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Illinois Accessibility Code and International Energy Conservation Code Updates in 2015

Kyle Leonard — Hr Green, Inc.

The first edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) was established in 1998 and the Illinois Accessibility Code (IAC) spurred from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1988. Expanding requirements brought forth from various other agencies over the years lead to the mandatory adoption of the 1997 edition of the Illinois Accessibility Code and the current 2012 International Energy Conservation Code as a state standard.

In the coming year, the IECC is due to be updated and the IAC is overdue to be updated as well. HR Green, Inc.’s Government Services professionals review and keep up with the changes in Building Codes and Code Enforcement. The Illinois Energy Conservation Code and the Illinois Accessibility Code are state mandated codes and HR Green urges leaders to stay informed of important changes.

International Energy Conservation Code

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Illinois ranks 11th in the country for policies and programs encouraging energy conservation. The report says Illinois is one of 14 states to make broad, long-term commitments to energy efficiency. Renovations, additions, repairs, and alterations to most existing commercial and residential buildings also must follow the conservation code. The goal of the code is to protect the environment and reduce energy consumption.

The new updates to the building code are expected to include tighter home enclosures (3 Air Changes per Hour during blower door testing, tighter than the current 5), and the addition of HERS Ratings as a compliance path for getting a permit. HERS Rating (Home Energy Rating System) is a process of computer modeling a house plan and simulating the dynamics of the energy use over time.

The new energy code will help to protect against homes developing drafts and cold rooms, air quality problems like mold and mildew, and durability nightmares.

In conventional construction across the U.S., most building projects do not incorporate verification and testing to ensure everything works as planned- for example, the bathroom fan may never have been turned on before the new homeowner flips the switch. Most consumers have no idea how rushed and messy the construction of a home can be, and the new energy code will help to protect against homes developing drafts and cold rooms, air quality problems like mold and mildew, and durability nightmares, not to mention energy bills that can match or exceed your mortgage payment.

Local governments are free to adopt stricter energy conservation laws for commercial buildings. However, for residential buildings, local governments may not adopt or regulate energy conservation standards either less or more stringent than the Illinois Energy Conservation Code. Exceptions which would allow local governments to regulate energy efficient standards in a more stringent manner are municipalities or counties which meet one of the following three provisions:

  1. A unit of local government that on or before May 15, 2009 adopted or incorporated by reference energy efficient building standards for residential building that are equivalent to or more stringent than the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code
  2. A unit of local government that on or before May 15, 2009 provided to the Capital Development Board identification of an energy efficient building code or amendment that is equivalent to or more stringent than the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code
  3. A municipality with a population of 1,000,000 or more

Illinois Accessibility Code

The Illinois Accessibility Code is rewritten about every ten years has not been altered since 1997 so it is likely the state will be taking a look at updating the code this year and implementing changes in 2016. The important element for local officials to remember is their local codes cannot be less strict than state code. Facilities that predate the code are generally not affected but their alterations would need to comply.

HR Green has licensed professionals on staff that are certified building and code enforcement inspectors, trained and educated in the latest code requirements and familiar with the towns they serve.

To learn more about the services we offer contact Frank Urbina at 815.759.8389 or e-mail him at furbina@hrgreen.com

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