April 21, 2021
BetterBuilt NW April 2021 Newsletter
Oregon Code Change Update
As of March 23, 2021, the State of Oregon’s Building Codes Division announced a “notice of permanent rule” that states the 2021 Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC) is effective April 1, 2021 and mandatory October 1, 2021.
The new ORSC features several changes in the mechanical and energy chapters for builders and trades to be aware of. The major changes include: requiring whole house balanced ventilation; installing a continuous air barrier at the ceiling of the home; constructing ductwork and air handler equipment inside the building’s thermal envelope – or installing the air handler inside the envelope and “deeply burying” ductwork; and a new Additional Measure table (Table N1101.1(2)) with eight options and a new requirement to select one additional measure. This last change is a move from previously requiring two additional measures. A new NEEA ‘2021 Oregon Residential Energy Code Summary’ fact sheet that describes significant changes to the energy code is now available for download.
This new code is anticipated to reduce energy use by one to seven and a half percent, depending on the additional measure selected and how builders meet the requirements for locating ductwork and air handler inside the thermal envelope.
BetterBuiltNW has several resources to assist builders in meeting and exceeding the new Oregon code code. Online, on-demand trainings on a variety of high performance building topics can be accessed via the BetterBuiltNW training portal (new users can register to create an account), such as:
- ‘Top 10 Best Practices for Today’s Homebuilder’ – the Oregon version of this training provides a code overview and clearly identify areas where the new code aligns with the Good, Better or Best spectrum of ten best building practices (see here for a training outline preview with code info).
- ‘Building with Ducts Inside Conditioned Spaces’ - participants of this online training will analyze and be able to apply six different strategies for designing and building with ducts located inside a home’s conditioned envelope.
Builders, trades, and consultants can keep up to speed with the ORSC updates and the upcoming Oregon Residential Reach Code by following the Building Codes Division’s website. Additional resources include the ODOE Codes Hotline, Oregon HBA code compliance trainings, and Earth Advantage’s ‘On The Level’ trainings.
Case Study Feature: Ten Townhomes Tie for Energy Efficiency
Explore the 15th and River subdivision in Idaho to see how Benchmark Development Company built 10 townhomes out of insulated concrete forms that excel in energy savings. The project went through Idaho Power’s Performance Path program.
Every month BetterBuiltNW highlights different programs in the news to keep builders and Raters/Verifiers informed about key updates, program changes, and features. This month’s Programs in the News features the following update:
- Earth Advantage Home Certification Program Updates
Earth Advantage Home Certification Program Updates
Earth Advantage certified homes reward buyers with a quality home that reflects their lifestyle choices. All certified homes comply with prerequisites that assure construction best practices are implemented. Earth Advantage’s third-party certification ensures five key areas of building a sustainable home are met: energy, health, land, materials, and water. Earth Advantage Home Certification has unveiled their 2021 points worksheet to active Earth Advantage builders and developers.
The points worksheet is the list of individual measures, both prerequisite and elective, that a builder decides to implement on a construction project to obtain the desired certification level in the green building program. This revised certification program will be required on all EAHC homes that receive a rough inspection after June 30, 2021.
To learn more about the worksheet, visit Earth Advantage’s website.