In its efforts to improve building energy efficiency by 30% the following improvements are being proposed in the 2012 IECC.
As with all proposals that involve significant change and numerous stake holders there will be significant push and pull on these issues at both the state and federal levels but these are some of the improvements that are being proposed.
Summarized from the DOE website:
In the Residential side:
- Require pressure testing to make sure homes are properly air sealed. While prior versions of the code have required homes to be sealed, there has never been an enforceable means to verify such sealing.
- Encourage hot-water distribution systems with short runs of small-diameter pipes and require insulation on longer, higher-volume piping. The impact would be significant. Approximately 25-35% of energy use in a home is consumed by heating water; reducing the amount of hot water stranded in pipes after the water-using fixtures or appliances are turned off could reduce the energy costs associated with heating water by up to 10%. And, homeowners will spend a lot less time waiting for hot water to reach faucets and showers.
- Increased R-values in many thermal envelope assemblies, requires more efficient windows and skylights, and reduces allowable duct leakage rates. If the proposed change becomes code, new homeowners stand to enjoy significant reductions in utility bills and noticeably more comfortable and convenient homes.
On the Commercial Side:
- The first key component is a cool roof requirement for buildings in the southern tier of the country. The cool roof concept—which employs materials that are solar-reflective to reduce the need for cooling—is supported at the highest levels of DOE, and shows promise as a significant building energy saver.
- The second component will result in a brand new section in the code, and offers designers and developers a choice of three different paths to increase efficiency:
- Use more efficient HVAC equipment
- Implement a more efficient lighting system
- Use renewable energy.
These choices offer flexibility when considering the building site, construction methods, environmental conditions, and costs while improving the bottom line efficiency of the building
For more information please visit the DOE site: