Building Science

Code Q&A: Continuous Insulation

The 2015 IECC energy codes mean changes for energy efficiency and other building performance measures.

Question: The 2015 IECC energy codes will be adopted by The State of Texas in September 2016. What does this mean for the design and con­struc­tion of new buildings in Texas?

Answer: The 2015 Inter­na­tion­al Energy Con­ser­va­tion Code (IECC) code affects hundreds of details in the design, con­struc­tion, and com­mis­sion­ing of com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial buildings in Texas. The intent of this model code is to improve the energy effi­cien­cy of building envelopes, lighting and mechan­i­cal systems through require­ments that emphasize per­for­mance. For com­mer­cial buildings in cities and munic­i­pal­i­ties that will move their energy code from 2009 to 2015, this means a 26 percent increase in overall building energy effi­cien­cy (an 8 percent jump from 2012 to 2015).

To achieve this level of per­for­mance, the code requires sig­nif­i­cant improve­ments to the building envelope compared to previous versions of the code. In par­tic­u­lar, the codes are virtually mandating the use of con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion systems to reduce the per­for­mance-robbing effects of thermal bridging. For new buildings using cavity con­struc­tion methods, adding layers of con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion increase design com­plex­i­ty and may increase con­struc­tion costs, while also intro­duc­ing new fire safety issues. Insulated concrete block meets require­ments for con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion with only one addi­tion­al layer needed in most climates, usually an air and moisture barrier.

So whether you are working on res­i­den­tial or com­mer­cial con­struc­tion, bring us your 2015 IECC code questions. Because for archi­tects, devel­op­ers and building owners, the benefit of the Bautex Block wall system is that it exceeds the per­for­mance require­ments of the latest energy code. It is a single inte­grat­ed wall system that is simple to design and fast to construct and can be achieved at a cost that is com­pet­i­tive with more complex and lower per­form­ing wall systems.