As a brief recap: all states must adopt the 2012 IECC and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013 (or better) energy codes no later than February 17th, 2017 & the 2015 code by June 12th of 2017. Many states are electing to skip the 2012 code all together and are pushing for the 2015 version for some very good reasons.
38 states elected to go with a mandatory “state wide” code including Illinois. I got to clear up one common misconception I do hear; that is while a state may not have a state wide code, it does not mean that the state will be out of compliance as most municipalities are adopting the latest codes Shoot just because a state adopts a code does not mean that all municipalities are adopting much less enforcing it – it just means that the builders in that state are liable to follow it no matter what the code official states. Many will contain language such as this from Illinois:
c) A unit of local government that does not regulate energy efficient building standards is not required to adopt, enforce or administer the Code; however, any energy efficient building standards adopted by a unit of local government must comply with the Act. If a unit of local government does not regulate energy efficient building standards, any construction, renovation or addition to buildings or structures is still subject to the provisions contained in the Act. [20 ILCS 3125/20(d)].
R101.1.2 Adoption. The Board shall adopt the code within 12 months after its publication. The code shall take effect within 6 months after it is adopted by the Board and shall apply to any new building or structure in this State for which a building permit application is received by a municipality or county, except as otherwise provided by the EEB Act.
The 2015 IECC was officially published May 30th, 2014 with a public comment period ending December 1st of 2014, which led to a few spirited debates over portions of it, like the ERI path (which was finally approved) back in March / April. After some give & take, the final version was approved in May and we started in on the “6 month grace period” before it is officially “adopted” (***November 30, 2015) per the EEB act. The final approved version
*** Due to JCAR issues (see below) the official start date will be January, 1st 2016
The Grace Period:
The grace period is not a time of calm as there are still hurdles that must be overcome during this time. It must first be submitted to the Governor’s office for approval & then the rules are filed with the Secretary of States Office. This leads to the JCAR (Joint Committee on Administrative Rules) process which starts with them publishing them for everyone to comment on.
While this all sounds simple, there has been an issue with getting them published – it was hoped that this would originally happen during July but there were issues with their system “accepting” them. This got worked out and they were set to be published August 7th… Unfortunately that did not happen due to a “formatting” issue. So what does this mean? Well the JCAR process can last anywhere from 90 days to 365. Assuming they are published before the end of this month they should go into effect at the end of November. If it takes longer than that or there are major objections, the date could slide. For more on this: JCAR Rulemaking Process
UPDATE: From the CDB
Over the last two months we have been working with JCAR on formatting issues and problems with their database. We finally received confirmation today that our rules will be in the September 11th (pg 7) edition of the Illinois Register. First Notice lasts a minimum of 45 days.
There were some minor changes made to the rules including Appendix A which are the actual amendments to the Code. The changes were not technical in nature but included some grammatical changes and revisions that JCAR strongly encouraged.
Update week of 10/19/15: The official start date for the 2015 provisions is now January 1st, 2016 – the second ppublishing will be happening in the next few weeks
What to do:
If you are a Residential Builder or Remodeler, don’t sweat it – the 2015 Energy code contains very few changes & most that have been made are contractor friendly. Bump up your duct insulation to R8 in the attics and figure out which path you want to use. For most that will be either the Performance or ERI path due to the duct testing and associated cost savings over prescriptive. Illinois is still at 5 ACH, eliminated the “combustion closet”, and still only requires 4′ of basement insulation. I don’t see to many trying to permit houses early this time & we may even see some holding off if possible.
For Commercial Contractors (especially those doing restaurants) – dig out a copy & look at the mechanical & lighting control changes especially. Many have been bumped up and some new items added for walk in coolers & turning over pre commissioning walk notes. Fortunately much of that equipment is readily available and you are probably already using it. The required commissioning may add to some peoples loads but I dare say most have already been doing this for years.