ReVireo

New Jersey Energy Code Change

New Jersey has officially adopted the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Call ReVireo today at (888)-568-5459 to discuss the 2018 IECC in detail, and how it will affect your projects. The ReVireo team is dedicated to assisting all New Jersey design, development and construction professionals in the effort to reduce the cost, difficulty, and risk involved with energy code compliance! We are currently in the 6-month grace period, which ends on March 3rd, 2020. Starting March 3rd, 2020, all new construction projects in New Jersey will be required to permit under the 2018 IECC.

The transition from 2015 IECC to the 2018 IECC is incremental when compared to the transition from 2009 IECC to 2015 IECC that occurred in 2016. However, it is still very important to be prepared to avoid delays in permitting and COs.

Below is an overview of the major changes for both residential construction projects (one- and two-family dwellings, townhouses and multi-family buildings 3 stories or less) and commercial construction projects (any buildings not defined above as residential, including multi-family buildings 4 stories or more). Reach out to ReVireo today to discuss the impacts to your projects and get ahead of the changes!

Residential Energy Code Changes

Residential Energy Code Changes:

The following are key changes that design, development and construction professionals of residential construction projects (one- and two-family dwellings, townhouses and multi-family buildings 3 stories or less) will need to plan for in the energy code change from 2015 to 2018 IECC.

Window U-Values:

The reference window U-values have been lowered (made more efficient) for all permit pathways. The new required baseline for window U-values changed to 0.32 from 0.35 for Climate Zone 4 and changed to 0.30 from 0.32 for Climate Zone 5.

Mechanical Ventilation Efficiency:

There are new minimum fan efficiency requirements for ERVs and HRVs, which must now have an efficacy of 1.2CFM per watt. The 2015 IECC had added fan efficiency requirements but did not include ERVs or HRVs. The 2018 IECC intentionally specifies the efficiency requirements for ERVs and HRVs.

Lighting:

The required minimum percentage of high efficacy lamps (light bulbs) has increased to 90% from 75%.

Energy Rating Index (ERI) Pathway:

The target ERI to permit homes under the ERI Pathway (based on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index score) was changed to make it easier to permit homes under this pathway.

Commercial Energy Code Changes

Commercial Energy Code Changes:

New Jersey amended the 2018 IECC so that the referenced ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2016 replaces the formerly referenced ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013.

The following are key changes that design, development and construction professionals of commercial construction projects (any buildings not defined above as residential, including multi-family buildings 4 stories or more) will need to plan for in the energy code change from 2015 to 2018 IECC.

New Compliance Pathway – Performance Rating Method:

ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2016 offers a new compliance pathway at permit stage called the Performance Rating Method. This compliance pathway uses Appendix G energy modeling, which was previously only used for above-code programs such as ENERGY STAR and LEED. This pathway will be useful for projects that are pursuing an above-code program and can now use their energy model to demonstrate compliance, as opposed to additionally completing a COMcheck or an Energy Cost Budget energy model.

Building Envelope - Air Tightness:

There are new inspections required for building air tightness that specifically requires project teams to develop an air barrier design and installation verification program that includes a design review to confirm compliance with air barrier requirements and periodic field inspections.

Fenestration Performance Increase:

Fenestration performance has been increased in both NJ Climate Zones (CZ4 & CZ5). The increases should not create major challenges for project teams but refer to the table below for a breakdown of U-value requirement changes:

chart

Lighting Power Densities:

The requirements for Lighting Power Densities have become more stringent. This means that buildings are required to lower the installed lighting wattage per square foot. These requirements follow the wide-spread adoption of more efficient LED lights, though you will find that you can often still comply with the requirements using linear fluorescents and compact fluorescent fixtures.

Mechanical Systems:

There are several mechanical changes according to different building system types. Generally, these changes affect controls and/or monitoring of mechanical systems. HVAC system efficiency requirement increases are generally modest and in line with products currently available on the market.

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has also announced, in response to comments they received, its future intention to amend the NJ Uniform Construction Code (UCC) energy code to adopt the unamended air sealing requirements of the 2018 IECC for residential construction projects (one- and two-family dwellings, townhouses and multi-family buildings 3 stories or less). Currently a draft of the proposal for the adoption of these requirements is circulating within NJ DCA. It is unknown when this will be approved and implemented. But when that does happen, a visual assessment of air sealing (which the current NJ UCC energy code allows), will no longer be acceptable. Instead, a blower door test will be required for all residential construction projects (one- and two-family dwellings, townhouses and multi-family buildings 3 stories or less). ReVireo will keep the industry informed of new updates about the timeline for this change. In the meantime, it is wise for New Jersey builders to begin planning how to pass blower door tests.

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