Alabama is adopting the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) with specific Alabama amendments. This code will go into effect October 1, 2016. All homes permitted prior to this date will still be subject to the current 2009 IECC requirements.
Building energy codes are important for several of reasons:
- Building energy codes save consumers money. A home that does not meet code standards results in wasted energy and high operating costs. Efficient buildings use less energy and put money back into a building owner’s pocket.
- Building energy codes result in healthier, more comfortable buildings by reducing the amount of outside air that enters the home. This helps occupants breathe healthier air with appropriate levels of humidity. Homes also remain comfortable year-round, resulting in high rates of satisfaction for residents, and often times increased home values.
- Energy codes boost the local economy. Money saved through lower energy bills can be spent on other goods and services in the local economy.
- Energy codes reduce foreign energy consumption. Buildings consume 40 percent of the energy used in the United States. Reducing the amount of energy used by buildings reduces our demand for foreign energy.
Overview of the 2015 IRC
Although r-values in the 2015 code remain largely unchanged, the tightness of the building envelope and ductwork see significant changes.
- The 2015 code reduces air changes from seven (7) air changes per hour to five (5) air changes per hour.
- Ductwork leakage is moving from 12% total leakage to 4% total leakage.
- Achieving this new standard with traditional fiberglass insulation will require greater attention to detail in framing methods, duct sealing methods, air sealing techniques and more.
In addition to the reduced air changes and leakage levels, there is a change in the inspection for air leakage. The visual inspection option for air leakage is no longer valid. With the 2015 codes, all houses will require a blower door test.
Confused about the new codes? Don’t be. We are here to help you navigate the changes and answer any questions. Contact our office with your questions.