2015 IECC and the 2017 Massachusetts Stretch Code

2015 IECC and the 2017 Massachusetts Stretch Code

The MA 2015 IECC is very similar to the current 2012 IECC. Blower door and duct leakage testing thresholds remain the same, prescriptive R-values are the same, continuous ventilation and high efficacy lighting are still required. If you have successfully built to the 2012 IECC, you are in good shape.

The new Stretch Code is a bigger jump that requires a robust HERS 55.

In Process - Arts Trust IR and enclosure design

The Northampton Arts Trust building project is a retrofit of a steel framed building originally built in the 1980s as a drive-through lumber yard. When complete, it will be a lively downtown space for the performance and visual arts. A primary goal of the project is a building with very low energy costs; after a large capital investment, the non-profit requires low operational expenses. Energy modeling is being completed to inform thermal enclosure design and to leverage utility rebates and incentives. 

The images below are from a basic infrared scan completed on Feb. 13, 2014. The insulation approach for the walls, roof, foundation walls, and slab are still being determined. The eQuest model will be completed soon to help assess the performance improvements of several enclosure system options. 

Existing Wall

  • Steel frame with 2x8 stud walls to the interior. Metal cladding is fastened directly to frame, there is no sheathing.  'Bag 'n Sag' vinyl encased fiberglass was the original insulation strategy. Visual inspection shows this to be in decent condition with few rips. Estimate R-value (not accounting for wind-wash loses)  R-2 - R-5
  • Very poor fiberglass batts were installed in the 2x8 stud cavities. IR images mostly convey the performance of this material.  R-2 - R-5 estimate thermal resistance value. 
  • There are significant connections through rim band areas to the basement. There are also major outside connections through exterior wall cladding above the drop-ceiling, the current very poorly defined 'boundary'.  Significant air leakage is compromising existing batt insulation. 

Existing Roof

  • Steel frame with 'bag and sag' was the original insulation strategy.  A drop ceiling was installed, about 4' below roof deck, with 6" fiberglass batts and mechanical equipment and distribution system in the cold attic space.  
  • Roof structure is an original metal (or fiberglass?) roof with a standing seam metal roof later installed. It is assumed there is sheathing and the appropriate membrane materials under the standing seam roof. 

Proposed wall

Remove existing metal panel cladding 4-6" of polyisocyanurate to exterior of existing wall. R-26- R-39

Optional: With frame of building exposed, remove existing fg batt, and 'bag and sag' insulation from exterior and insulate 2x8 framed cavities with mineral wool batts . R-24

Proposed Roof

Remove drop ceiling and remove existing standing seam roof and install 6"- 8" of polyisocyanurate on exterior of existing roof. Install sheathing, continuous WRB, air control membrane, and new standing seam roof.    R-39 - R-52

Optional - remove 'bag and sag' and install 3-4" of closed cell rigid foam to the interior of roof deck.


8 Strategies to Pass the 2012 IECC Code

8 Strategies to Pass the 2012 IECC Code

Builders and designers that specialize in energy efficient buildings will not have a problem with the shift to the 2012 IECC. Yet other builders may have some serious wake-up calls. Fortunately there are some proven strategies that will all but ensure compliance with the 2012 IECC and pending Stretch codes. 

In the spirit of ‘year in review’ countdowns, here are my....

8 strategies to surpass the 2012 IECC residential energy code 

Mass Save DER Guide - opens the market...very specifically

Mass Save DER Guide -  opens the market...very specifically

HIgh R-value mixed assemblies (including hot roofs!) spray foam, are now rebate-able through the Mass Save program-  without fixed prices - meaning the narrow utility perspective of 'cost effective' has moved aside for market realities and a competitive market. This is great news for humankind!

The Data Opportunity for Home Performance

The Data Opportunity for Home Performance

Impacting several buildings a year is great, but using technology to scale residential energy retrofits is what is drastically needed to solve our building energy crisis.  

Since utilities and implementation contractors aren’t exactly on the cutting-edge of innovation to streamline residential energy efficiency projects, why haven’t tech and building savvy start-ups jumped at the glaring opportunity to drive residential EE with data?

When an Energy Audit isn't an Energy Audit.

When an Energy Audit isn't an Energy Audit.

The utility provided assessments and amazing rebates and financing offerings serve many homeowners well. Yet for homeowners wanting to significantly change their homes- address ice damming, solve comfort issues, or achieve 25-50% energy savings- these services are not appropriate. A more detailed assessment approach is needed to identify improvements and communicate to the customer the value of investing in comprehensive solutions.