How to Meet the Latest Texas Energy Efficiency Codes

Since Novem­ber 2016, builders and archi­tects in Texas must com­ply with the 2015 Inter­na­tion­al Ener­gy Con­ser­va­tion Code (IECC) for both com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion. Texas adopt­ed the 2015 IECC to lessen ener­gy use and costs to busi­ness­es and home­own­ers. In fact, the ICC reports an increase in ener­gy effi­cien­cy by 18 per­cent in res­i­den­tial and 26 per­cent in com­mer­cial struc­tures after imple­men­ta­tion of the IECC 2015 stan­dards over the pre­vi­ous IECC 2009 stan­dards.

By requir­ing the 2015 IECC lat­est ener­gy codes, Texas is lead­ing the way toward reduc­ing CO2 emis­sions and advanc­ing the goal of the World Green Build­ing Coun­cils (GBCs) to achieve net zero car­bon by 2030 for all new con­struc­tion. Builders and archi­tects in Texas must meet the chal­lenge to build and design all projects accord­ing to the 2015 IECC codes.

Com­pli­ance with the codes ensures achieve­ment of the high­est stan­dards of ener­gy effi­cien­cy, safe­ty, and dura­bil­i­ty for today’s build­ing projects in Texas.

Building Projects Must Comply with Both State and Local Energy Codes

All com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial projects greater than three sto­ries must meet ener­gy effi­cien­cy require­ments accord­ing to the Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Heat­ing, Refrig­er­at­ing, and Air-Con­di­tion­ing Engi­neers (ASHRAE 90.1) or the 2015 IECC codes and stan­dards.

The design of the struc­tures must also con­sid­er the total build­ing per­for­mance, includ­ing air leak­age, mechan­i­cal sys­tems, water heaters, light­ing, and meter­ing.

Builders and archi­tects must not only com­ply with the 2015 IECC codes, but also those of their local juris­dic­tions. In Texas, local juris­dic­tions can amend and adopt local ener­gy code, so long as the mod­i­fied code is not less strin­gent than the code adopt­ed by the state.

To avoid con­fu­sion between local and state codes, builders and archi­tects should begin design­ing all projects to the 2015 IECC stan­dards, then imple­ment addi­tion­al local require­ments.

Building Envelope Options for Exterior Walls​

For the build­ing enve­lope of a com­mer­cial build­ing, there are three ener­gy code com­pli­ance options typ­i­cal­ly used by archi­tects.

  1. Insulation component method: Build­ing a struc­ture that meets the 2015 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1 stan­dards for ener­gy effi­cien­cy requires achiev­ing spec­i­fied R‑values for con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion around a building’s enve­lope. The ASHRAE Stan­dard 90.12013 defines con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion as insu­la­tion that is uncom­pressed and con­tin­u­ous across all struc­tur­al mem­bers with­out ther­mal bridges oth­er than fas­ten­ers and ser­vice open­ings. Sec­tion C402.1.3 of the 2015 IECC spec­i­fies the amount of insu­la­tion required for dif­fer­ent opaque wall types (mass walls, met­al build­ings, met­al framed, and wood framed).
  2. Thermal conductivity component method: Sec­tion C402.1.4 gen­er­al pre­scrip­tive of the IECC 2015 spec­i­fies the max­i­mum cumu­la­tive U‑Factor (or ther­mal con­duc­tiv­i­ty) of all the com­po­nents in a wall assem­bly for dif­fer­ent opaque wall types (mass walls, met­al build­ings, met­al framed, and wood framed and oth­er). The code also pro­vides a table for cal­cu­lat­ing the U‑Factor of cold-formed steel stud wall sys­tems with dif­fer­ent lev­els of cav­i­ty insu­la­tion.
  3. Component Performance Alternative method: Sec­tion C402.1.5 of the gen­er­al pre­scrip­tive of the IECC 2015 spec­i­fies that the weight­ed aver­age of U‑Factors of the enve­lope assem­blies, based on sur­face area, is less than the weight­ed aver­age max­i­mum U‑Factor per­mit­ted in IECC Table C402.1.4. The com­po­nent per­for­mance alter­na­tive method allows designs to increase per­for­mance in one area of build­ing to com­pen­sate for degrad­ed per­for­mance in oth­er areas. Ver­i­fi­ca­tion of com­pli­ance for this option is typ­i­cal­ly done using COM­check soft­ware.

Continuous Insulation Options for Exterior Walls

The IECC includes a cli­mate zone map which divides the coun­try into eight zones: zone one is warmest and zone eight is the cold­est. The three major cli­mate zones in Texas are two, three, and four. Each zone is assigned a build­ing enve­lope insu­la­tion require­ments for dif­fer­ent wall sys­tems using the insu­la­tion com­po­nent R‑value method.

The dif­fer­ent wall sys­tems include wood-fram­ing, met­al fram­ings, met­al build­ing, and mass walls (con­crete and mason­ry). Mass walls are excep­tion­al­ly ener­gy-effi­cient because they can absorb and release ener­gy over time.

There­fore, the required R‑value for mass walls is low­er (less insu­la­tion require­ment) than required R‑value for light framed or steel wall assem­blies.

Bautex Wall System Helps Builders Meet the Latest Texas Energy Efficiency Codes

The easy to install Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem, man­u­fac­tured in Cen­tral Texas, helps con­trac­tors and archi­tects meet the chal­lenge of build­ing accord­ing to the lat­est Texas ener­gy effi­cien­cy codes with­out over­spend­ing on mate­ri­als or labor.

The Bau­tex Wall sys­tem exceeds the 2015 IECC require­ments for con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion, ther­mal mass, and an air bar­ri­er for all cli­mate zones in Texas. The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem is also a four-hour load-bear­ing fire-rat­ed wall that pro­vides excel­lent fire pro­tec­tion. Please vis­it Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem learn more on meet­ing the lat­est Texas ener­gy effi­cien­cy codes.