in the IECC.” Likewise, DOE notes that other sections simply reference the IECC, while others are already addressed by other ICC codes, such as the International Building Code.

The DOE adds, “Section 606.1.2.2 does require something not in the IECC and would go to ensuring a specific air leakage rate for the building. Such testing also eliminates the need to prescribe what to caulk or seal and how to install an air barrier. As a performance criterion it eliminates the need for such prescriptions, as does the requirement to meet the IECC …”

The DOE will host a public meeting on April 14, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Holiday Inn at 550 C Street SW in Washington, D.C., to discuss its proposed code changes, as well as all other changes proposed to Chapter 6 (energy) of the IgCC.

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