Architects are responsible for creating sturdy, functional and aesthetically-pleasing buildings for a wide variety of clients. It’s a demanding job that requires a huge amount of planning, calculations, designs and hard work. Satisfying every client term and each structural need is not an easy task. On top of that, organizations release new sets of building efficiency codes on a regular basis that call for the latest in building performance technology.

While these regulations may represent yet another architectural layer, they play an increasingly large role in building efficiency – which entails carbon footprint, energy consumption, and net expenditures. Ultimately, building efficiency codes help building owners live more comfortably and pay less on their energy bills.

“Building efficiency codes help building owners live more comfortably and pay less on their energy bills.”

Minnesota city adjusts to code changes
In Hutchinson, Minnesota, new building efficiency codes have contractors doing extra homework, according to the Hutchinson Leader. The 2015 Minnesota Building Code – modeled off the International Residential Building Code – went into effect at the end of January. The codes cover everything from footings and foundations to exterior insulation.

Now, fiberglass insulation is not acceptable for exterior walls due to its potential for harboring moisture and mold. Additionally, roof insulation requirements now call for an R-value of 49 instead of the previous 30, making fiberglass and other traditional insulation methods inadequate.

The codes apply to areas beyond municipal limits, and the majority of contractors build to code no matter what, but the county does not enforce it.

“Many contractors would like for it to be enforced out there so they aren’t bidding against unlicensed contractors who might not be building to code and bidding less,” Lenny Rutledge, Hutchinson city building official, told the news source.

Regulations promote building efficiency.
Regulations promote building efficiency.

Energy efficiency gets a place in Salina building codes
Officials in Salina, Kansas, are working to include efficiency standards into the city’s building codes, reported the Salina Journal. As of now, no such codes exist for commercial or residential buildings in the city.

“Residential and commercial buildings use about 40 percent of the energy in the United States, making them significant contributors to the energy problem,” city building official Jim Brown told the Journal. “Building energy codes set minimum efficiency standards for newly constructed and renovated buildings, providing energy savings and emissions reductions over the life of a building.”

Brown also asserted that 44 states and territories have rendered some version of the International Energy Conservation Code for their own regional building standards. While the new standards will likely cost more for contractors, they represent a building with better value and quality that will perform efficiently for years.

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