Washington residential energy code 2012 overview
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Washington Residential Energy Code 2012: Overview. 17 December 2013 Ben Larson, Ecotope. Code History and Overview. WA Energy Code updated on three year cycle. Previous code was 2009. Current is 2012. Effective 1 July 2013 . http://www.energy.wsu.edu/BuildingEfficiency/EnergyCode.aspx

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Washington Residential Energy Code 2012: Overview

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Washington residential energy code 2012 overview

Washington Residential Energy Code 2012: Overview

17 December 2013

Ben Larson, Ecotope

Code history and overview

Code History and Overview

  • WA Energy Code updated on three year cycle. Previous code was 2009. Current is 2012. Effective 1 July 2013.

    • http://www.energy.wsu.edu/BuildingEfficiency/EnergyCode.aspx

  • Code format changed from WA own to layout of IECC. Most provisions from previous codes retained.

  • Energy codes set the new construction baseline for most efficiency measures

  • Presentation Overview:

    • Code Description and Provisions

    • Compliance Options

    • Energy Use and Savings

    • Setting the baseline for efficiency measures


Climate Zones now follow IECC designation. All counties in WA are 4M or 5 except for four counties in the north east:

Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille are IECC Zone 6

Of those, only Ferry is the PNW Heating Zone 3, the rest are HZ 2

Overall, little change in the base envelope requirements from 2009. Climate zone reassignment may have slightly relaxed the wall insulation requirement for the formerly WA Zone 2 locations


Ducts infiltration lighting

Ducts, Infiltration, Lighting

Additional requirements

Additional Requirements

  • Meet all of the prescriptive requirements and then obtain 1 point in 2009 and 1.5 points in 2012 from the following options:

Which options are selected

Which Options Are Selected?

  • This is a common problem – it exists for the OR code, the previous WA code, and for EnergyStar in the Northwest.

  • There is no certain answer to the question because any answer is a prediction.

  • A possible approach:

    • estimate builder option selection based on cost and current market saturations of heating systems, foundation types, and house sizes

Wa energy code 2012 vs 2009

WA Energy Code 2012 vs 2009

Wa code over the years

WA Code Over the Years

Target:70% reduction in building energy use by 2031 per WA SB 5854

What about conservation measures

What about Conservation Measures?

  • New construction house characteristics (baseline) can now differ between houses

  • Scenario 1a: Ducts inside

    • Baseline house has Options 4 (ducts inside) and 5a (low flow fixtures)

      • A ducts inside efficiency measure has zero savings compared to this baseline

  • Scenario 1b: Ducts inside

    • Baseline house has Options 3b (heat pump upgrade) and 5a (low flow fixtures)

      • Adding ducts inside to this baseline house does produce energy savings

  • Scenario 2: Upgraded Heat Pump to HSPF 9.0

    • Baseline house has Options 3b (heat pump upgrade to HSPF 8.5) and 5a (low flow fixtures)

      • The savings from the measure is the difference between an HSPF 8.5 and 9.0 heat pump

  • Savings from any individual new construction efficiency measure is

    not guaranteed.

What is the best baseline

What is the Best Baseline?

  • For a given measure, the baseline changes and depends on what code path was selected.

    • HSPF 9.0 measure would have an HSPF 8.5 baseline.

    • Ducts inside measure has a ducts inside baseline (mostly)

  • To get reliable savings from measures in WA for new construction, they will need to be bundled and packaged up

Existing measure package examples

Existing Measure Package Examples

  • EnergyStar

  • Montana House

  • BuiltGreen

  • Eco-Rated and High Performance Manufactured Homes

Conclusion and recommendations

Conclusion and Recommendations

  • WA Residential Code improved 9-10% over 2009

  • Individual measures are challenged, including:

    • Heat pump upgrades, interior ducts, efficient DHW tanks, HPWHs, and showerheads

    • These UES measures need to be reexamined under the new baseline

  • Recommend avoiding individual measures in new construction in favor of packages

  • Existing EnergyStar needs revamp for WA

  • Other, additional packages can be created

  • Picking additional items off the options list can also form the basis of a conservation measure (scenario 1b)

Washington residential energy code 2012 overview

Additional Slides Follow

Ben Larson


[email protected]


Washington code options table

Washington Code Options Table

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