The International Code Council’s Code Development Final Action Hearings will take place October 24-31 in Charlotte, N.C. Energy codes will play a major part in this set of hearings, and the outcome will result in the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code, which will be published in early 2011.

According to industry consultant Tom Culp, there are about 35 proposals that potentially affect the fenestration industry.

On the low-rise residential side, issues that will be covered include:

• Lower U-factors across the country, but particularly in the south (zones 2-3), which could exclude metal-framed windows, as well as a proposal to remove the current allowance for hurricane impact-resistant windows;

• Proposals to lower the SHGC in zones 1-4;

• Proposals to have higher SHGC limits for skylights to preserve daylighting potential;

• Proposals to restore the ability to take credit for installing high-efficiency HVAC equipment, which increases the flexibility for trade-offs in other envelope components (including doors and windows); and

• Proposals to limit the glazing area in homes when using the prescriptive path.

In addition, Julie Ruth, representing the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, will attend the Charlotte code hearings to offer AAMA member input.  Ruth says a few new twists on the original code change proposals have been provided by the Public Comments. EC180, as originally submitted, for example, would establish a minimum VT/SHGC ratio of 1.5 for all glazed fenestration. AAMA opposed the original proposal and it was disapproved. A Public Comment on EC180, however, will establish a VT/SHGC ratio of 1.1 for all glazed fenestration other than skylights. AAMA will support this Public Comment.
AAMA says it will maintain many of its previous positions taken during past code hearings including support of EC70, which will retain skylight slope less than 15 degrees from vertical and support of EC 13, Parts I & II which provide a single prescriptive path of compliance for residential construction in each of the eight U.S. climate zones. AAMA will also support Public Comment 1 to EC165, which permits the window to wall ratio (WWR) to remain at 40 percent and skylight area to increase to 5 percent of the roof area when well placed fenestration is combined with automatic lighting controls to take advantage of natural daylighting of interior spaces.
 On the commercial side, Culp says some of the issues to watch include:

• Proposals that affect the prescriptive glazing area, with possibilities including 30 percent window-to-wall ration (WWR), 40 percent WWR or a compromise that has 30 percent WWR but allows 40 percent WWR when the building includes certain daylighting features;

• Proposals that revise the prescriptive fenestration criteria, including U-factors and solar heat gain coefficients (SHGC). Others include proposals using the values developed by ASHRAE 90.1, as well as proposals that seek to revise the product categories;

• A proposal to add new visible transmittance/SHGC requirements;

• Proposals to revise the air leakage requirements;

• A proposal to clarify that AAMA 507 may be used for code compliance, in addition to NFRC; and

• Proposals to require a minimum amount of skylights in certain building types (e.g. big box retail, warehouses) to ensure daylighting energy savings, similar to a new requirement in ASHRAE 90.1.

Be sure to stay tuned to for code change news and updates throughout the week of the hearings.


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