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Energy Codes and Continuous Insulation by J.W. Mollohan, CCPR, CEP, CSI Photo courtesy Dryvit Systems Inc. IN LIGHT OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S GOAL OF IMPROVING THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF NEW AND EXISTING BUILDINGS, MODEL ENERGY CODES ARE BECOMING MORE STRINGENT. The effort to increase energy efficiency has been further emphasized by initiatives set forth by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s State Energy Program, and a congressional mandate that all states, must comply, at a minimum, with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, no later than October 18, 2013. The most recent update to ASHRAE 90.1 is the standard on which the 2012 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is based. 1 Building enclosures and IECC As might be expected, IECC gives considerable attention to the building enclosure’s insulation levels. The code divides the United States into eight Climate Zones and establishes specific requirements for the type, amount, and placement of insulating materials—cavity and continuous—in the exterior enclosure. For exterior walls, the 2006 IECC requires both insulation in the stud cavity and continuous insulation (ci)—usually either board stock or sprayed polyurethane foam (SPF) outboard of the exterior sheathing for commercial steel-framed wall assemblies in Climate Zones 5 to 8. In 2009, IECC expanded the requirement for ci to include Climate Zones 3 and 4 and increased the required amount of ci in Zones 5 and 6. It now prescribes the use of exterior ci in nearly 90 percent of the country. 40 the construction specifier | june 2013 CS_June2013.indd 40 5/16/13 11:17:19 AM