April 21, 2021
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 iAnside 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.