The meeting dates for the upcoming NH Energy Code Collaborative will be as follows:
- Tuesday February 19th, 1-3pm Note: This is the THIRD Tuesday of the month.
- Tuesday March 26th , 1-3pm
- Tuesday April 16th , 1-3pm 3pm Note: This is the THIRD Tuesday of the month.
- Tuesday May 28th , 1-3pm
- Tuesday June 25th , 1-3pm
We have received confirmation that the Memorial Room at the LGC has been reserved for the remaining 2013 meetings (extending until December). This is a new room that we have not met in yet and will be slightly larger than the room we were in for the January Meeting.
The next meeting of NH Energy Code Collaborative will be held on Tuesday, January 22nd at the Local Government Center. Time: 12 to 2 PM. Agenda forthcoming.
The New Hampshire Energy Code Blog was set up as a part of the New Hampshire Energy Code Challenge in June of 2011. In the past the blog has hosted some posts relating to the Energy Code, The Code Challenge and workshops. The blog is now the perfect place for the New Hampshire Energy Code Collaborative to post information and stay in touch between monthly meetings. The blog will offer a place for Collaborative Members and for anyone following The Collaborative’s efforts to view recent activities, view related documents, and post interesting articles. We hope for the blog to become a centralized location for The Collaborative to share information and advance its message and mission.
For those of you unfamiliar with the New Hampshire Energy Code Collaborative here are the details:
The New Hampshire Energy Code Collaborative is a stakeholder group of diverse professionals and individuals from a broad range of industries including:
- Legislative, Policy, and Regulatory
- Code Officials and Building Inspectors
- Building Professionals, Builders and Contractors
- Architects, Engineers, and Designers
- Real Estate Professionals and Appraisers
- Lenders and Financing Organizations
- Commercial and Industrial Building Owners, Managers, and Operators
- Homeowners, and the General Public
- Equipment Suppliers, Distributors, Manufacturers
- “Hard to Reach” Communities
The Collaborative meets on a monthly basis to discuss, prioritize, and tackle the issues and market barriers critical to overcome in order to achieve the compliance goals set forth in the Mission Statement and the NH Building Energy Code Compliance Roadmap Report.
The New Hampshire Energy Code Collaborative’s Mission Statement is as follows:
“Our Mission is to facilitate compliance with the State’s building energy codes statewide and serve as a reliable and unbiased centralized source of information on building energy codes and code compliance in New Hampshire. We will be successful when building codes are consistently met throughout the state and builders, lenders, appraisers, buyers, and state and local regulators have the knowledge and the tools they need to evaluate and assign value to building energy efficiency. This vision can be achieved through a collaborative effort of identified market actors to better coordinate actions and policies affecting energy code compliance, and to identify and prioritize steps needed to achieve compliance with building energy codes.”
- revised per Collaborative meeting, 9/19/2012
Stay tuned for more great resources and posts from the New Hampshire Energy Code Collaborative!
Question: What’s the deal with duct testing under the IECC 2009 code? How can I make sure I pass the inspection? -Drew, Exeter NH
Many studies have shown that visual inspection of duct seals in residences is not enough. Code now requires a pressure test. Pressure testing ducts as required by the 2009 IECC is far superior to visual inspection and will definitively confirm that duct leakage is kept to a low level. Building Energy Codes Program experts estimate that pressure testing ducts in new residential construction will reduce energy consumption in new homes by up to 10% on average and potentially much more in some homes.
Section 403.2.2 of the 2009 IECC states that the sealing of ducts must be verified by a duct pressure test. This test involves using a fan to force air into the duct system and measuring how much air leaks out through cracks and holes (the registers are taped closed for the test). A duct pressure test is not required if the air handler and all ducts are located inside the building thermal envelope. The requirements for how to seal ducts are given in Section M1601.3 of the International Residential Code, and apply regardless of the location of the ducts.
The code allows considerable flexibility in the required test. It can be conducted by anyone, including the installer or a third party. It can be done either after rough-in of the ducts or at the completion of construction (i.e., after drywall has been installed and finished). There are separate requirements for testing at rough-in, depending on whether the air handler has been installed at the time of the test. The post-construction test can measure either the “total leakage” of the ducts or the “leakage to outdoors” (the fraction of the total that leaks outside the conditioned space).
The allowable leakage rates are expressed in terms of airflow (cubic feet per minute or CFM) per 100 ft² of conditioned floor area, when duct registers or boots are taped/sealed and the duct system is pressurized to 25 Pascals (0.1 inches w.c.). Maximum leakage rates for the various testing options are as follows:
Maximum CFM per 100 ft² @25 Pascals
At rough-in, air handler not installed
At rough-in, air handler installed
Post-construction, leakage to outdoors
Post-construction, total leakage
The drawbacks of rough-in testing include less accuracy as leaks in the boot assembly cannot be fully measured because drywall is not yet installed. Also, it is only possible to measure total leakage whereas leakage specifically to the outdoors can be measured when the house is completed.
Source: “Duct Testing in New Residential Construction – Code Notes”, Building Energy Codes Resource Center, Article 1694, published August 2009. http://resourcecenter.pnl.gov/cocoon/morf/ResourceCenter/article/1694
Some Tips to Ensure Compliance
It is often helpful to imagine that instead of filling the duct system with air, you are filling it with water – and you absolutely don’t want any water to leak out of the system anywhere. Ideally, the same care you would use to seal the ductwork to be water-tight should be used when you are sealing the system to pass an air pressure test.
Some other useful tips:
- Make sure that all supply and return ductwork is tightly sealed with mastic or foil tape, not duct tape. This includes all the seams and anywhere a connection is made.
- Make sure the seams around the air handler unit itself are sealed tightly with foil tape. Also, ensure that the filter slot is gasketed and seals tightly upon closure.
- Use dedicated ductwork for all supply and return lines; i.e. do not use building frame such as wall-stud cavities or floor joist cavities as ductwork.
- Seal all duct boots that penetrate the sub floor to the sub floor with mastic or foil tape.
- If flex-duct is used, ensure that it is not kinked or compressed.
For information on efficient duct systems see the ENERGY STAR® write up: www.energystar.gov/ia/new_homes/features/DuctSystems_062906.pdf
For more information on energy efficiency programs in New Hampshire: http://www.nheconomy.com/business-services/energy-efficiency-programs.aspx
Have a question about the NH Energy Code? We at the NH Energy Code Challenge would like to introduce our new “Ask the Expert” column, which will be featured periodically here on the blog.
Write in to us with your questions about the code – the requirements, code compliant building techniques, new products and anything else that you’ve wondered about but never asked. Bruce Bennett, presenter at our live NH Energy Code workshops and energy efficiency pro, will lend his expert insights into your biggest code issues and questions.
About the Expert
Bruce Bennett is a Project Manager with GDS Associates and specializes in the energy efficiency of residential buildings. Bruce is a RESNET-accredited and certified home energy rating provider (HERS) under the Mortgage Industry National Home Energy Rating Standards. Bruce has conducted hundreds of home energy ratings for candidate-homes for the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Homes labeling program, the tax credits through Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005) and for energy efficient mortgages.
As a project manager, Bruce oversees a staff of 7 residential energy efficiency specialists and home energy raters. Bruce’s team currently supports the implementation of various utility-sponsored residential energy efficiency programs which includes Public Service of New Hampshire, Unitil Corporation, NH Electric Cooperative, National Grid, NSTAR, Northeast Utilities and the Cape Light Compact. Bruce has over seven years of experience working with the REM/Rate software. Prior to the development of the implementation of ENERGY STAR Homes Program and the EPACT 2005, Bruce used the REM/Rate software to model homes for energy consumption and to estimate component-specific energy savings using the software’s energy improvement analysis capabilities.
Bruce joined GDS Associates in December 2000 and is based in the firm’s New Hampshire office. Prior to joining GDS, Bruce served as a Development Officer with New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority where he provided finance underwriting, loan disbursements and construction oversight for the completion of multi-family housing development projects. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Design and a Master of Regional Planning; both from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Did you miss the last NH Energy Code workshop in your area? If so, we have some good news for you! You can find much of the content from recent workshops on our website, www.nhenergycode.com. All PowerPoint presentations and printed workshop packets from both the Commercial and Residential workshops are available here.
We are also pleased to introduce a collection of training videos adapted from the live lectures, posted on this page. Here you can find topic-specific training modules covering energy issues from air sealing to new energy efficient products. Each module is just a few minutes long, so pick a topic (or three) and start learning about the NH Energy Code and energy efficient building practices today! We are continually adding more content to these pages, so check them out often.
As always, if you have any questions or comments please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
After listening to much feedback from past workshop attendees, this October, the NH Energy Code Challenge unveiled its first ever “in-field” energy code training session. This program was specifically designed for a small group of builders and code inspectors to see the code in action in a real residential property under construction.
Thirteen active participants joined our presenters, Jon Osgood of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission and Bruce Bennett of GDS Associates, for a full day of live, hands-on learning. The day began with coffee, donuts, and an abbreviated classroom session which covered foundational topics from energy code history in NH, to how to demonstrate code compliance and basic building science concepts.