DOE Proposals for the 2018 IECC

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) participates in the public process that produces the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). As a participant, the Department develops proposals to be considered as part of the ICC code development process. Stakeholders are invited to submit comments on the Department's draft proposals, with further instructions provided below. As information is updated continually, interested parties are urged to monitor this website and associated stakeholder updates.

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Position Brief for the 2018 IECC

A significant number of proposals for the 2018 IECC attempt to modify the role of energy efficiency and renewable energy in the Code. DOE has issued a brief describing the Department's position on this topic, and will use the document to guide its participation at the upcoming hearings in Kansas City. Read the brief on the role of efficiency and renewables in the 2018 IECC.

DOE Proposals for the 2018 IECC

The Department develops proposals targeting both the residential and commercial provisions of the IECC:

The tables below include proposals developed by DOE for submission to the 2018 IECC code development process. Draft proposals are provided for the purpose of informing the public of proposals being considered by DOE, and to provide stakeholders the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the Department's proposals. The Department reserves the right to change or add proposals, with updated versions, as well as supporting analysis and other related information, as they become available. All final DOE proposals are published prior to submission to the ICC—official proposals from all parties and hearing outcomes are available at the ICC code development website.

Each DOE proposal and public comment is listed with an ID number, title, corresponding section of the current code (i.e., 2015 IECC), and may include supporting information, such as applicable technical analysis and related resources. The order in which the proposals are presented should not be construed to represent any prioritization of the proposals. Not all proposals require a formal analysis, and in such cases notes may be provided in the analysis column or as part of the respective proposal.

Questions regarding this information, including those related to DOE proposals or how to participate in the process should be addressed to Jeremy Williams, DOE Building Energy Codes Program.

Residential Buildings

Current proposals are available to view and/or download as a complete package or as individual files from the table:

Complete Set of Draft Residential Proposals (updated September 24, 2015)
NOTE: Previous versions of DOE draft proposals are included as archived files in the set.

Complete Set of Final Residential Proposals (updated December 18, 2015)

Complete Set of Final Residential Public Comments (updated July 22, 2016)

DOE Proposals for Residential Buildings

ID#
(ICC)

Name
(Code Section)

Related
Links

Current
Proposal

Supporting
Analysis

Public
Comment

R-1
(RE45)
Wall Framing (R402.2.3) Building America Top Innovations 2013 Profile
Building America, High R-Walls for New Construction Structural Performance
Proposal Discussed in proposal N/A

Require wood-frame walls achieving compliance via the R-value table (Table R402.1.2) to use 24-in o.c. framing if the required insulation level and chosen insulation type would result in 2x6 framing. This proposal encourages one major element of advanced framing, a well-known and proven concept which aims to minimize the thermal bridging of wood framing members in walls. Where 24-in o.c. framing is possible, its initial cost is generally lower than that of standard framing. Where it cannot be used (e.g., for structural reasons), the U-factor table, which is not modified by this proposal, allows flexibility.

R-2
(RE36)
Fenestration U-factor (R402.1) Case studies in the "cold/very cold", "marine" and "mixed humid" climate zone
ENERGYSTAR version 5
Proposal Analysis Public Comment B

Lower the maximum allowable fenestration U-factors in climate zones 3-8 to approximately match older ENERGY STAR requirements that are now shown to be cost effective. There is high market penetration of these low-U windows, and beyond-code programs such as ENERGY STAR continue to incorporate further improvements.

R-3
(RE123)
Heat Recovery Ventilation (R403.6) ENERGYSTAR version 6 Proposal Analysis Public Comment B

Improve mechanical ventilation provisions to include heat recovery ventilation (HRV) or energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems in the coldest climate zones. The IECC and IRC already jointly mandate mechanical ventilation in all new residences. Many builders already employ whole-house ventilation systems; recovering heat from the exhaust streams is an effective energy strategy, especially in cold climates. Analysis demonstrates that heat recovery is a cost-effective strategy in the coldest zones.

R-4
(RE60)
Envelope Air Leakage (R402.4) Case studies in the "cold/very cold" and "marine" climate zones Proposal Discussed in proposal Public Comment B
Public Comment C

Change the designation of envelope air leakage requirements from mandatory to prescriptive. The ability to trade off other building envelope elements against tested air leakage rates will give builders flexibility and/or allow builders to hedge against the potential for failed envelope pressure tests, which occur after construction is complete, by improving other envelope components.

R-5
(RE6)
High-Efficacy Lighting (R202)   Proposal Analysis N/A

Redefine "high-efficacy" to acknowledge the marketplace penetration of LED lamp technologies. The availability of LED lamps is growing rapidly and prices are falling just as quickly. This proposed change attempts to increase the lighting efficiency in homes by encouraging higher efficiency Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps while still permitting many CFL technologies. LEDs have been steadily gaining popularity over the last few years due to their higher efficiencies, better light quality (relative to Compact Fluorescent Lamps), and remarkably long lifetimes compared to traditional CFLs or incandescent lamps.

R-6
(RE190)
HVAC Equipment Efficiency Verification (R303.1)   Proposal Discussed in proposal N/A

Require that relevant information on equipment be provided to the code official. This proposed change will help ensure the code official is able to conduct an effective inspection for code enforcement.

R-7
(RE132)
Correct Ventilation Energy in Performance Path (R305.1)   Proposal Discussed in proposal N/A

Correct an ambiguity in the code that includes ventilation energy in the performance path tradeoffs in one part of the code text but excludes it in another part. This will clarify that energy expended for ventilation is to be included in the overall energy budget for performance-based compliance.

Public Comments on Proposals by Others

RE146 Remove vertical fenestration specification from standard reference design (R405.5.2/N1105.5.2)       Public Comment C
CE134 Part 2 Remove Heat pump supplementary heat control requirements (R403.1.2/N1103.1.2)       Public Comment B

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Commercial Buildings

Current proposals are available to view and/or download as a complete package or as individual files from the table below:

Complete Set of Draft Commercial Proposals (updated December 18, 2015)
NOTE: Previous versions of DOE draft proposals are included as archived files in the set.

Complete Set of Final Commercial Proposals (updated December 18, 2015)

Complete Set of Final Commercial Public Comments (updated July 22, 2016)

DOE Proposals for Commercial Buildings

ID#
(ICC)

Name
(Code Section)

Related
Links

Current
Proposal

Supporting
Analysis

Public
Comment

C-1
(CE105)
Envelope Air Leakage Testing (C402.4) Air barrier testing information
Seattle air barrier requirements
Proposal Analysis Public Comment B
Public Comment C

Building air leakage increases energy use for heating and cooling. Testing can result in significantly reduced building leakage and consequently allow for reduced HVAC equipment sizing, better building pressurization, and energy savings due to reduced heating and cooling of infiltrated outside air. In moist climates, leakage testing can also result in better humidity control.

C-2
(CE95)
Fenestration SHGC (C402.4) USDOE energy performance ratings for windows Proposal Analysis N/A

The solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) for fenestration indicates how much solar gain enters the space. The proposal would reduce SHGC requirements in warmer climate zones, which will result in reduced heat gain and less energy used for space cooling. Peak cooling and cooling equipment sizes may also be reduced.

C-3
(CE142)
Occupant Standby Control for HVAC (C403.2.4.2) Title 24 CASE analysis of HVAC occupancy sensors Proposal Analysis Public Comment B
Public Comment C
Public Comment D

HVAC systems often operate in building zones that are vacant for extended periods of time. Occupant-based controls can use thermostats in conjunction with occupancy sensors that switch systems to standby mode when the space is empty. The proposed requirement is limited to high-occupancy spaces that typically have extended vacant time periods, such as conference rooms and classrooms. Occupancy sensor controls in these spaces will reduce operation of HVAC, saving fan energy, VAV reheat, and heating and cooling of unneeded outside air.

C-4
(CE140)
Excess Ventilation Limitation (C403.2.6) LEED ventilation credit Proposal Discussed in proposal Public Comment B

Limit allowed ventilation air to 135% of IMC required ventilation. Currently there is a minimum ventilation requirement in the IMC, but no maximum ventilation restriction in energy codes. The proposal would retain compatibility with green building programs that call for higher than minimum (130%) ventilation air to maintain indoor air quality. For applications where higher ventilation rates are desired, an exception is provided for systems that include heat recovery. This proposal avoids excess ventilation and saves excess heating and cooling of outside air. Significant energy savings are expected in both warm and cold climates.

C-5
(CE162)
VSD Threshold for Pump Motors (C403.4.3.2.1) CEE VSD Resources Proposal Analysis N/A

Variable speed drives (VSD) or other speed control devices are required for pumps in variable flow systems at various thresholds. For this proposal, the various applications were reviewed and the thresholds for VSD requirement were reduced or adjusted where found to be cost-effective. For heating systems, VSDs were added where found to be cost effective. A VSD saves energy by reducing the motor energy input to provide part load flow when compared to simple throttling with dampers or valves. The cost of VSDs and motors with integral speed control continues to decrease, making them cost-effective for smaller motors.

C-6
(CE185)
Expand use of Occupancy Sensors (C405.2.1) U.S. Department of Interior open office occupancy sensors
Analysis of occupancy in open offices
Proposal Analysis Public Comment B

Occupancy sensors have become mainstream technology, and new systems are now available which are effective in open office areas. The proposal extends their use to open office areas. Greater use of occupancy sensors will reduce lighting use compared to traditional timer control systems, especially during custodial hours.

C-7
(CE187)
Faster Shut Off for Occupancy Sensors (C405.2.1.1) NEMA study of occupancy sensors Proposal Discussed in proposal N/A

There is currently inconsistency about how quickly occupancy sensors should turn off lights. This proposal reduces shut-off delay times from 30 to 20 minutes. A shorter shut-off delay time will result in more time off for lighting with no additional cost.

C-8
(CE208)
Interior Lighting Allowances (C405.4.2.2)   Proposal Analysis N/A

Reduce lighting power in both the Building Area Method and the Space-by-Space Method for applications where new LED fixtures are found to be cost-effective. Lighting Power Allowances are reduced by a building type area weighted average of 12.8% and vary depending on the specific space or building type. More efficient lighting sources can provide the same lighting output with less power input. When LPD is reduced, it results in a proportional lighting energy savings.

C-9a
(CE209)
Retail Display Lighting Allowance (C405.4.2.2.1) Solid State Lighting Factsheet Proposal Discussed in proposal N/A

Reduce the display lighting extra power allowance for specialty sales. This allowance is provided for retail display lighting that has historically been incandescent or ceramic metal halide (CMH). New LED fixtures can provide similar display lighting with lower energy use. Extra allowances for retail areas 1, 2, and 3 are reduced by 40% and retail area 4 (jewelry, crystal and china) is reduced by 25%. LEDs are intrinsically more efficient than the incandescent or CMH lamps that have traditionally been used for display lighting. Reduced display lighting allowances will move many designers to use the more efficient lighting source in these applications. This change will result in significant savings in retail buildings where lighting is a large share of overall energy use.

C-9b
(CE210)
Decorative Lighting Allowance (C405.4.2.2.1) Solid State Lighting Factsheet Proposal Discussed in proposal N/A

Reduce the lighting extra power allowance for decorative lighting. This allowance is provided for specific decorative and art highlight lighting, much of which has historically been incandescent or ceramic metal halide (CMH). New LED fixtures can provide similar display lighting with lower energy use. Extra allowances for general decorative lighting are reduced by 25% and decorative lighting in lobbies and museum exhibition areas is reduced by 10%. LEDs are intrinsically more efficient than the incandescent or CMH lamps that have traditionally been used for much of decorative lighting. Reduced decorative lighting allowances will move many designers to use the more efficient lighting source in these applications. This change will result in savings in areas where decorative lighting is used.

C-10
(CE216)
Exterior Lighting Allowances (C405.5) EERE outdoor area lighting Proposal Analysis N/A

More efficient LED fixtures can be applied to exterior lighting. This proposal reduces exterior lighting allowances by an average of about 4%. More efficient lighting sources can provide the same lighting output with less power input. When LPD is reduced, it results in a proportional lighting energy savings.

C-12
(CE192)
Daylighting Controls (C405.2.3)   Proposal Discussed in proposal Public Comment B

Allows for a reduction in lighting power density to avoid daylight-responsive controls. In a number of cases, faced with the cost of daylighting controls and the challenges associated with commissioning them, lighting designers have found it more cost-effective to use more efficient lamps and luminaires, reduce LPD and achieve similar savings. This proposal allows that option for buildings at or below 30% window-to-wall ratio. This change is expected to be savings neutral to slight savings, but result in more efficient base lighting systems that do not require correct control operation to provide energy savings.

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Timeline & Important Dates

DOE develops proposals as part of its participation in the ICC code development process, and in preparation for the upcoming code development cycle.

  • October 19, 2015: Deadline for submitting comments on DOE draft proposals
  • December 2015: DOE final code change proposals published
  • January 11, 2016: ICC deadline for submission of proposals for the 2018 IECC

More information on the IECC development and public hearing schedule is available on the ICC website.

Background on DOE Proposal Development

The DOE Building Energy Codes Program mission supports the development and implementation of model building energy codes and standards to achieve the maximum practicable and cost-effective improvements in energy efficiency, while providing safe, healthy buildings for occupants. Part of this mission is directed at the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which serves as a model energy code, and is widely adopted by U.S. states and localities. Any interested party may participate in the IECC development and consensus process, as administered by the International Code Council (ICC).

DOE Participation in the ICC Code Development Process

The Department seeks to advance energy efficiency by cost-effectively strengthening the code and clarifying provisions to be more easily understood, implemented and enforced. DOE is directed to participate in the development of model building energy codes, such as the IECC, for residential and commercial buildings, and participates in the ICC development process by (42 USC 6836):

  • Conducting technical analysis to identify concepts for consideration;
  • Developing and submitting proposals based on concepts deemed credible and cost-effective; and
  • Supporting proposals through the ICC process.

A notice is published in the Federal Register outlining DOE participation in the ICC code development process. Interested stakeholders may also choose to receive updates on the Department's code development activities.

Public Participation in the Development of DOE Proposals for the IECC

The public has several opportunities to provide DOE with input:

  1. Comments on posted proposals; and
  2. Participation in stakeholder engagement events.

The Department publishes its proposals and supporting information as it becomes available. As information is updated continually, interested parties are urged to monitor the DOE webpage and stakeholder mailing lists. Note that the Department does not provide responses to individual public comments, but considers all information received, and incorporates all appropriate information into updated versions of its proposals. Additional instructions are provided regarding submitting comments on DOE proposals, including associated comment deadlines.

Submitting Comments on DOE Proposals

Comments on DOE proposals for the 2018 IECC are subject to the associated deadlines referenced above and may be submitted by email or public docket. In addition to providing feedback on DOE draft proposals, stakeholders are encouraged to participate directly in the ICC code development process.

All submissions received must include the agency name (U.S. DOE), docket ID number (EERE-2015-BT-BC-0002), and any/all applicable DOE proposal ID numbers (see tables below) in the subject line of the message.

NOTE: The opportunity to comment on DOE draft proposals for the 2018 IECC is now passed—final proposals will be considered further through the ICC code development process.

Past Events

Stakeholder Meeting: Public meeting for interested parties to present their draft proposals for the 2018 IECC:

Date: October 13 – 14, 2015 in Denver, Colorado
Location: Crowne Plaza Denver Downtown: 1450 Glenarm Place, Denver, CO 80202

  • Residential Session: Tuesday, October 13 from 8:30 am – 2:45 pm (MDT)
  • Multi-family Session: Tuesday, October 13 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm (MDT)
  • Commercial Session: Wednesday, October 14 from 8:00 am – 2:00 pm (MDT)

Webinar: Overview of DOE draft proposals for the 2018 IECC:

Date: Thursday, September 24, 2015

Recordings of each session are available by registering at the above links.

Stakeholder Meeting: Public meeting for interested parties to present their initial concepts for the 2018 IECC:
Date: June 15 – 16, 2015 in Denver, Colorado
Location: Crowne Plaza Denver Downtown: 1450 Glenarm Place, Denver, CO 80202

  • Residential Session: Monday, June 15, 2015
  • Commercial Session: Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Webinar: Overview of DOE initial concepts for the 2018 IECC:
Date: Thursday, May 28, 2015

Recordings of each session are available by registering at the above links.

Past DOE Proposals for the IECC

DOE code change proposals for previous editions of the IECC are archived.

For more information on the Department's participation in the development of model building energy codes, visit the DOE Building Energy Codes Program About page.

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