2018 International Green Construction Code released, delay in NYC new construction safety requirements, document helps home builders reach net zero energy goals with propane, fate of new energy efficiency standards for manufactured homes, new versions of DOE’s EnergyPlus Engine and the OpenStudio software development kit released
New York City’s New Construction Safety Requirements are Delayed
New York City’s new construction safety law will be pushed back at least six months. The new law, passed by the City Council last year, requires all construction workers to have completed 30 hours of safety training by Dec. 1. Safety managers and other supervisory positions are required to meet more stringent requirements. The new deadline will be June 1, 2019.
The law was designed to be phased in with the 30 hours for workers by December and an additional 10 by fall 2020. It doesn’t seem that contractors will be able to meet the upcoming deadline, though.
One leader of a contractors association said that the requirement is a more massive initiative than many people think. The number of workers who have needed training has overwhelmed providers. Without the extension, many construction workers would not be compliant with the law, putting contractors at risk of fines and project delays.
2018 International Green Construction Code Released
The 2018 International Green Construction Code (2018 IgCC) has been released. The 2018 IgCC is a joint initiative of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), International Code Council (ICC), ASHRAE, and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). It aligns the technical requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/ICC/USGBC/IES 189.1-2017-Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings with ICC’s multi-stakeholder IgCC.
The updated version will help governments streamline code development and adoption, according to an ASHRAE news release. “The 2018 IgCC is now a unified code that emphasizes adoption, ease of use, and enforcement for building projects,” the release says.
“Our hope is that building professionals and policymakers alike adopt better, greener building strategies that help them better implement LEED and achieve higher performance in sustainability,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC.
New Versions of DOE’s EnergyPlus Engine and the OpenStudio Software Development Kit Released
The U.S. Department of Energy and the national labs have released updated versions of their open-source, whole-building energy modeling tools: the EnergyPlus engine and the OpenStudio software development kit (SDK) and Application. EnergyPlus 9.0.1 is a traditional update that resolves over 70 bugs and issues, while adding new features. The new features include:
- WinCalc engine integration
- ASHRAE Fan Energy Index (FEI) calculations
- Inclusion of fan heat in cooling coil sizing calculations
- AirflowNetwork enhancements to allow multiple primary air loops
OpenStudio 2.7.0 supports EnergyPlus version, 9.0.1. The new release includes improvements to the Application Programming Interface (API), Command Line Interface (CLI), and the OpenStudio Standards gem. New features include:
- API access to multiple HVAC air-loops per zone
- API access to ExternalFile and ScheduleFile objects
- CLI access to custom Ruby gems
- OpenStudio Server enhancements for Resque job-queuing environments
- Miscellaneous OpenStudio Standards fixes and new feature for commercial prototype building models
Both EnergyPlus and OpenStudio are available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux Ubuntu platforms.
Document Helps Home Builders Reach Net Zero Energy Goals with Propane
The Propane Education & Research Council released a new infographic that shows how incorporating high-efficiency propane appliances can help builders attain net zero energy standards. Coupled with other building strategies, propane appliances including furnaces, water heating, cooking, fireplaces, and clothes dryers, are an affordable option to achieve net zero, the council says.
The council’s infographic is available for free download on BuildWithPropane.com. It contains tips for builders, including:
- Building and design strategies to meet ZNE standards
- The difference between site energy and source energy measurement
- Propane source energy ratios compared with other power sources
- How to measure net zero progress using the HERS Index
- Three ways to lower a home’s HERS Index score
- Results and benefits of propane appliances
Fate of New Energy Efficiency Standards for Manufactured Homes Unclear
Seven years after failing to meet a Congressional deadline for a new manufactured home energy efficiency standard, the U.S. Department of Energy recently issued a Request for Information for alternative approaches for a new standard. Congress in 2007 had directed DOE to set energy efficiency standards for manufactured homes based on the most recent version of the voluntary International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), with a 2011 final rule deadline.
The proposed rule ultimately did not clear the federal government’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) process, and was withdrawn by DOE on January 31, 2017. The RFI describes options for compliance based on the cost of the energy-saving options, and a labeling system that would provide customers information about the efficiency of a home, but would not provide a required minimum efficiency level. These approaches do not appear to meet Congress’s requirement that standards for manufactured housing be based on the most recent version of the IECC, according to an article posted by the Natural Resources Defense Council.