Happy 2020 and welcome into a brand-new decade. As we move into the new year, there are many exciting things from last quarter to look back on. Here are a few highlights, and you can learn more in this issue of the newsletter. As always, please feel free to contact us with questions, concerns and suggestions to improve our newsletter.
• The International Code Council finished the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) development with substantial energy-saving improvements in the 2021 version of code, the model energy code for the U.S. The new residential code will include a new flexible savings mechanism, similar to the energy credit point system that has been implemented in Washington residential codes for years. The Code officials also adopted a number of improvements to the commercial code including requirements for improved building insulation, greater use of smart energy management and control systems, and electric vehicle charger requirements similar to the residential code.
• Washington State Building Code Council has approved new energy codes, leading strong energy code efficiency in the country. Oregon’s new commercial energy code took effect on October 1, 2019, marking Oregon as one of first states to adopt ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2016. Idaho and Montana are in process to review and adopt 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) with amendments.
• Washington State Commercial Code Online Compliance Portal was fully launched. A link to the online compliance website is here. As of the end of Q4, there were over 1,950 registered users for this new tool.
• Variable Refrigerant Flow Multi-Split Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps (VRF) test procedure and energy conservation standard was negotiated as part of DOE’s rulemaking process in 2018 and 2019. After two years, the working group, including NEEA staff, reached a consensus and published a final term sheet in early November. The VRF test procedure was modified to better represent actual field energy use. Department of Energy (DOE) is expected to publish the proposed test procedure and energy conservation standard in 2020 before establishing a final rule on both, with an effective date of January 1, 2024.
Bing Liu, P.E.
Sr. Manager, Codes, Standards and New Construction