ICC Approves Glazing Code Change

“Keep it simple. Keep it energy-efficient.” These were the words of Craig Conner of Building Quality in his proposal to revise the International Residential Code (IRC) to remove a provision that defines the “glazing area” as “The proposed glazing area; where proposed glazing area is less than 15 percent of the conditioned floor area” and “15 percent of the conditioned floor area; where the proposed glazing area is” from Table R405.5.2(1) of the IRC.

The proposal, RE164-13, was made before the International Code Council (ICC) during its committee action hearings this week in Dallas.

“Simple is setting a specific window requirement and having it apply to the whole performance approach, as is done in the prescriptive approach,” wrote Connor in his proposal. “Simple is presuming that the glass area for the performance calculation is the same as the glass area in the proposed new home. Simple is removing unneeded calculations. This change also has the effect of allowing changes from plans to the home as constructed without recalculation.”

He continued, “As windows get more efficient, the window area matters less. In some situations more glass [is] better. In northern climates windows at the edge of what is now in the market may be as good as a ‘normal’ wall. Therefore the impact of window area is decreased and not worth the calculation.”

Connor pointed to a similar change in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) as further reasoning for the change.

“Removal of the window area calculation was the major simplification in the 2003 IECC simplification needed to get to the 2006 IECC,” he said. “The 2006 IECC simply says use as [many] windows as you want, just make [them] energy-efficient windows. Requiring a specific window for each climate zone created huge markets for those specific levels of efficiency.”

Connor’s proposal was approved as submitted.

Meanwhile, a proposal to remove language related to renovations and alterations from both the commercial and residential sections of the IECC was disapproved by the committee. Randall Dahmen, a Wisconsin commercial building inspector, had recommended the change, noting that “the requirements referenced in this code section are issues that deal with existing buildings.”

“As such, the requirements should be listed in the IEBC,” he wrote in his proposal. “If it is felt that the requirements need to remain as part of the IECC, then it is requested that the requirements be listed/referenced under both the IECC as well as the IEBC, as is commonly done throughout the ICC Suite of codes.”

The ICC hearings run through next Tuesday. Stay tuned to usglassmag.com for more as it becomes available.

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