Birds, Canada, Timber and Energy Highlight Codes Update

Bird-friendly legislation, energy codes and more were discussed during the virtual Glass Conference sponsored by the National Glass Association (NGA).

Nick Resetar of Roetzel & Andress discussed the Bird-Safe Buildings Act of 2019, which was passed recently by the U.S. House of Representatives as part of a larger transportation act. As of press time it is with the Senate.

“We fully anticipate similar or identical provisions to be introduced soon. People concerned with the bird population are taking notice and pushing for these requirements on a greater level,” he said.

Codes consultant Thom Zaremba, also with Roetzel & Andress, said the 2021
I-codes update is expected to be published in October of this year.

International Building Code (IBC) Section 2406 will include an editorial rewrite to use terms defined by the code such as guards and handrails. Previously the section used terms such as guardrails and railing in-fill panels.

Zaremba emphasized that glass in guards must meet the load requirements of 1607.8, which are a linear load of 50 pounds per linear foot and a concentration load of 200 pounds. In addition, the glass must meet a safety factor of four.

Canadian Codes

Canada recently adopted a new safety glazing standard, CAN/CGSB 12.1-2017, which supersedes CAN/CGSB 12.1 – M90. Zaremba said it’s similar to current U.S. safety glazing standards, ANSI Z97.1-15 and CPSC 16 CFR 1201. Under the new Canadian standard, monolithic wired glass is no longer classified as safety glazing.

“Although the 2020 National Building Code of Canada has not yet been published, it’s expected that compliance with the new safety glazing standard will be mandatory for all glazing used in hazardous locations in all assembly occupancies,” he explained. “Assembly occupancies under the CNBC are significantly broader than in the U.S. and includes any part of a building ‘used for civic, political, travel, religious, educational, recreational or like purposes or for the consumption of food or drink.’”

Zaremba says this means wired glass must be coated organically to comply with the new standard when it is used in hazardous locations even if a fire protection rated product is also required.

Cross-Laminated Timber

He explained that the 2021 IBC and International Fire Code will contain a new provision that adds entirely new construction types which allows construction of mass timber buildings up to 18 stories tall. These building types can be 18, 12 or 9 stories depending on the fire constructed material used. The primary building material used is cross-laminated timber (CLT), which Zaremba said is fire-rated up to three hours.

Energy Codes

Tom Culp, also an association technical codes consultant with Birch Point Consulting, gave an energy codes update. He said that ASHRAE 90.1-2019 was published last October and the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will be published this fall. Commercial fenestration criteria were aligned in both codes, which Culp said is good for compliance and enforcement. In addition, there’s been a 5-17% reduction in U-factor but only modest reductions in solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). There are new, separate SHGCs for fixed and operable products, but this will not require different glazing.

“Very roughly, there’s been a ‘zone shift’ between 2016 and 2019. What was required in zone 7 moves to 6 and what was required in zone 6 moves to 5,” said Culp, who added that there was no reduction in window area and more and improved daylighting controls were added.

The 2022 edition of ASHRAE 90.1 is already in the works. It will include new
prescriptive requirements for on-site renewable energy on all new buildings or building sites and new envelope backstop requirements.

ASHARE 189.1-2020 and the 2021 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) will be completed this fall. ASHRAE 189.1-2017 and the 2018 IgCC expanded daylighting in more spaces. For the next editions, new above-core requirements for minimum views of offices, classrooms and patient rooms were introduced for occupant health and well-being, not just daylight energy savings.

Culp addressed the concern that glass skyscrapers are being banned in New York City, that curtainwall is dead and that net-zero buildings mean no windows by saying all of those notions are false.

“Providing daylighting and quality views is essential in high performance green buildings for energy efficiency, occupant health and wellbeing,” he said. “This does mean that perhaps doing things the old way with old, lower performing systems will be going away. The answer is always using high performance systems.”

Culp also addressed envelope trade-off limits or backstops, which have been implemented in New York City, Washington and Massachusetts. These backstops require envelopes to meet baseline performance levels even when using a whole building performance path. Culp said ASHRAE 90.1-2022 will include a reasonably flexible backstop similar to New York City.

“This will reduce value engineering and promote higher value-added products. There is a potential negative impact on design flexibility and window area for fully glazing buildings,” he said. “To preserve design flexibility use high performance systems. Don’t let owners value-engineer out high performance systems.”

Finally, there are new opportunities on the existing building side with Local Law 97 in New York City and HB 1257 in Washington State, which have set carbon/energy limits for existing buildings. Fines will be applied for those exceeding these limits.

“This creates a large incentive to upgrade existing buildings. It improves the economics of envelope retrofits. Many owners would rather put money toward an improved building than to pay a fine to the mayor,” said Culp.

NFRC Approves Ballots at Mid-Cycle Meeting

The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) board of directors has approved eight ballot changes. Those measures include:

Ratings Committee

NFRC 700 Subcommittee
NFRC 700 Glazing Description: This ballot changes the required information for the temporary label on certified products, making the glazing description optional. The number of glass panes also has been added to the glazing description along with the tint colors into the single glazing description paragraph.

NFRC 700 Condensation Index: This ballot removes the NFRC 500 Condensation Resistance Rating (CR) and replaces it with the ANSI/NFRC 500 Condensation Index (CI). The directory will need to be modified to incorporate the CI.

Technical Committee

Condensation Resistance Subcommittee
ANSI/NFRC 500 and NFRC 501: These ballots further refine the new CI procedure to address comments that came from NFRC’s ANS Committee. This ballot changes the reference to the distance the glass edge temperature is to be taken. All documents and the software tool referencing the CI shall have consistent language that the glass edge temperature shall be obtained at 25 mm and not 25.4 mm.

U-Factor Subcommittee
ANSI/NFRC 100 Reporting Ratings: This ballot corrects ANSI/NFRC 100 to remove reference to report metric U-factor to the nearest 0.05 W/m2K and strictly use proper rounding of the result to two decimal points. Per NFRC 700, there is no language that states metric rating of U-factor shall be rounded to the nearest 0.05 W/m2K, but
consistently throughout the document it states that the U-factor rating
shall be displayed on the NFRC label as rounded to two decimals.

Solar Heat Gain Subcommittee
ANSI/NFRC 200 Equation 4-3: This correction to the NFRC 200 makes the LEAFF program consistent with the calculations WINDOW uses. During the LEAFF program implementation, an error was discovered in the exterior heat transfer coefficient in Equation 4-3. The value of 30 W/m2K in the equation is for the winter conditions and the SHGC is calculated under summer conditions. The WINDOWS program from LBNL uses the summer exterior heat transfer coefficient of 20.6 W/m2K.

Research and Technology Committee

Thermophysical Properties of Materials Subcommittee NFRC 101 Appendices: This ballot is intended to update the source references for the material properties listed in Appendices A and B and to update the properties based on those new references. The default THERM materials library will be revised to incorporate the changed appendices. The implementation plan for the new appendices is January 1, 2021.

NFRC 101 Non-homogenous Spacer: This ballot revises Section relating to conductivity measurements of non-homogeneous spacer samples.

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