Energy Code

WAC 51-11-0502

Building envelope requirements.

502.1.4 Insulation:

502.1.4.1 General: All insulating materials shall comply with sections 2603 and/or 719 of the International Building Code. Substantial contact of the insulation with the surface being insulated is required. All insulation materials shall be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve proper densities and maintain uniform R-values and shall be installed in a manner which will permit inspection of the manufacturer’s R-value identification mark. To the maximum extent possible, insulation shall extend over the full component area to the intended R-value.

The thickness of roof/ceiling insulation that is either blown in or spray-applied shall be identified by inches of thickness, density and R-value markers installed at least one for every 300 square feet (28 m2) through the attic, ceiling space. In attics, the markers shall be affixed to the trusses or joists and marked with the minimum initial installed thickness with numbers a minimum 1.0 inch (25 mm) in height. Each marker shall face the attic access. The thickness of installed attic insulation shall meet or exceed the minimum initial installed thickness shown by the marker.

502.1.4.2 Insulation Materials: All insulation materials including facings such as vapor barriers or breather papers installed within floor/ceiling assemblies, roof/ceiling assemblies, walls, crawl spaces, or attics shall have a flame spread rating of less than 25 and a smoke density not to exceed 450 when tested in accordance with ASTM E84-01.

EXCEPTIONS: 1. Foam plastic insulation shall comply with section 2603 of the International Building Code.
2. When such materials are installed in concealed spaces of Types III, IV and V construction, the flame spread and smoke developed limitations do not apply to facing, provided that the facing is installed in substantial contact with the unexposed surface of the ceiling, floor or wall finish.
3. Cellulose insulation shall comply with section 719 of the International Building Code.

502.1.4.3 Clearances: Where required, insulation shall be installed with clearances according to manufacturer’s specifications. Insulation shall be installed so that required ventilation is unobstructed. For blown or poured loose fill insulation, clearances shall be maintained through installation of a permanent retainer.

502.1.4.4 Access Hatches and Doors: Access doors from conditioned spaces to unconditioned spaces (e.g., attics and crawl spaces) shall be weatherstripped and insulated to a level equivalent to the insulation on the surrounding surfaces. Access shall be provided to all equipment which prevents damaging or compressing the insulation. A wood framed or equivalent baffle or retainer must be provided when loose fill insulation is installed, the purpose of which is to prevent the loose fill insulation from spilling into the living space when the attic access is opened, and to provide a permanent means of maintaining the installed R-value of the loose fill insulation.

502.1.4.5 Roof/Ceiling Insulation: Where two or more layers of rigid board insulation are used in a roof assembly, the vertical joints between each layer shall be staggered. Open-blown or poured loose fill insulation may be used in attic spaces where the slope of the ceiling is not more than 3 feet in 12 and there is at least 30 inches of clear distance from the top of the bottom chord of the truss or ceiling joist to the underside of the sheathing at the roof ridge. When eave vents are installed, baffling of the vent openings shall be provided so as to deflect the incoming air above the surface of the insulation. Baffles shall be, rigid material, resistant to wind driven moisture. Requirements for baffles for ceiling insulation shall meet the International Building Code section 1203.2 for minimum ventilation requirements. When feasible, the baffles shall be installed from the top of the outside of the exterior wall, extending inward, to a point 6 inches vertically above the height of noncompressed insulation, and 12 inches vertically above loose fill insulation.

502.1.4.6 Wall Insulation: Insulation installed in exterior walls shall comply with the provisions of this section. All wall insulation shall fill the entire framed cavity. Exterior wall cavities isolated during framing shall be fully insulated to the levels of the surrounding walls. All faced insulation shall be face stapled to avoid compression.

EXCEPTION: Framed cavity can be empty or partially filled provided:
1. The wall assembly calculations are performed along with a completed performance calculation for the whole building; and
2. Insulation installed in partially filled cavities is not included in the performance calculation.

502.1.4.7 Floor Insulation: Floor insulation shall be installed in a permanent manner in substantial contact with the surface being insulated. Insulation supports shall be installed so spacing is no more than 24 inches on center. Foundation vents shall be placed so that the top of the vent is below the lower surface of the floor insulation.

EXCEPTIONS: 1. Insulation may be omitted from floor areas over heated basements, heated garages or underfloor areas used as HVAC supply plenums. When foundation walls are insulated, the insulation shall be attached in a permanent manner. The insulation shall not block the airflow through foundation vents when installed. When foundation vents are not placed so that the top of the vent is below the lower surface of the floor insulation, a permanently attached baffle shall be installed at an angle of 30° from horizontal, to divert air flow below the lower surface of the floor insulation.
2. Substantial contact with the surface being insulated is not required in enclosed floor/ceiling assemblies containing ducts where full depth insulation is installed between the duct and the exterior surface.

502.1.4.8 Slab-On-Grade: Slab-on-grade insulation shall be placed on the outside of the foundation or on the inside of the foundation wall. The insulation shall extend downward from the top of the slab for a minimum distance of 24 inches or downward to at least the bottom of the slab and then horizontally to the interior or exterior for the total distance of 24 inches. Above grade insulation shall be protected. A 2-inch by 2-inch (maximum) nailer may be placed at the finished floor elevation for attachment of interior finish materials.

502.1.4.9 Radiant Slabs: The entire area of a radiant slab shall be thermally isolated from the soil, with a minimum of R-10 insulation. The insulation shall be an approved product for its intended use. If a soil gas control system is present below the radiant slab, which results in increased convective flow below the radiant slab, the radiant slab shall be thermally isolated from the sub-slab gravel layer. R-10 radiant slab insulation is required for all compliance paths.

502.1.4.10 Below Grade Walls: Below grade exterior wall insulation used on the exterior (cold) side of the wall shall extend from the top of the below grade wall to the top of the footing and shall be approved for below grade use. Above grade insulation shall be protected.

Insulation used on the interior (warm) side of the wall shall extend from the top of the below grade wall to the below grade floor level.

502.1.5 Glazing and Door U-factors: Glazing and door U-factors shall be determined in accordance with sections 502.1.5.1 and 502.1.5.2. All products shall be labeled with the NFRC certified or default U-factor. The labeled U-factor shall be used in all calculations to determine compliance with this Code. Sealed insulating glass shall conform to, or be in test for, ASTM E-774-81 class A.

502.1.5.1 Standard Procedure for Determination of Glazing U-factors: U-factors for glazing shall be determined, certified and labeled in accordance with the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) Product Certification Program (PCP), as authorized by an independent certification and inspection agency licensed by the NFRC. Compliance shall be based on the Residential Model Size. Product samples used for U-factor determinations shall be production line units or representative of units as purchased by the consumer or contractor. Products that are listed in the NFRC Certified Products Directory or certified to the NFRC standard shall not use default values.

EXCEPTIONS: 1. Glazing products without NFRC ratings may be assigned default U-factors from Table 10-6A for vertical glazing and from Table 10-6E for overhead glazing.
2. Units without NFRC ratings produced by a small business may be assigned default U-factors from Table 10-6A for garden windows, from Table 10-6B for other vertical glazing, and from Table 10-6E for overhead glazing.

502.1.5.2 Standard Procedure for Determination of Door U-factors: All doors, including fire doors, shall be assigned default U-factors from Table 10-6C.

EXCEPTIONS: 1. U-factors determined, certified and labeled in accordance with the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) Product Certification Program (PCP), as authorized by an independent certification and inspection agency licensed by the NFRC.
2. The default values for the opaque portions of doors shall be those listed in Table 10-6C, provided that the U-factor listed for a door with a thermal break shall only be allowed if both the door and the frame have a thermal break.
3. One unlabeled or untested exterior swinging door with the maximum area of 24 square feet may be installed for ornamental, security or architectural purposes. Products using this exception shall not be included in the U-factor calculation requirements, however glazing area shall be included in glazing area calculations.

502.1.6 Moisture Control:

502.1.6.1 Vapor Retarders: Vapor retarders shall be installed on the warm side (in winter) of insulation as specified in the following cases.

EXCEPTION: Vapor retarder installed with not more than 1/3 of the nominal R-value between it and the conditioned space.

502.1.6.2 Floors: Floors separating conditioned space from unconditioned space shall have a vapor retarder installed. The vapor retarder shall have a one perm dry cup rating or less (i.e., four mil (0.004 inch thick) polyethylene or kraft faced material).

502.1.6.3 Roof/Ceilings: Roof/ceiling assemblies where the ventilation space above the insulation is less than an average of 12 inches shall be provided with a vapor retarder. Faced batt insulation where used as a vapor retarder shall be face stapled. Single rafter joist vaulted ceiling cavities shall be of sufficient depth to allow a minimum one inch vented air space above the insulation.

EXCEPTION: Unvented attic assemblies (spaces between the ceiling joists of the top story and the roof rafters) shall be permitted if all the following conditions are met:
1. The unvented attic space is completely contained within the building thermal envelope.
2. No interior vapor retarders are installed on the ceiling side (attic floor) of the unvented attic assembly.
3. Where wood shingles or shakes are used, a minimum 1/4 inch (6 mm) vented air space separates the shingles or shakes and the roofing underlayment above the structural sheathing.
4. Any air-impermeable insulation shall be a vapor retarder, or shall have a vapor retarder coating or covering in direct contact with the underside of the insulation.
5. Either items a, b or c shall be met, depending on the air permeability of the insulation directly under the structural roof sheathing.
a. Air-impermeable insulation only. Insulation shall be applied in direct contact to the underside of the structural roof sheathing.
b. Air-permeable insulation only. In addition to the air-permeable insulation installed directly below the structural sheathing, rigid board or sheet insulation shall be installed directly above the structural roof sheathing as specified per WA Climate Zone for condensation control.
i. Climate Zone #1 R-10 minimum rigid board or air-impermeable insulation R-value.
ii. Climate Zone #2 R-25 minimum rigid board or air-impermeable insulation R-value.
c. Air-impermeable and air-permeable insulation. The air-impermeable insulation shall be applied in direct contact to the underside of the structural roof sheathing as specified per WA Climate Zone for condensation control. The air-permeable insulation shall be installed directly under the air-impermeable insulation.
i. Climate Zone #1 R-10 minimum rigid board or air-impermeable insulation R-value.
ii. Climate Zone #2 R-25 minimum rigid board or air-impermeable insulation R-value.

502.1.6.4: Vapor retarders shall not be required in roof/ceiling assemblies where the ventilation space above the insulation averages 12 inches or greater.

502.1.6.5: Vapor retarders shall not be required where all of the insulation is installed between the roof membrane and the structural roof deck.

502.1.6.6 Walls: Walls separating conditioned space from unconditioned space shall have a vapor retarder installed. Faced batt insulation shall be face stapled.

EXCEPTION: For climate zone 1, wood framed walls with a minimum of nominal R-5 continuous insulated sheathing installed outside of the framing and structural sheathing. For climate zone 2, wood framed walls with a minimum of nominal R-7.5 continuous insulated sheathing installed outside of the framing and structural sheathing. The interior cavity insulation for this exception shall be a maximum of nominal R-21.

502.1.6.7 Ground Cover: A ground cover of six mil (0.006 inch thick) black polyethylene or approved equal shall be laid over the ground within crawl spaces. The ground cover shall be overlapped 12 inches minimum at the joints and shall extend to the foundation wall.

EXCEPTION: The ground cover may be omitted in crawl spaces if the crawl space has a concrete slab floor with a minimum thickness of 3-1/2 inches.

502.2 Thermal Criteria for Single-Family Residential:

502.2.1 UA Calculations: The proposed UA as calculated using Equations 2 and 3 shall not exceed the target UA as calculated using Equation 1. For the purpose of determining equivalent thermal performance, the glazing area for the target UA shall be calculated using values in Table 5-1. The opaque door area shall be the same in the target UA and the proposed UA. When showing compliance with Table 9-1 using options 3a, 3b or 3c, the proposed design shall be less than the target UA by the fraction noted in the table.

EXCEPTION: Log and solid timber walls that have a minimum average thickness of 3.5″ and with space heat type other than electric resistance, are exempt from wall target UA and proposed UA calculations.

502.2.2 Space Heat Type: The following two categories comprise all space heating types:

1. Electric Resistance: Space heating systems which include baseboard units, radiant units and forced air units as either the primary or secondary heating system.

EXCEPTION: Electric resistance systems for which the total electric heat capacity in each individual dwelling unit does not exceed the greater of: 1) One thousand watts (1000 w) per dwelling unit, or; 2) One watt per square foot (1 w/ft2) of the gross floor area.

2. Other: All gas, wood, oil and propane space heating systems, unless electric resistance is used as a secondary heating system, and all heat pump space heating systems. (See EXCEPTIONS, Electric Resistance, section 502.2.2 above.)

502.3 Reserved.

502.4 Air Leakage:

502.4.1 General: The requirements of this section shall apply to all buildings and structures, or portions thereof, and only to those locations separating outdoor ambient conditions from interior spaces that are heated or mechanically cooled.

502.4.2 Doors and Windows, General: Exterior doors and windows shall be designed to limit air leakage into or from the building envelope. Site-constructed doors and windows shall be sealed in accordance with Section 502.4.3.

502.4.3 Seals and Weatherstripping:

a. Exterior joints around windows and door frames, openings between walls and foundation, between walls and roof and wall panels; openings at penetrations of utility services through walls, floors and roofs; and all other openings in the building envelope and all other openings in between units shall be sealed, caulked, gasketed or weatherstripped to limit air leakage. Other exterior joints and seams shall be similarly treated, or taped, or covered with moisture vapor permeable housewrap.

b. All exterior doors or doors serving as access to an enclosed unheated area shall be weatherstripped to limit leakage around their perimeter when in a closed position.

c. Site built windows are exempt from testing but shall be made tight fitting. Fixed lights shall have glass retained by stops with sealant or caulking all around. Operating sash shall have weatherstripping working against overlapping trim and a closer/latch which will hold the sash closed. The window frame to framing crack shall be made tight with caulking, overlapping membrane or other approved technique.

d. Openings that are required to be fire resistive are exempt from this section.

502.4.4 Recessed Luminaires: When installed in contact with the building envelope, recessed luminaires shall be Type IC rated and certified under ASTM E283 to have no more than 2.0 cfm air movement from the conditioned space to the ceiling cavity. The luminaire shall be tested at 75 Pascals or 1.57 lbs/ft2 pressure difference and have a label attached, showing compliance with this test method. Recessed luminaires shall be installed with a gasket or caulk between the fixture and ceiling to prevent air leakage.

502.4.5 Building Air Leakage Testing: Building envelope air leakage control shall be considered acceptable when tested to have an air leakage is less than 0.00030 Specific Leakage Area (SLA) when tested with a blower door at a pressure of 50 Pascals (0.2 inch w.g.). Testing shall occur any time after rough in and after installation of penetrations of the building envelope, including penetrations for utilities, plumbing, electrical, ventilation, and combustion appliances and sealing thereof. When required by the building official, the test shall be conducted in the presence of department staff. The blower door test results shall be recorded on the certificate required in Section 105.4.

EXCEPTIONS: 1. Additions less than 750 square feet.
2. Once a visual inspection has confirmed the presence of a gasket (see Section 502.4), operable windows and doors manufactured by a small business shall be permitted to be sealed off at the frame prior to the test.

Specific Leakage Area (SLA) shall be calculated as follows:

SLA = (CFM50 x 0.055) / (CFA x 144)

Where:

CFM50 = Blower door fan flow at 50 Pascal pressure difference
CFA = Conditioned Floor Area of the housing unit

During testing:

1. Exterior windows and doors, fireplace and stove doors shall be closed, but not sealed;

2. Dampers shall be closed, but not sealed; including exhaust, intake, makeup air, back draft, and flue dampers;

3. Interior doors connecting conditioned spaces shall be open; access hatches to conditioned crawl spaces and conditioned attics shall be open; doors connecting to unconditioned spaces closed but not sealed;

4. Exterior openings for continuous operation ventilation systems and heat recovery ventilators shall be closed and sealed;

5. Heating and cooling system(s) shall be turned off;

6. HVAC ducts supply and return registers shall not be sealed.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.025, 19.27A.045. 10-03-115, 10-13-113 and 10-22-056, § 51-11-0502, filed 1/20/10, 6/21/10 and 10/28/10, effective 1/1/11. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.025, 19.27A.045 and chapters 19.27, 19.27A, and 34.05 RCW. 09-06-024, § 51-11-0502, filed 2/23/09, effective 7/1/10. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.022, 19.27A.025, 19.27A.045, and chapters 19.27 and 34.05 RCW. 07-01-089, § 51-11-0502, filed 12/19/06, effective 7/1/07. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.025, 19.27A.045 and chapters 19.27, 19.27A, and 34.05 RCW. 05-01-013, § 51-11-0502, filed 12/2/04, effective 7/1/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.020, 19.27A.045. 04-01-106, § 51-11-0502, filed 12/17/03, effective 7/1/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.025, 19.27A.045. 02-01-112, § 51-11-0502, filed 12/18/01, effective 7/1/02; 01-03-010, § 51-11-0502, filed 1/5/01, effective 7/1/01; 98-03-003, § 51-11-0502, filed 1/8/98, effective 7/1/98. Statutory Authority: Chapters 19.27 and 19.27A RCW and 1994 c 226. 95-01-126, § 51-11-0502, filed 12/21/94, effective 6/30/95. Statutory Authority: Chapters 19.27, 19.27A and 34.05RCW. 94-05-059, § 51-11-0502, filed 2/10/94, effective 4/1/94. Statutory Authority: Chapter 19.27A RCW. 92-01-140, § 51-11-0502, filed 12/19/91, effective 7/1/92. Statutory Authority: RCW 19.27A.020 and 1990 c 2. 91-01-112, § 51-11-0502, filed 12/19/90, effective 7/1/91.]

Notes:

Reviser’s note: Notice of Objection: The Joint Administrative Rules Review Committee (Committee) finds that, in adopting the 2009 proposed changes to the State Energy Code, Chapter 51-11 WAC, on November 20, 2009, the State Building Code Council (Council) failed to comply with all requirements of the law and failed to adequately respond to the Committee’s request for additional economic impact and cost-benefit analyses prior to adoption.On October 1, 2009, the Committee found that the Small Business Economic Impact Statement (SBEIS) for the proposed changes filed with the Code Reviser failed to comply with all requirements of law. The Committee requested that the Council conduct a cost-benefit analysis pursuant to RCW 34.05.328 and amend the SBEIS to provide additional economic impact information, including an estimate of the number of jobs that would be created or lost as a result of compliance with all the proposed rules, as required by RCW 19.85.040 (2)(d).The Council provided the Committee with information and data on November 18, 2009. On December 2, 2009, the Committee found that the Council failed to adequately respond to the Committee’s request for additional data. Specifically, the Committee found that the Council failed to amend the SBEIS to (a) estimate the number of jobs that would be created or lost as a result of compliance with the proposed changes; and (b) support the SBEIS with a detailed and rigorous costs analysis of the cumulative impact of all the changes. In addition, the Committee found that the Council failed to provide the Committee with a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed changes and pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.05.328.

The Committee strongly supports a process that makes thoughtful and informed progress towards changes that result in improved energy efficiency in our buildings, wherever practicable. While the Council worked diligently, it is the opinion of the Committee that the Council did not fully develop and consider the economic impacts and costs versus benefits of these significant changes to our Energy Code. Furthermore, it is the opinion of the Committee that the Council and the Legislature need this information to fully evaluate the value, impacts, and consequences of the proposed codes, with due diligence to their respective fiduciary responsibilities, in order to create the best informed public policy.

As a result, the Committee recommends that the Governor suspend the adoption and implementation of the changes to the Energy Code, Chapter 51-11 WAC, adopted by the Council on November 20, 2009, until such time as a more adequate analysis has been completed and considered by the appropriate bodies.

For all of the above stated reasons, the Committee objects to the changes to the State Energy Code, Chapter 51-11 WAC, that were adopted by the Council on November 20, 2009, and hereby directs the Code Reviser, pursuant to RCW 34.05.640(4), to publish this Notice of Objection in the Washington State Register and along with any publication in the Washington Administrative Code of changes to Chapter 51-11 WAC that were adopted by the Council in 2009 and filed with the Code Reviser.