The state energy codes are reviewed for possible updates every three to five years. The code is adopted by the Department of Safety & Professional Services after a code development and public hearing process. A description of the process within the Department of Safety & Professonal Services follows. The state code provisions are developed within the Office of Codes and Applications, which is part of the Safety and Buildings Division of the Department of Safety & Professional Services. Any modifications to the code (suggested by builders, property owners, material suppliers, architects, engineers, staff, or other state agencies, or required by legislative mandate) are developed in accordance with Chapter 227 of the Wisconsin Statutes.
The Division of Safety and Buildings drafts proposed administrative rules, which are reviewed by an outside committee of industry representatives. The code language is then presented to the Secretary of Safety & Professional Services for approval. Once approved, the proposals are reviewed at public hearings to gather comments. Following any changes after the public hearings, the code is transferred to the two standing legislative committees for approval. If approved, the department may adopt the rules and then determine an effective date, based on printing, distribution, and other schedules. SPS Chapters 363 and 367 requirements may be changed by local governments or agencies by ordinance only if the alternative requirements are as restrictive as those in the referenced code. SPS Chapter 322 requirements must be applied without local modification.
After plan review by the state or a certified municipality, SPS Chapter 363 requirements are enforced in the field by local municipal building inspectors for communities that have local inspections. In communities without a local inspector, the State Department of Safety & Professional Services inspectors are responsible. SPS Chapter 322 requirements are enforced by the local municipal building inspector, assigned agency official as approved by the municipality, or as delegated by the state Dept. of Safety & Professional Services if neither of the previous choices are used. Enforcement is mandatory in all areas of the state. SPS Chapter 367 inspections are conducted by private-sector inspectors who are licensed by the Department of Safety & Professional Services under SPS Chapter 305 requirements. All enforcement is done by Department of Safety & Professional Services certified inspectors and plan examiners.
Compliance is determined through plan review and inspection by local or state building officials for SPS Chapters 322 and 363 requirements. For SPS Chapter 367 requirements, the Department licenses 750 private individuals, under SPS 305, who conduct energy audits when residential rental properties are sold. The energy audits for compliance are commissioned by the owner of the property within one year of transfer. The owner and the Department are given a copy of the compliance certificate.
The first state building code in Wisconsin was established in 1914. All of the referenced codes listed below were adopted in the mid to late 1970s. The state was looking for ways to reduce its dependence on foreign (other states and countries) energy sources. The state was also attempting to reduce the need for future power plant construction by reducing or controlling the amount of electricity used for heating.
The Division of Safety and Buildings was previously associated with the Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations (ILHR). On July 1, 1996, the Division was relocated to the Department of Commerce (COMM). On July 1, 2011, the Division was moved again to the Department of Safety & Professional Services (SPS).
(SPS) Chapter 363, which regulates energy conservation in multi-family residential (other than one- and two-family dwellings) and other commercial buildings, was created in May 1978 and became effective July 1, 1978. SPS Chapter 322, which regulates energy conservation measures in one- and two-family dwellings, was created in May 1978 and became effective December 1, 1978. SPS Chapter 367, which regulates energy conservation measures in existing residential rental properties, was created February 1, 1983, and became effective January 1, 1985.
Among numerous other criteria applicable to building design and construction, the state of Wisconsin enforces the Uniform Dwelling Code, SPS Chapters 320 through 325 (new one- and two-family dwelling units); the 2009 International Code Council (ICC) suites including the International Building Code (IBC), the International Mechanical Code (IMC), the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) and the International Fire Code (IFC) when referenced by the previously listed codes, SPS Chapters 361-365 (all commercial buildings as well as three or more units for residential buildings); the Rental Unit Energy Efficiencies Standards Code, SPS Chapter 367 (existing residential rental properties) and Credentials, and SPS Chapter 305.
On April 1, 1997, updated ILHR Chapter 63 requirements for commercial and multi-family dwellings (other than one- and two-family dwellings) went into effect. These new comprehensive requirements were modeled after ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-1989. The 2000 ICC codes inclusive of the 2000 IECC with Wisconsin amendments were implemented on July 1, 2002 and maintained many of these same requirements.
Changes to the Uniform Dwelling Code, SPS Chapters 320-326, were proposed, and were implemented. As of May 1, 1999, COMM Chapter 22 of the Uniform Dwelling Code met or exceeded the 1995 MEC.
In November, 2007, Wisconsin adopted changes to the Wisconsin Commercial Building and Fire Prevention Codes. The changes went into effect on March 1, 2008. The Commercial Building Code at that time adopted the 2006 editions of the International Building Code, the International Energy Conservation Code, the International Mechanical Code and the International Fuel Gas Code with amendments as addressed in COMM Chapters 60-66. The Fire Prevention Code, adopted the 2006 edition of the National Fire Prevention Code, NFPA 1.
Changes to the Wisconsin Commercial Building and Fire Prevention Codes were next implemented on September 1, 2011. The Commercial Building Code at that time adopted the 2009 editions of the International Building Code, the International Energy Conservation Code, the International Mechanical Code and the International Fuel Gas Code with amendments as addressed in SPS Chapters 360-366. The Fire Prevention Code, adopted the 2009 edition of the National Fire Prevention Code, NFPA 1.
Prior to April 1, 2009, COMM 22 of the state-developed Uniform Dwelling Code (UDC) was applicable to 1 & 2 family dwellings, exceeding 1995 MEC requirements. (REScheck could be used when the code assignment is indicated to be "Wisconsin" in REScheck). Multi-family dwellings had to comply with the 2000 IECC (REScheck may be used when the 2000 IECC code assignment is indicated).
The state of Wisconsin implemented many changes to its Uniform Dwelling Code (UDC) for 1&2-family dwellings. Among them, changes were made to SPS 322 (beginning on page 66/102) of the UDC to incorporate the 2006 IECC with Wisconsin amendments. The changes became effective April 1, 2009. (REScheck could be used when the code assignment is indicated to be "Wisconsin 2009" in REScheck).
On May 6, 2010 Wisconsin announced as one of the states that will participate in BECP's Compliance Evaluation Pilot Study.
The State of WI, Dept. of Commerce completed committee meetings on the proposed 2009 ICC codes with WI amendments. Draft of the code for reference for future public hearings was issued. Public hearings held. The Dept. addressed comments taken at the public hearings. The Dept. completed committee meetings on the proposed 2009 ICC codes with WI amendments. The 2009 ICC codes with Wisconsin amendments as contained in SPS chapters 360-366 were implemented on Sept. 1, 2011.
The SPS 320-325 - Uniform Dwelling Code Update - Adoption Order modifies the Uniform Dwelling Code, chapters 320 to 325. The modifications include changes to the current SPS 322, making all of the requirements meet those of the 2009 IECC. Amendments include, but not limited to, the following:
- Insulation and Fenestration and Equivalent U-factor Tables remain unchanged
- Alternative compliance approach for dwellings using lower efficiency appliances, however the minimum thermal envelope prescriptive requirements are the same except for fenestration U-factors for climate zone 6 minimum 0.30 instead of 0.35 and climate zone 7 minimum 0.30 instead of 0.65. This approach does not affect REScheck.
- Default U-factors for fenestration and non-glazed doors amended. Eighteen fenestration assemblies compared to 4 assemblies per 2009 IECC Table 303.1.3(1) and new table for non-glazed doors (WI Tables 322[.36-1 and .36-2]).
- Language in their code states REScheck can be used to the 2009 IECC. "SPS 322.31 Prescriptive Insulation and fenestration criteria (2) Thermal Envelope (b) Software version. If a REScheck software program is used to show compliance with this section, a version approved by the department shall be used. Note: The IECC 2009 version of REScheck meets the thermal envelope requirements of this code."