ICC Considers Various Daylighting Plans for Buildings

Members of the International Code Council (ICC) supported a committee decision to nix a plan that would have lowered air infiltration rates for swinging doors.

During Wednesday morning’s public hearing session of the ICC’s Annual Conference in Atlantic City, members voiced their opinion on the Commercial Energy Conservation Code Development Committee’s decision to disapprove CE 180-13, which would have reduced the maximum air infiltration permitted for swinging doors from 0.5 to 0.3 CFM/FT. A motion to overturn the committee’s decision was easily voted down.

The committee alleged that the proposal would have reduced stringency in the code and would have put the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) significantly out of agreement with ASHRAE 90.1 and set up dueling manufacturing standards.

The measure was among the many proposed that promoted the use of daylighting in buildings to provide energy savings, promote high-performance interior environments and improve occupant well-being.

Jeff Inks of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) had unsuccessfully argued for a reversal of the committee’s decision on CE 180-13, originally charging that the air infiltration rates for windows, skylights, sliding doors and swinging doors had been “arbitrarily lowered without sound technical justification” during the previous code development cycle in 2012.

Inks, who said the tougher standards would provide “no significant improvement in energy savings,” amended the proposal to just include swinging doors, but had no luck with either measure.

“Regardless of what modeling is used, the energy efficiency gains in the envelope and overall building efficiency as a result of the reduced rates are minimal at best and need to be more thoughtfully weighed against the negative impacts that result from them, primarily for operable fenestration which is the focus of this proposal,” he said. “These include added costs to production, testing, and labeling for all products, increase in operational force (especially sliding fenestration products) which impairs operability for all users (and adds difficulty in meeting accessibility requirements) because of the additional sealing that would be required.”

Inks further argued that, if there were concerns that air infiltration rates for operable fenestration need to be made more stringent, they should be addressed in other industry codes and not in the body of the IECC.

But the majority of association members present at the Atlantic City Convention Center weren’t buying it.

Dr. Tom Culp of Birch Point Consulting LLC, a representative for the Glazing Industry Code Committee, called the proposal an “unnecessary roll-back” since the majority of the products in question already met that criteria.

Other supporters of the committee’s decision to kill the measure called for consistency, citing the confusion that would arise should dueling standards exist between the IECC and ASHRAE 90.1.

In other developments, CE 136, which would have required a minimum visible transmittance (VT) for commercial fenestration in the IECC failed to pass, as did CE 145, which would have lowered solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) in the north, and CE 143, which sought different U-factors in various frame categories. CE 142, which involved shading correction and increased the enforceability and usability of vertical fenestration requirements, passed with the minimum two-third votes necessary.

Other measures passing Wednesday included CE 149, which established a minimum skylight VT area; and CE 152, which increased the incentive for a daylight area similar in concept to the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IGCC).

Thursday will mark the final day of the public hearing session of the ICC Annual Conference.

Stay tuned to usglassmag.com for further details.

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