Volume 49, Issue 6 - June 2014


Code Hearings Cover Hot Topics in IG Code Development

Life Cycle Assessments (LCA), Environmental Product Declarations (EPD), daylighting and various other fenestration-related topics were all discussed during the International Code Council (ICC) hearings of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). The hearings were held April 27-May 4 in Memphis and will result in the 2015 International Codes. Here’s a look at some of the proposals included during this cycle as well as their disposition.

Mike Fischer with the Kellen Company, representing the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry, proposed GG87, which concerned a change to section 303.1, Whole Building Life Cycle Assessments. His proposal would revise the phrase “building operational energy shall be included,” to say “The life cycle assessment shall include all regulated loads throughout the building operations life cycle stage. Building energy performance shall be determined in accordance with Appendix G of ASHRAE 90.1. Primary energy use savings and emissions avoidance for the project and reference designs shall be determined in accordance with ASHRAE 105.”

In his reasoning, he noted “IgCC contains reference for building energy use and primary energy use savings without clear direction on how to determine the project versus reference designs. By linking the required valuation to the appropriate ASHRAE standards the IgCC will be able to provide a clear and consistent path to a proper evaluation of energy performance …”

EPDs, which have seen a lot of discussion of late within the architectural glass industry, were also on the code hearings agenda. Included in those discussions was proposal GG194, which adds “Environmental Product Declaration” as a definition in section 202. The definition lists it as “A document that shows a product’s potential environmental impact by providing quantified data.”

According to the proposal, “Environmental Product Declarations are an internationally recognized tool for disclosing the potential environmental impacts of products. When properly implemented they become essential to the true effectiveness of many provisions in the IgCC. The goal of this proposed change is to encourage the use of EPDs ...”

The proposal was approved as submitted, however a floor motion to disapprove followed.

Another proposal relating to EPDs that was discussed and ultimately disapproved was GG192, which would have put EPDs into the code as the only means of compliance, removing the other material options.

The code hearings also covered issues related to daylighting. Two proposals were approved as submitted, GG260 and GG262. Their goal was to update the IgCC to be consistent with the revised 2015 IECC. GG260, section 808.2, was proposed by Thomas Culp, representing Birch Point Consulting LLC. This proposal updates and clarifies the A-3 and B spaces required to have daylighting. The 2015 IECC requires toplighting in convention centers, and the 2012 IgCC already requires daylighting in exhibition halls. This proposal makes the codes consistent by adding convention centers to the list of A-3 spaces where daylighting is required, said Culp.

GG262-14, section 808.2, was proposed by Julie Ruth, JRuth Code Consulting, representing the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, and Culp, and was also approved. This proposal reduces the threshold size at which Occupancy Group M (retail) spaces are required to have mandatory daylighting from 10,000 square feet to 2,500 square feet. The current threshold of 10,000 square feet was based upon the provisions of the 2012 IECC. This threshold size was reduced to 2,500 square feet in the 2015 IECC. Energy modeling has shown that significant reduction in lighting load can be achieved for open spaces that are much smaller than the 10,000 square feet originally addressed in both the IECC and IgCC.

GG265-14 was proposed by Helen Sanders, representing Sage Electrochromics Inc., and was ultimately disapproved. Her proposal to Section 808.3.1.1 was written to “add consideration of glare control to the prescriptive daylighting requirements of the IgCC. She proposed that, “Vertical fenestration shall be provided with an automatically controlled method for managing glare. Such methods include automatically controlled shading devices or dynamic glazing capable of modulating in multiple steps the amount of light transmitted into the space in response to daylight levels. Control systems shall contain a manual override that shall reset to automatic control after not more than four hours.”

According to the proposal, the change would have “increased the cost of construction when using the prescriptive daylighting path compared to the 2012 IgCC as it now requires glare control to be addressed,” and as a representative from BOMA International said, “The costs of installing these automatic devices are rather large.”

Measures to reduce waste were debated during the hearings, as well. GG206-14, section 505.2.3, recyclable building materials and building components, proposed by Jason Thompson, who represents the National Concrete Masonry Association, was approved unanimously. The proposal states that building materials and building components that can be recycled into the same material or another material with a minimum recovery rate of not less than 30 percent through recycling and reprocessing or reuse, or building materials shall be recyclable through an established, nationally available closed loop manufacturer’s take-back.

The proposal also stated that many materials are sourced, manufactured and used locally without any form of a national distribution network. Requiring a nationally available take-back program for these materials is impractical and counterproductive to the sustainable objectives of the IgCC.

Public Comment Hearings are now scheduled to take place October 2-10 in Atlantic City, N.J.

Mississippi’s Building Code Takes Effect This Summer
Come August, a new set of building codes will be put in effect in Mississippi, as Governor Phil Bryant signed legislation in March implementing a statewide building code, for the first time. The law calls for counties and municipalities to adopt one of the last three versions of the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) in their respective jurisdictions. Both codes, as put forth by the International Code Council, have been adopted by most states throughout the U.S.

However, Mississippi’s new law gives the board of supervisors of a given county and/or the governing authorities of any municipality 120 days to opt out of the code requirements, as Mississippi is among the 10 states, according to the ICC’s website, to have implemented only a limited version of IBC or IRC statewide requirements.

“It’s a step in right direction . . . But the opt-out provision is problematic with this legislation,” says Dr. Tim Reinhold, senior vice president of research at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.

Since all jurisdictions have until August 1 to opt out of the code requirements, the effectiveness of the law is still some time away from being determined. There’s no way to tell at this point what the actual participation level will be throughout the state. Plus, from August 1 forward, there will be an adjustment period for implementation.

“We want to be supportive, we don’t want to criticize it,” says IBHS manager of codes and standards Si Farvardin. “But we have some questions as to how it’s going to be administered.”

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