The secret way to save energy

The secret way to save energy

What’s under your siding matters!

Recently, John G. Moser & Son re-constructed a home in Bucks County.  The building code and energy codes are always at the forefront of a construction project.  Part of the building code takes into account the energy usage of a building.   The building and energy code provides direction on moisture and wind barriers, insulation, sealing and windows.  These are all of the things under your siding.   In the codes most strict enforcement, the building envelope construction is to be sealed to meet the 7 air turns per hour or less.

Working with the code officials, the architect, our subcontractors and our suppliers, we planned and executed the plan using house wraps that allowed the proper air flow to unconditioned space and reduced the air flow to the conditioned space.  We paid special attention to the details of drywall, insulation, window and door sealing and educated our crew members throughout the process.

We exceeded expectations registering under 3 ACHPH (Air Changes Per Hour).    It was a great benefit to the homeowner.

Save money on your energy bills.   Feel more comfortable in your home.

Here’s more in detail about the building and energy codes.

The International Residential Code (IRC) is the recognized reference guide for One- and Two-Family Dwellings.  The IRC is available for adoption and use by jurisdictions internationally.  Its use within a governmental jurisdiction is intended to be accomplished through adoption by reference in accordance with proceedings establishing the jurisdiction’s laws.  What does that mean?  Essentially, each state adopts in the entirety or in selected sections the codes to apply to construction of residential buildings.  (There are other codes for commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings.)   Internationally, code officials recognize the need for a modern, up-to-date residential code addressing the design and construction of one- and two-family dwellings.  The comprehensive, stand-alone code establishes minimum regulations for dwellings using prescriptive provisions.   It encompasses a number of related codes.  One such code is the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

Pennsylvania currently operates using the 2009 IRC…primarily.  When constructing a home or addition, an owner is required to request a building permit.   With the permit, plans are provided to the township and are reviewed to meet or exceed the code.  Remember, the code is intended to be the minimum requirement.  Not all of the Energy Code (IECC) was adopted by Pennsylvania…yet.

I know, this sounds like a lot of “blah, blah, blah.”   Building codes shouldn’t sound like the intricacies of global economics.  The code does boil down to some simple things.   Those simple things are critically important when it’s YOUR home.  

Here is one small piece of the code.   Chapter 11 of the IRC refers to Energy Efficiency.   As noted previously, Pennsylvania has not adopted all of the energy code.  Pennsylvania also operates on the 2009 IRC.   Most of Pennsylvania is in the Climate Zone 5 and, as such, has some specific requirements for the temperature and moisture.  There are certain requirements to meet the energy code (IECC).  But Pennsylvania didn’t adopt all of the codes.   Pennsylvania code officials DO use the code as a reference and recommendation.

Below, you can see the Climate Zones across the United States.

The energy portion of the IRC continues to strengthen.   Codes (1992 through 1995, considered very early energy codes) required double pane windows.  The codes from 1998 to 2003 became stronger to require windows to have certifications for energy.  

Proper windows have become the norm in construction.   Whether wood or vinyl, the windows should meet the Energy Star ratings and will have stickers upon purchase identifying so.

The 2009 codes introduced duct and building envelope testing and efficient lighting.  The building envelope is the area of the structure where conditioned space meets unconditioned space.  It went further to identify the amount of air that moves in and out of the house and addressed sealing of air gaps.   Imagine how many times the air changes in your house.  Remember that all buildings need to “breathe”.   Air needs to move in and out of a building…just not too much.  The code identified 7 air changes per hour at 50 pascals.  (Pascals is a unit of pressure.)  Imaging the air that you heat and cool changing 7 times per hour.   It sounds like a lot.   Most construction methods did not take into account the sealing of openings and most homes change air more than 7 x’s per hour.

The 2012 code became even more stringent on the testing.   By understanding methods of sealing the fenestration (windows and doors in a building envelope), sealing other openings (such as outlets and light fixtures) and utilizing the proper house wraps, the maximum number of air changes went from 7 down to 5.

It won’t be long before Pennsylvania and local code officials adopt the continually more stringent requirements.

The building envelope airflow can be identified by performing a blower door test.  This test utilizes equipment and software which is assembled in an exterior door and decreases the pressure in the home to the specified 50 pascals.  The software identified the amount of air that is escaping through the blower door equipment.   Utilizing other equipment in the test kit, areas of air flow can be identified and rectified prior to completion of the construction project.

Recently, John G. Moser & Son re-constructed a home in Bucks County with the intention to meet or exceed the requirements set in the 2009 IRC.  This meant that the planning and execution of the building envelope construction was to be sealed to meet the 7 air turns per hour or less.

Working with the code officials, the architect, our subcontractors and our suppliers, we planned and executed the plan using house wraps that allowed the proper air flow to unconditioned space and reduced the air flow to the conditioned space.  We paid special attention to the details of drywall, insulation, window and door sealing and educated our crew members throughout the process.

EXCITING NEWS came when the blower door test was performed.   We registered a 2.4 ACHPH (Air Changes Per Hour).    Exceeding the expectations was a terrific result for us.  More importantly, it is a great benefit to the homeowner.

The result of the extra attention to details will allow the homeowner to use less energy to heat and cool their home for years to come.   The savings in energy costs should far outweigh the additional costs of exceeding the code recommendations.

At John G. Moser & Son, we fully believe that properly executed plans with an eye on environmental and energy efficiencies, you can have a beautifully completed project.

So, what is between your exterior siding and interior finish walls, floors and ceilings, really do matter.

For more about John G. Moser & Son, please visit our website at CallMoser.com.   You can call for an appointment to see how John G. Moser & Son, Inc. can help build your dreams.

 

 

About John G. Moser & Son

With over 60 years of experience John G. Moser & Son is the company to choose when you want exceptional customer service, quality workmanship and affordable prices.

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321 Langhorne Ave
Langhorne, PA 19053
(215) 750-3919
FAX: (215) 750-3994

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Registered Home Improvement Contractor

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

PA005857