The recently published ASHRAE 90.1-2022, Energy Standard for Sites and Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Building, was just part of the codes discussion during yesterday’s Glass Conference agenda. Codes consultant Tom Culp addressed developments and changes in energy codes during the conference, which is taking place in Miramar Beach, Fla., and is organized by the National Glass Association.

While there were no changes for fenestration in this ASHRAE 90.1 cycle, Culp said the 2022 edition does have several positive changes and additions, including a new on-site renewable energy (PV, BIPV) requirement. This is the first time this has been included at the national level, he said. Thermal bridging requirements are also included, as well as new additional requirements for energy credits. This includes credit for high-performance fenestration, shading, daylighting and on-site renewable energy. There is also a new option for jurisdictions to use carbon emissions as an alternative performance metric to energy costs.  Overall, Culp said there are significant advancements to the code,  including targeting net-zero performance by 2031.

Industry consultant Tom Culp provided Glass Conference attendees with an update on energy code changes and developments.

Speaking of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the first-round draft of the 2024 code went out last fall. Culp said the group is moving aggressively with strong steps toward electrification and net-zero performance. They are also adding new topics similar to ASHRAE, such as on-site renewable energy requirements, additional energy credits, thermal bridging and tighter air leakage and increased testing.

Culp said while the glass industry’s main focus is on national codes, there are some local codes of interest. One of those local codes is the 2023 New York Stretch Code. While this is a voluntary code, Culp explained that New York City adopts the Stretch Code by ordinance as its main energy code. This code, he said, is targeting “very aggressive” changes, including a push for triple glazing or fourth-surface low-E coatings.

Culp also talked a bit about building energy code adoption, noting that $1 billion is appropriated to the Department of Energy for state and local government grants to accelerate building energy codes. There is $330 million in place to assist in adopting the latest energy codes and $670 million in adopting a zero-energy code; the latter is based on the voluntary zero-energy appendix of the 2021 IECC or equivalent stretch code.

Culp also touched on several tax credit opportunities, including those for electrochromic glazing. Hopefully, Culp said, the IRS will rule that the credit applies to the whole window system and not just the glazing. The biggest challenge, however, is that construction must start before January 1, 2025.

Tax credit possibilities are also available for solar PV and BIPV, which have a longer life through 2032.

Two proposals within the Green Codes could increase the use of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). One of the proposals increases the number of EPDs required on a project to at least 20 products and 25% of total building product cost. It still allows industry-wide EPDs in addition to those that are company-specific and does not require facility-specific EPDs.

It also allows EPDs for components to be submitted for assemblies if they cover more than 80% of product weight or cost. That means in a curtainwall assembly, an EPD is required for just the glass and framing—not all of the components.

The second proposal deals with global warming potential (GWP) limits. Here, at least 10 product-specific EPDs must be submitted, representing more than 10-15% of the total building product cost, with GWP within 125% of the industry-wide average. This will put pressure on companies to develop product-specific company EPDs, he said. Due to the high number of comments on this proposal, he said it’s uncertain whether it will be included in the 2023 edition.

There are also EPD requirements in the Federal Buy Clean Initiative and the Inflation Reduction Act. Culp said the General Services Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are looking at construction materials and products with “substantially lower levels of embodied greenhouse gas emissions” compared to industry averages.

Culp finished with a look at the Charles Pankow Foundation Spandrel Research Project, which focuses on the fact that spandrel is not addressed well in the energy codes. The project team is conducting research to improve the characterization and modeling of spandrel performance.

The glass conference continues through today with presentations and technical meetings.