Volume 43, Issue 2 - February 2008

Energy & Environment

Second Advanced Building Coalition Forum Addresses Energy Concerns

The energy code change proposals submitted during the International Code Council’s (ICC) 2007-2008 energy code cycle were the subject of the Advanced Building Coalition’s (ABC) second open forum, held in Dallas in January. Approximately 50 building code officials and stakeholders were in attendance to hear the proposed changes and to facilitate the search for “common ground” before the ICC committee hearings in February. 

“The objective of the forum was to provide building code officials and stakeholders alike an opportunity to assess which of the many proposed changes can best move the IECC and IRC to a 30-percent level of increased energy stringency in a way that is cost-effective and doesn’t compromise good science,” says Thomas Zaremba of Roetzel and Andress, the designated spokesperson for ABC and forum moderator. “Increased energy efficiencies related to proposed changes affecting ducts; fenestration; lighting; wall, ceiling, floor and basement insulation; and building equipment were among the topics discussed. Attendees agreed that the forum was a success.” 

Ron Majette of the U. S. Department of Energy was joined by a number of building code officials and energy conservation experts, including Todd Taylor of Pacific Northwest National Labs; Craig Conner of Building Quality; Tom Culp of Birch Point Consulting; Chuck Murray of Northwest Energy Conservation Group; Charlie Culp of Energy System Labs at Texas A&M; Charlie Curcija of Carli Inc.; and others. Henry Green, building code official for the State of Michigan and past president of the ICC board of directors, moderated the discussion. ICC will hold its 2008 code development hearings February 17–March 2, 2008, at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, Calif. (See News Now on page 18.) 

The first open forum, held in October in Chicago, asked if a 30-percent improvement in building energy efficiency could be met by 2010. “The goal [of the forum] was to have experts in the field present concepts and ideas as to how can we achieve an additional 30 percent in energy savings over the current code by 2010,” says Zaremba. He adds that this reduction was addressed both for commercial and residential buildings. 

A variety of answers to this question were presented. “There was a belief that 30 percent energy savings could be achieved. The representative from Pacific Northwest National Labs [Todd Taylor] asked some very pointed and difficult questions,” Zaremba says. Green also spoke at the event. “He, as a building code official, indicated that he is convinced that if building codes were properly [executed] and enforced … we could save at least 30 percent more energy,” Zaremba says. 

The forums are relatively new to the industry, as the coalition itself is less than one year old. 

“It occurred to me,” says Zaremba, “that there was a need for a really broad-based group of building component manufacturers to get together and start to work together to develop more efficient and cost-effective building codes or energy codes for construction of both residential and commercial buildings.” -MH 

PPG Sets Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Goals
Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries has set a goal to reduce its total energy intensity by 25 percent from 2006 to 2016 and its total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 10 percent from 2006 to 2011.“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions demonstrates our corporate-wide commitment to improving the global environment and increasing the efficiency of our operations,” says James A. Trainham, PPG vice president of science and technology. “PPG is working to improve its performance in the United States and to extend its goals to all global operations.”

PPG previously committed to reducing its GHG emission intensity from sources in the United States by 18 percent by 2012 from a 2002 baseline. It achieved this mark in 2006, six years earlier than the projected date.

In addition to taking action to reduce emissions, PPG says it continues to improve its energy efficiency. The company has reduced its energy use by just over 1 percent annually for the last five years, saving about $40 million overall, and meeting its new energy savings goal would realize a savings of $15 to $20 million a year at today’s energy prices. 

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