Renewable Energy Systems Discussed During IgCC Hearings Today
May 19, 2011

The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) hearings continued today in Dallas. On the schedule today, several proposals were covered that involved the use of renewable energy systems.

Thomas Phillips of Target Corporation had proposed GEW244-11, which was disapproved. The proposal related to 611.1 on renewable energy systems requirements and would have added “alternative renewable energy systems” as a fourth section criteria (611.5), in addition to the already included section 611.2 for solar photovoltaic systems, section 611.3 for wind systems and section 611.4 for solar water heating systems.

According to the proposal, Alternative renewable energy systems shall be designed, constructed and sized to provide not less than 2 percent of the total estimated annual electric energy consumption of the building, or collective buildings on the building site in accordance with Section 611.1.1 or 611.1.2.”

His proposal would have also added an additional exception to the requirements for applications “where the building’s energy consumption is reduced by 4 percent beyond the adopted energy code of the jurisdiction as determined by the registered design professional.”

In his reasoning, Phillips said, “exception four is proposed to recognize that small scale solar arrays, turbines or alternative renewable systems may not be economical to install or maintain, and may not be appropriate for many buildings, particularly in urban areas where shading or wind speed is limited, and alternative renewable methods are nearly impossible to install. Providing this exception allows another compliance path which decreases overall carbon footprint more than the addition of a renewable on site, similar to Exception two.”

Exception two for renewable energy systems allows for instances “where not less than 4 percent of the total annual building energy consumption from renewable generation takes the form of a ten-year commitment to renewable energy credit ownership, confirmed by the code official.”

Also heard today GEW249-11, proposed by Robert Dewey, representing U.S. Department of Energy called for revising section 611.2 on solar photovoltaic systems so the systems would be designed, constructed and sized to provide not less than 5 percent, an increase from 2 percent, of the total estimated annual electric energy consumption of the building, or collective buildings on the building site in accordance with Section 611.1.1 or 611.1.2.

Tom Culp, representing the Glazing Industry Code Committee spoke in opposition.

“Our members make solar photovoltaic systems so you’d think I’d speak in favor, but the 5 percent increase is only on one category and not across the board, and that may likely discourage the use of solar photovoltaic systems,” Culp said.

The code was disapproved by the committee.

The IgCC hearings continue this week. Stay tuned to more updates as they are made available.

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