January 21, 2021

BetterBuiltNW January 2021 Newsletter


How to Stay Compliant with Idaho Energy Codes

As detailed in past BetterBuiltNW newsletters, several states in the Northwest have energy code updates planned for 2021. Idaho is set to begin adoption of the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) with Idaho amendments on homes permitted on or after January 1, 2021.

In Idaho, there are three compliance options for meeting the energy code.

  1. The prescriptive option includes 2018 IECC sections R401-R404. The sections contain mandatory provisions, do not allow tradeoffs, and do not require software tools for compliance.
  2. An alternative is the Total UA Alternative, found in section R402.1.4. This option still has mandatory provisions but allows for U-factors and assembly areas (walls, floors, ceilings, window areas) to be used when determining tradeoffs. Under this option, anyone performing the UA Alternative may use the common software tool REScheck or other approved methods/software.
  3. The third option is the performance option as described in section R405. This option still has mandatory provisions but allows for one to perform a simulated energy performance analysis that compares designed annual energy costs to a reference home or Energy Rating Index for compliance.

The amendments for Idaho are centered around a few key options that impact both mandatory provisions and performance options. Under the prescriptive amendments, the hot water pipe insulation requirements were amended to specify insulation for hot water pipes outside of conditioned space, those buried or under slabs, and those serving more than one dwelling unit, as well as to address hot water circulatory systems. The window U-value was amended to U-0.32. Lighting was amended to require 75% high efficacy, as well as climate zone specific amendments to attics in climate zone 5 and wall options in climate zone 5.

Perhaps the biggest amendment is adopting building envelope tightness testing. The Idaho amendment outlines changing the leakage target to five air changes per hour (5 ACH) and the requirement for testing to be performed on 20% of homes, instead of 100% of homes. This last amendment also includes a delayed implementation, to allow for industry training, going live as a code requirement in July 2021. For the performance option, the Energy Rating Index was amended to a score of 68 for the entire state.

Navigate the code changes with these resources and training opportunities:

Programs in the News

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 updates:

  • 2018 Washington Code Effective on February 1, 2021
  • Congress Set to Extend 45L Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficient Homes through 2021
  • RESNET Announces the Adoption of MINHERS Addendum 50 HERS Modeler
  • New Built Green Checklists Take Effect February 1

2018 Washington Code Effective on February 1, 2021

Washington Governor Jay Inslee repealed the 2018 Washington code effective date extension of July 1, 2021. Reinstating the effective date for the Washington code of February 1, 2021. Stay up to date on code changes by visiting the Washington State Building Code Council website.

Congress Set to Extend 45L Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficient Homes Through 2021

The 45L federal tax credit is now extended through December 31, 2021. This extension is an agreement reached between the U.S. Senate and House in relation to COVID-19 relief. The extension does not alter any of the provision’s current language and is set to expire at the end of 2021. You can find an above code program verifier or HERS Rater with our find a professional tool by selecting Verifier from the pulldown list on BetterBuiltNW here.

Visit RESNET for additional information regarding the extension.

RESNET Announces the Adoption of MINHERS Addendum 50 HERS Modeler

The RESNET Board of Directors established a policy that all personnel developing HERS ratings must be trained and certified in the use of the accredited software tool(s) they use. The Standards Development Committee 200 developed addendum 50 to implement the policy.

Addendum 50 requires:

  • RESNET to develop a core curriculum for the Accredited Software Tools and a HERS Modeler Practical Evaluation
  • Training Providers to develop courses
  • Rating Quality Assurance Providers to certify HERS Modelers

HERS Modelers must be following this change by January 1, 2022. Programs are targeted to begin certifications on July 1, 2021.

Visit Addendum 50 – HERS Modeler to view the complete Addendum 50 requirements.

New Built Green Checklists Take Effect February 1, 2021

Built Green’s new single-family and multifamily checklists with the 2018 Washington State Energy Code take effect on February 1, 2021. All new construction projects with a permit date of February 1 or later must use the 2021 checklists. To learn more about the checklists, visit Built Green’s website.

Learn more about the Washington code effective date, extended federal tax credit, the adoption of Addendum 50 – HERS Modelers and the new Built Green checklists.


Northwest EcoBuilding Guild General Education Session: Washington State Energy Code Changes

Virtual Event – January 27, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.

Join the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild for the January Virtual Education Meeting on New Energy Code Training to understand the February 1, 2021* implementation of the 2018 WA State Energy Code Update. Learn what has changed and the strategies and resources for implementation. This training session will involve an interactive conversation with Dan Wildenhaus, technical advisor and industry liaison for BetterBuiltNW.

*The State Building Codes Council has voted to delay the implementation of the 2018 WSEC until July 1st, 2021, which is pending Governor approval.

Register today for the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild General Education Session: Washington State Energy Code Changes.

2021 RESNET Building Performance Conference

Virtual Event – February 22-24, 2021

RESNET will host its annual Building Performance Conference in February 2021. The 2021 conference is shifting to a virtual platform and will offer a robust experience built on the tradition of the RESNET conference with added benefits. The theme of the 2021 RESNET conference is “A New Path to the Future.”

Join BetterBuiltNW’s Dan Wildenhaus for the following presentations:

  • Heat Pump Water Heaters: The Good, The Bad, and the Snuggly?
  • Maximizing Mini-Splits Knowledge
  • Cold Climate Heat Pumps - What Do Raters REALLY Need to Know?

Call to action: Learn more about the upcoming RESNET conference.

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