Monday
Jul302012

Evolve Energy's Local Government Forum

Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

Photos

 

Friday
Apr062012

Chris Mathis Keynote at Best 3 Conference in Atlanta, on solving the next energy crisis

Click here to read an article posted on smartplanet.com,  a CBS website dedicated to distributing information on making our world a better place to live, about the lecture Chris Mathis delivered at the Best 3 Conference in Atlanta.  The lecture titled "Why Buildings Matter: The Necessary Journey from Failure to Delivered Performance Imperatives" addresses our insatiable appetite for energy and two possible solutions...building power plants or fix our buildings.

Thursday
Mar222012

North Carolina 2012 Energy Conservation Code FREE Download

Check out the new 2012 North Carolina Energy Code offered on the ICC website as a free download.  Click here to link to the ICC website!

Monday
Dec192011

Clean Energy in the Mountains

Check out MC2 staff as well as other energy advocates of Western North Carolina speak about we work for a cleaner, more efficienct energy future:

- http://energync.org/blog/ncsea-news/2011/11/15/the-face-of-clean-energy-in-north-carolina/

Monday
Sep052011

Press Release: North Carolina Adopts New Energy Code Effective January 1, 2012

June 24, 2011 

Report

After over two years of effort, numerous setbacks and delays, and the hard work of a vast group of supporters and advocates, North Carolina has a new energy conservation code which will go into effect January 1st , 2012 – less than six months away.  The action to get the code approved by the legislature and governor has been a long and arduous process, but the fruits of that effort are significant for everyone in the building industry and all North Carolinians. 

Residential Energy Efficiency Improvements

The provisions of the 2012 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code (NCECC) will result in improved homes across the state of North Carolina.  Significant improvement was made in the areas of envelope leakage reduction, duct tightness, window performance, wall insulation and lighting efficiency.  Table 1 shows the residential prescriptive values adopted for the 2012 NCECC.

Table 1: Prescriptive Envelope Requirements: Residential

CLIMATE

ZONE

FENES-TRATION

U-FACTOR

SKYLIGHT

U-FACTOR

GLAZED

FENES-TRATION

SHGC

CEILING

R-VALUE

WOOD

FRAME WALL

R-VALUE

MASS

WALL

R-VALUE

FLOOR

R-VALUE

BASEMENT

WALL

R-VALUE

SLAB

R-VALUE

& DEPTH

CRAWL

SPACE

WALL

R-VALUE

3

0.35

0.65

0.30

30

13

5/10

19

10/13

0

5/13

4

0.35

0.60

0.30

38 or 30 cont.

15, 13+2.5

5/10

19

10/13

10

10/13

 

5

0.35

0.60

NR

38 or 30 cont.

19, 13+5, or 15+3

13/17

30

10/13

10

10/13

 

 

One important improvement is a reduction in fenestration solar heat gain coefficient to 0.30 (from 0.40). This 25% improvement prioritizes reductions in solar gain as a necessary tool to help address North Carolina’s growing peak power problem.  These improvements in solar heat gain coefficients cover over 90% of the state defined by climate zones 3 and 4 (Wilmington to Asheville).  The 0.30 SHGC level is consistent with values for southern climates in the 2009 IECC.  A more aggressive 0.25 SHGC is contained in the 2012 IECC and in the HERO alternative. 

Similarly, fenestration U-factors were lowered across the state from 0.40 to 0.35, a welcome improvement in heating season performance especially on the heels of North Carolina’s worst winter on record. 

Another item of note is the required improvement in wall R-values in climate zone 4 (Raleigh to Asheville, as well as St. Louis to Washington D.C.).  This change demonstrates the clear recognition that improving the energy performance of walls is a priority and that continuous insulation is a proven method for achieving these goals.

 As in the IECC, air leakage control in the 2012 NCECC has become a significantly higher priority.  Building envelope air tightness must be demonstrated either through compliance with an air sealing checklist or, alternatively, a blower door test that demonstrates delivered air tightness at less than 5 ACH50.  When the air leakage test option is elected, the resultant value must be displayed on the building certificate along with all other construction attributes required.

Additional residential improvements include:

  • A requirement for a programmable thermostat
  • Heat pump strip heating controls
  • A larger percentage (75%) of energy efficient lighting installed
  • Improved duct tightness and mandatory duct testing. 

 Duct testing has been a requirement in the North Carolina Code for at least one code cycle, and now all HVAC ducts must be tested, demonstrating leakage no greater than 6 CFM per 100 square feet of conditioned floor area. Like building envelope testing, tested duct leakage performance values must be shown on the compliance certificate. 

 Efficiency gains are also delivered through the requirement that at least 75% of the lamps in permanently installed fixtures be high efficiency lamps.

Probably one of the most important, yet unsung, benefits of the 2012 NCECC is the jobs it will create right here in North Carolina.  North Carolina’s manufacturing base includes glass and window companies, a variety of insulation manufacturers and installers, caulk, sealant and spray foam manufacturers, as well as manufacturers of energy efficient lighting.  North Carolina’s new energy code will put North Carolinians to work.

The new energy code also will support the continued growth of North Carolina’s clean energy job sector, by employing the growing number of home energy raters and building diagnosticians across our state from duct testing to envelope testing to building modeling, to determine code compliance – the energy code will create jobs in the service sector as well.

Another important inclusions in the 2012 NCECC is a voluntary appendix that defines a High Efficiency Residential Option (HERO) for those builders and contractors that are seeking to deliver a home that is 30% more energy efficient than North Carolina’s current code.  This 30% HERO alternative offers prescriptive paths that require slightly better insulation, fenestration, air sealing, equipment, and lighting packages to deliver even greater savings. Table 2 shows some of the aspects and typical values in this higher efficiency option.  For example, the window provisions in the HERO option have a lower SHGC, delivering even greater peak power and air conditioning savings.  It is anticipated that this HERO option could be tied to green building programs, tax credits, utility incentives, greater appraisal evaluations, mortgage incentives and other market pull forces for those seeking to build better than the minimum code. 

Table 2: Prescriptive HERO Appendix Values

CLIMATE

ZONE

FENES-TRATION

U-FACTOR

SKYLIGHT

U-FACTOR

GLAZED

FENES-TRATION

SHGC

CEILING

R-VALUE

WOOD

FRAME WALL

R-VALUE

MASS

WALL

R-VALUE

FLOOR

R-VALUE

BASEMENT

WALL

R-VALUE

SLAB

R-VALUE

CRAWL

SPACE

WALL

R-VALUE

3

0.32

0.65

0.25

38

19, 13+5, or 15+3

5/10

19

10/13

5

10/13

4

0.32

0.60

0.25

38

19, 13+5, or 15+3

5/10

19

10/13

10

10/13

 

5

0.32

0.60

(NR)

38

19, 13+5, or 15+3

13/17

30

10/13

10

15/19

 

 

Again, energy efficient windows, improved insulation and other building provisions define the HERO options for beyond-minimum-code performance.

 

Commercial Building Performance

The provisions of the 2012 NCECC that address commercial building energy performance are similarly innovative, delivering improved efficiency and enabling a wide array of design options to achieve the minimum performance requirements. In addition to the mandatory provisions that have long existed in the code, compliance in North Carolina now also requires designers to selection at least one of six additional energy efficiency options for every building.  These include:

  • An option for more efficient mechanical equipment
  • An option for energy efficient lighting
  • An option for energy efficient ventilation systems
  • An option for higher efficiency service water heating systems
  • An option to take credit for onsite supply of renewable energy, and
  • An option on automatic daylighting control systems.

As in the residential section of the code, the commercial provisions prioritize building envelope performance.  The new minimum requirements show improved energy efficiency levels through slightly higher R-values for ceilings, walls, floors and slabs, slightly better window performance with lower U-factors and SHGCs required, increased reliance on energy efficient lighting and other improvements.  These efficiency improvements in the commercial provisions cross all climate zones and all building types covered under the commercial code.

In many cases, these improvements to North Carolina’s energy code for commercial buildings deliver levels of energy efficiency greater than the prescriptive provisions of ASHRAE Standard 90.1, the alternative compliance path included in the code.  Table 3 shows the specific improvements to the commercial opaque envelope provisions in the code for each of North Carolina’s 3 climate zones.

The improved code prioritizes improved insulation, continuous over the building envelope, improved insulation levels for metal buildings, mass walls, metal and wood framed walls, and slab-on-grade floors.

 Table 3: Commercial Opaque Prescriptive Provisions of the NCECC 2012 (partial listing)

Climate Zone 

3

4

5

 

All Other

Group R

All Other

Group R

All Other

Group R

Roofs

Insulation entirely above deck

R - 25 ci

R-25 ci

R - 30 ci

R-30 ci

R - 30 ci

R-30 ci

Attic and other - wood framing

R-38

R-38

R-42

R-42

R-42

R-42

Attic and other - steel framing

R-38

R-38

R-49

R-49

R-49

R-49

Walls, Above Grade

Mass

R-7.6 ci

R-9.5 ci

R-9.5 ci

R-11.4 ci

R-11.4 ci

R-15 ci

Metal framed

R-13 + 7.5 ci

R- 13 +

R-7.5 ci

R-13 + R-10 ci

R-13 +

R-12.5 ci

R-13 +

R-12.5 ci

R- 13 +

R-15 ci

Wood framed and other

R-13 + R-3.8 ci

R-19, R-13+ R-5, or R-15 + R-3

R-13 + R-7.5 ci

R-19, R-13+ R-5, or R-15 +  R-3

R-13 + R-10 ci

R-19, R-13+ R-5, or R-15 + R-3

Walls, Below Grade

Below-grade wallc

R-7.5 ci

R-7.5 ci

R-7.5 ci

R-10 ci

R-7.5 ci

R-10 ci

Floors

Mass

R-12.5 ci

R-12.5  ci

R-14.6 ci

R-16.7  ci

R-14.6 ci

R-16.7  ci

Joist / Framing

R-30e

R-30e

R-38

R-38

R-38

R-38

Slab-on-Grade Floors

Unheated slabs

NR

R-10 for 24 in.

R-15 for 24 in.

R-15 for 24 in.

R-15 for 24 in.

R-20 for 24 in.

 

The commercial provisions of the code also reflect North Carolina’s energy and peak load concerns by dramatically improving the minimum requirements for windows. Table 4 shows the commercial window performance provisions in the 2012 NCECC.

 

Table 4: Commercial Fenestration Provisions of the 2012 NCECC (Partial Listing)

CLIMATE ZONE

3

4

5

Vertical Fenestration (30% maximum of above-grade wall)

Framing materials other than metal with or without metal reinforcement or cladding

   U-Factor

0.32

0.32

0.30

Metal framing with or without thermal break

   Curtain Wall/Storefront U-Factor

0.45

0.45

0.38

   Entrance Door U-Factor

0.77

0.77

0.77

   All Other U-Factor

0.45

0.45

0.45

SHGC-All Frame Types

   SHGC: PF < 0.25

0.25

0.25

0.40

   SHGC: 0.25 ≤ PF < 0.5

0.33

0.33

NR

   SHGC: PF ≥ 0.5

0.40

0.40

NR

Skylights (3% maximum, 5% if using automatic daylighting controls)

   U-Factor

0.60

0.60

0.60

   SHGC

0.35

0.35

0.40

 

Non-metal window U-factors have been lowered to 0.32 in climate zones 3 and 4 (90% of the state) and 0.30 in climate zone 5.  Peak savings are delivered with lower solar heat gain coefficients in each climate zone – 0.25 in climate zones 3 and 4 and 0.40 in climate zone 5.  While there remain some of the material-specific biases in this table, these values will help push other states in the region, as well as the national model code, to continue to address improved window performance.

The commercial code also requires HVAC systems to be properly sized, the systems be appropriately tested and balanced, and system performance specifications be listed on the compliance certificate.  Again, energy efficient lighting, and lighting controls figures prominently in the delivering of the improved levels of energy efficiency in the 2012 NCECC. Maximum lighting power densities have been reduced across the board for all occupancy classes and uses.

 

Conclusions

 The 2012 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code represents the essential starting point toward securing and protecting North Carolina’s energy future.  North Carolina’s buildings are its single largest energy consumer and therefore represent the single largest opportunity for protecting our state against an uncertain energy future.  The new code is a key part of our state’s interest in creating durable “clean energy jobs” and revitalizing our beleaguered manufacturing and construction industries.  January 1, 2012 launches a new day and a new path for North Carolina’s energy future.

 

 

 

R. Christopher Mathis is President of Mathis Consulting Company, a building science and consulting firm headquartered in Asheville, NC.  He is one of the co-principal investigators on the project to deliver a 30% improved energy code for North Carolina.  www.mathisconsulting.com