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Residential Energy Code Compliance IRC 2000 IECC 2000/ 2001/2003 U.S. Department of Energy Building Energy Codes Program The Family of I-Codes Structure of the IRC Building Envelope IRC Chapter 3 Requirements for Insulation IRC Chapter 4 Foundation waterproofing and dampproofing

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Residential Energy Code Compliance

IRC 2000

IECC 2000/2001/2003

U.S. Department of Energy Building Energy Codes Program


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Structure of the IRC

Building Envelope

  • IRC Chapter 3

    • Requirements for Insulation

  • IRC Chapter 4

    • Foundation waterproofing and dampproofing

    • Foundation drainage

    • Foundation venting

  • IRC Chapter 5

    • Shallow frost foundations

  • IRC Chapter 7

    • Weather resistant coverings for walls

  • IRC Chapter 8

    • Weather resistant coverings for roof assemblies

      Mechanical System

  • IRC Chapter 14

    • Heating and cooling sizing calculations and sizing requirements


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Relationship Between IRC and IECC

  • Chapter 11“Sets forth energy-efficiency related requirements for the design and construction of buildings…..”

  • Section N1102.1 Residential Buildings, Detached One- and Two Family

    • References IECC for buildings > 15% gross wall area

  •  Section N1102.2 Residential Buildings, Townhouses

    • References IECC for buildings > 25% gross wall area

  •  Section N1103 Mechanical System

    • References IECC Section 503.2 for HVAC Efficiency

  •  Section N1104 Water Heating Efficiency

    • References IECC Section 504.2 for water heating efficiency


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Structure of the IECC

  • Chapter 1 Administrative & Enforcement

  • Chapter 2 Definitions

  • Chapter 3 Design Conditions

  • Chapter 4 Residential - Systems Analysis

  • Chapter 5 Residential - Component Performance

  • Chapter 6 Simplified Prescriptive Requirements

  • Chapter 7 ASHRAE 90.1-2001 Energy Code Reference

  • Chapter 8 Design by Acceptable Practice for Commercial Buildings

  • Chapter 9 Referenced Standards




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Presentation Reference

Requirement covered by material is highlighted in red.

Mandatory requirements such as moisture and infiltration control must usually be met regardless of location or design. Specific requirements such as insulation levels are based on the project location (HDD) and window wall ratio.

Code year covered in current presentation.

Mandatory Requirements

2000/ 2001/ 2003IECC


Section 501







Code Section #

Requirements are outlined in Chapter 5 (Section 502.1) of the IECC.

Requirements can be met by the approaches in Chapter 5 or the simplified tables of Chapter 6.

This presentation covers 2000/2001/2003 IECC Residential Requirements –

New 2001/2003 requirements are listed in red.


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Residential Compliance Outline

Current Presentation

  • Overview of Residential Energy Codes

  • Energy Code Compliance Options

  • Energy Code Requirements

    • Mandatory Requirements

    • Specific Requirements

  • Building Science Concepts

  • Systems Design and the Code

  • Compliance Using REScheck (Case Study)

Basic Code Compliance Presentation

Building Science/ Code Compliance Presentation

Case Study Presentation

For additional training materials see


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IECC Code Compliance Options

Prescriptive .

Total Building Trade Off

Energy Analysis

Individual Component Basis


Energy Analysis

Chapter 4

Total Building UA


Not covered in this presentation.

Acceptable Practice


Prescriptive Specification


Simplified Prescriptive

Chapter 6


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Code Compliance Tools


Total Building Trade Off

Energy Analysis

Prescriptive Package Worksheet (manual)

Prescriptive Tables

Trade-off Worksheet (manual)





REScheck Software

(Web-based & Desktop)

REScheck Package Generator


Not covered in this presentation.


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Chapter 4 Residential – Systems Analysis

  • Requires a computer program

  • Chapter 4 spells out additional essential types of input values (not applicable in REScheck), such as:

    • House tightness (measured by test for “Final Rating;” projected for “From Plans Rating”)

    • Window solar accessand orientation evaluated

    • Duct tightness evaluated

    • Water heating (appliance Energy Factor)

    • Thermal mass present


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BECP Code Compliance Tools

Prescriptive Approach

Trade-off Approach

  • Simple, fast and easy

  • Generally most stringent

  • Requires minimum input

  • Based on climate and WWR

  • Uses a prototype building

  • Trade-off between components

  • Provides design flexibility

  • Requires area & U/R-factors

  • Uses UA calculation (REScheck) & regression equations (COMcheck)



  • Prescriptive Tables & Printed Guides

  • REScheck Web Package Generator

  • REScheck desktop software for Windows and Mac with AreaCalc tool

  • REScheck-Web software

Web Based Tools



  • Prescriptive Tables / Printed Guides

  • COMcheck Web Package Generator

  • COMcheck-EZ desktop software for Windows

  • COMcheck-Web software

Web Based Tools


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  • Detached one and two–family dwellings

  • R-2 (A-1) and R-4 (A-2) Residential Buildings containing 3 or more dwelling units where the occupants are permanent in nature and are 3 stories or less in height

  • Additions, including Sunrooms

Section 101


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  • Very low energy use buildings (<3.4 Btu/h-ft2 or 1 watt/ft2)

  • Buildings (or portions of) that are neither heated nor cooled

  • Buildings designated as historic (Section

Section 101.4.1


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Changes to Occupancy

  • Alterations to existing spaces

  • Applies to only portions of the systems being altered

  • Applies if alteration increases energy use

  • Alterations must meet the requirements applying to the altered component

  • New systems in the alterations must comply

Section 101.4.1


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Mixed Use Buildings

  • Minor occupancy

    • <10% of floor area

    • Treat as major occupancy

  • Hotel/motel and commercial occupancies

    • Treat as different commercial occupancies

  • Mixed residential and commercial occupancies

    • Treat the residential occupancy under the applicable residential code

    • Treat the commercial occupancy under the commercial code





Section 101.4.1


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Conditioned space

Building Envelope

  • The intent of the energy code is to regulate the design of the building envelope to enable the effective use of energy.

  • The Building Envelope separates conditioned space from unconditioned space or the outdoors.



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Building Envelope Requirements

1) Mandatory Requirements:

  • Moisture Control

  • Recessed Cans

  • Infiltration Control

  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient

  • 2) Climate Specific Requirements:

    • Foundations

      • Basements

      • Slabs

      • Crawlspaces

    • Above Grade Walls

    • Skylights, Windows, and Doors

    • Roofs

  • Section 502.1


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    Moisture Control

    Why a Vapor Retarder?

    • Vapor travels from high pressure to low pressure. Moisture-laden air is literally "pushed" through penetrations in the building envelope. The moisture could damage the insulation and even the framing members, but a continuous vapor barrier helps prevent this from happening.

    Section 502.1.1


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    Vapor Retarders – Code Requirements

    • Basic Requirements

      • Install on “warm-in-winter side” of insulation

      • Use in unvented framed walls, floors, and ceilings

      • Must have perm rating of ≤ 1.0 per Procedure A of ASTM E 96

    Section 502.1.1


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    Vapor Retarder - Exceptions

    • Exceptions

      • Climate Zones 1 through 7 (IECC Chapter 3)

      • In construction where moisture or its freezing won’t damage materials

      • If other approved means to avoid condensation are provided

    States with no vapor retarder requirements (IECC 2001)

    Section 502.1.1


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    Vapor Retarders - Options

    Kraft-faced Vapor Retarder

    Poly Vapor Retarder

    Section 502.1.1


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    Vapor Retarders - Examples

    Section 502.1.1


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    Recessed Lighting Fixtures

    • Type IC rated, with no penetrations between the inside of the recessed fixture and ceiling cavity (sealed and caulked)

    • Type IC or non-IC rated, installed inside a sealed box of ½" gypsum wallboard or other assembly manufactured for this purpose

    • Type IC rated, in accordance with ASTM E 283 to be an “Air-Tight” enclosure

    Section 502.1.3


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    Recessed Lighting Fixtures

    Section 502.1.3


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    Neutral Pressure Plane




    What is Infiltration?

    • Infiltration is the unwanted air movement through a building and is caused by a pressure difference (air moves from high pressure to a lower pressure)

    Section 502.1.4


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    Areas for Air Leakage

    • Windows and doors

    • Between sole plates

    • Floors and exterior wall panels

    • Plumbing

    • Electrical

    • Service access doors or hatches

    Section 502.1.4


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    Air Leakage Control

    • Building envelope

      • Sealed with caulking materials or

      • Closed with gasketing systems

      • Joints and seams sealed or taped or covered with a moisture vapor-permeable wrapping material

    Section 502.1.4.2


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    Windows - SHGC

    • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient

      • Requirements can be dependent on projection factor

      • National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) tested

      • Default SHGC range diagrams

      • SHGC = SC x .87

    Solar Heat

    Gain Coefficient

    Section 502.1.5


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    SHGC Default Table

    Table 102.5.2(3)


    Section 102.5.2


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    Specific Requirements

    • 1) Mandatory Requirements:

      • Moisture Control

      • Recessed Cans

      • Infiltration Control

      • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient

    • 2) Specific Requirements:

      • Foundations

        • Basements

        • Slabs

        • Crawlspaces

      • Above Grade Walls

      • Skylights, Windows, and Doors

      • Roofs

    Section 502.2


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    Envelope Requirement Compliance Options

    Section 502.2 Heating and Cooling Criteria

    Individual Component Basis


    Total Building Performance


    Acceptable Practice


    Prescriptive Specification


    Uo Graphs

    Uo Tables from Appendix

    Chap. 5 Prescriptive Tables

    REScheck Software

    Most Flexible Approach

    Section 602.1 Thermal Performance Criteria

    Simplified Prescriptive Tables

    Use if WWR < 15% for S.F., < 25% for M.F.

    Chap. 6 Prescriptive Tables


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    • Thermal resistance to heat flow

    • The larger the number the better

    • The R-value of layers in an assembly can be added together


    U factors l.jpg

    • The amount of heat in Btu (British thermal units) that flows each hour through one square foot, when there is a 1ºF temperature difference across the surface

    • The smaller the number the better


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    Floors over Unconditioned Space

    • Crawlspace is vented when the floor above is insulated.

    • Meet or exceed R-value requirements.

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Supported Floor Insulation

    • Support insulation in floor cavity

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Floors over Outside Air

    Floors over outside air must meet ceiling R-value requirements

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Crawlspace Wall Insulation

    When crawlspace walls are insulated, foundation vents are not required. Space should be mechanically vented or conditioned.

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Vented & Unvented Crawlspaces

    Vented Crawlspace Requirements:

    • The raised floor over the crawlspace must be insulated to the code R-value requirements for floors (varies by location).

    • A vapor retarder may be required as part of the floor assembly (varies by location).

    • Ventilation openings must exist that are equal to at least 1 square foot for each 150 square feet of crawlspace area and be placed to provide cross-flow (IRC 408.1, may be less if ground vapor retarder is installed).

    • Unconditioned crawlspace ducts must be sealed and meet R-value insulation requirements (IECC Table 503.3.3.3) - usually R-5.

    Unvented Crawlspace Requirements:

    • The crawlspace ground surface must be covered with an approved vapor retarder (e.g., plastic sheeting).

    • Crawlspace walls must be insulated to the R-value requirements specific for crawlspace walls (IECC 602.1.7, 502.2.1.5, and Table 602.1).

    • Crawlspace wall insulation must extend from the top of the wall to the inside finished grade.

    • Crawlspaces must be mechanically vented (1 cfm per 50 square feet) or conditioned (heated and cooled as part of the building envelope).

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Slab Edge Insulation

    • Proposed R-value must meet or exceed

    • Downward from top of slab a minimum of 24” (< 6000 HDD), 48” (> 6000 HDD)

    • Downward to at least the bottom of the slab and then horizontally – 24” (< 6000 HDD), 48” (> 6000 HDD)

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Slab Edge Insulation

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Below-Grade Walls

    •  50% below grade

      • Meet or exceed required R-values

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Defining Below-Grade Walls

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Ways to Insulate Basement Walls

    Exterior Rigid Foam

    Interior Studs w/batts

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Above Grade Walls

    Insulate walls including those

    next to unconditioned spaces

    Don’t forget to insulate rim joists

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Wall Insulation

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Knee Wall Insulation

    No, No… Never cut the batts too short

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Windows & Glass Doors

    • Key Elements

      • Glazing Area

      • SHGC values

      • U-Values

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Windows - SHGC

    • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient

      • Requirements dependent on projection factor

      • National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) tested

      • Default SHGC range diagrams

      • SHGC = SC x .87

    Solar Heat

    Gain Coefficient

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Windows – U-Factors

    Table 102.3(1)

    U-Value Default Table for Windows Glazed Doors and Skylights

    • NFRC tested and certified or default window U-factor range

    • Use assembly U-factor

    • All windows must meet or exceed

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    NFRC Label



    National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) product ratings are available on-line at

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    • Requirements based on

      • Assembly type

      • Continuous insulation

      • Insulation between framing

    • Meet or exceed R-values

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Standard Roof Truss

    Possibility of ice dam formations

    • Ceiling insulation code requirements assume standard truss systems

    Cold corners contribute to condensation and mold growth

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Raised Heel Truss

    • Raised Heel/Energy Truss Credit

    • Insulate full height over exterior wall

    Section 502.2/ 602.1


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    Additions and Window Replacements

    • Additions < 500 ft2 can use Table 502.2.5

    • Glazing area for additions (other than sunrooms) must be < 40% of gross wall and roof area of addition

    • Skylight replacements shall have a maximum U-factor of 0.60 when installed in climates > 1,999 HDD

    • Fenestration replacement must meet the SHGC req. in locations <3500 HDD

    Section 502.2.5/ 602.4


    Additions l.jpg



    • Compliance options for additions

      • Treat as a stand-alone building

      • Bring entire building into compliance

    Section 502.2.5/ 602.4


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    Special Rules for Sunrooms

    • Sunroom addition defined:

    • Area less than 500 ft2

    • Have > 40% glazing of gross exterior wall and roof area

    • Separate heating or cooling system or zone

    • Must be thermally isolated and not used as a kitchen or sleeping quarters

    Section 502.2.5


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    Sunroom/Addition Requirements

    2003 IECC

    Prescriptive Criteria Sunrooms


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    Mechanical Systems Outline

    503.1 General

    503.2 Mechanical Equipment Efficiency

    503.3 HVAC Systems

    503.3.1 Load Calculations

    503.3.2 Temperature and Humidity Controls

    503.3.2.1 System Controls

    503.3.2.2 Thermostatic Controls

    503.3.2.3 Heat Pumps

    503.3.3 Distribution Systems

    503.3.3.1 Piping Insulation

    503.3.3.2 Other Insulation Thicknesses

    503.3.3.3 Duct & Plenum Insulation

    503.3.3.4 Duct Construction

    503. High & Medium Pressure Duct Systems

    503. Low Pressure Duct Systems

    503. Sealing Required

    503.3.3.5 Mechanical Ventilation

    503.3.3.6 Transports Energy

    503.3.3.7 Balancing

    Section 503


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    Mechanical Systems Overview

    Major mechanical systems covered by the IECC

    Section 503


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    Equipment Efficiencies

    • Minimum equipment performance values from Table 503.2

    • Use data furnished by the manufacturer

    • Performance data in accordance with NAECA

      • National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA)

        • Specifies equipment performance of heating and cooling equipment, water heaters, and other equipment

        • Applicable equipment must meet NAECA before it can be sold in the United States

    Section 503.2


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    Efficiency Terms

    • Part Load Performance

      • Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) – gas heating equipment

      • Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) – residential heat pumps

      • Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) – residential air conditioners

    Section 503.2


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    Load Calculations

    • Load Calculations

      • Use design conditions specified in Chapter 3

      • Calculations shall be performed in accordance with ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals or other equivalent method

      • Systems shall be sized to meet the load

    Section 503.3.1


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    Temperature and Humidity Controls

    • 503.3.2.1 System Controls

      • Each dwelling unit shall be considered a zone and provided with at least one temperature control device

    • 503.3.2.3 Heat Pump Auxiliary Heat

      • Heat pumps with supplementary electric resistance heat shall have controls to prevent heater operation when the load can be met by the heat pump alone (except defrost cycles)

    • 503.3.2.4 Humidistat

      • Must be capable of being set to prevent the use of fossil fuels or electricity to reduce relative humidity below 60% or increase relative humidity above 30%

    Section 503.3.2


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    Thermostatic Control Capabilities

    • Section 503.3.2.2

      • Heating only 55°F or lower

      • Cooling only 85°F or higher

      • Both heating and cooling must be capable of a 5° deadband

        • Exceptions

          • Special occupancy/use as approved by the building official

          • Thermostats that require manual changeover between heating and cooling

    Section 503.3.2.2


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    HVAC Piping Insulation

    • Piping Insulation

      • Table 503.3.3.1

      • Exceptions:

        • Factory installed piping within HVAC equipment

        • Piping that conveys fluids between 55 and 105 °F

        • Piping which conveys fluids which have not been heated or cooled by through the use of fossil fuels or electricity

    Section 503.3.3.1


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    Pipe Insulation (cont’d)

    Distribution System - Minimum Pipe Insulation

    Table 503.3.3.1

    Section 503.3.3.1


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    Duct and Plenum Insulation

    • Table 503.3.3.3 or where applicable ducts and plenums operate at static pressures > 2 in. w.g.

    • Exceptions:

      • Factory installed plenums, casings or ductwork that is part of the HVAC equipment

      • Ducts within the conditioned space that they serve

    Section 503.3.3.3


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    Duct Insulation

    Table 503.3.3.3 Minimum Duct Insulation (revised 2001/2003)

    Section 503.3.3.3


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    Duct Construction

    • High- and medium-pressure duct systems (static pressure > 2 in. w.g.) to be insulated and sealed

      • If static pressure > 3 in. w.g.

        • Shall be leak tested in accordance with Section 803.3.6

      • Pressure classifications noted on construction documents

    • Low-pressure duct systems (static pressure  2 in. w.g.)

      • All longitudinal and transverse joints, seams and connections shall be securely fastened and sealed with welds, gaskets, mastics (adhesives), mastics-plus-embedded-fabric systems or tapes

        • Exceptions:

          • Continuously welded or locking longitudinal joints and seams operating at static pressures < 2inches w.g.

    Section 503.3.3.4


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    Duct Sealing

    • Seal and securely fasten all joints, longitudinal and transverse seams and connections with:

      • welds

      • gaskets

      • mastics

      • mastic-plus-embedded fabric systems

      • tapes

    • Unlisted duct tape is not permitted as a sealant on any metal ducts

    Section 503.


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    Duct Sealing

    Section 503.


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    Distribution Systems (cont’d)

    • 503.3.3.5 Mechanical Ventilation

      • Systems shall be equipped with a readily accessible shutoff or volume damper and shutoff

      • Automatic or gravity dampers shall be used for outdoor intakes and exhausts

    • 503.3.3.6 Transport energy

      • A measure of proper duct design

      • Air transport factor < 5.5

    • 503.3.3.7 Balancing

      • HVAC systems shall provide a means for balancing (i.e. dampers, temperature or pressure test connections, balancing valves, etc.)

    Section 503.3.3


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    Service Hot Water Outline

    504.1 Scope

    504.2 Water Heaters, Storage Tanks & Boilers

    504.2.1 Performance Efficiency

    504.2.2 Combination Systems

    504.3 Swimming Pools

    504.3.1 On-off Switch

    504.3.2 Pool Covers

    504.3.3 Time Clocks

    504.4 Hot Water System Controls

    504.5 Pipe Insulation

    504.6 Conservation of Hot Water

    504.7 Heat Traps

    Section 504


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    Service Water Heating (cont’d)

    • Summary of requirements

      • Heat traps to reduce standby losses

      • Pipe insulation to reduce distribution and standby losses

      • Circulation loop temperature controls to reduce distribution losses

    Section 504


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    Heat Traps

    • Required on noncirculating hot water systems

    Section 504.7


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    Auto-Circulating Systems

    • Auto-circulating systems

      • Insulated to levels in Table 504.5

      • Exception:

        • Piping insulation is not required when the heat loss, without insulation, does not increase energy use

    Table 504.5

    Minimum Pipe Insulation

    (Thickness in Inches)

    Section 504.4