As more states adopt the 2015 IECC, insulation is top of mind for many builders, who may have to change their current practices in order to comply.

Recently adopted in New York state and Dallas, the new regulations include requirements for continuous exterior insulation and more stringent air tightness requirements, says building scientist Allen Sealock, product director for Huber Engineered Woods. The company recently introduced a new R-9 insulation thickness to its ZIP System R-sheathing line. With continuous foam insulation and a water resistive barrier already built into the panels, the system drastically decreases the number of products a builder has to source to meet IECC requirements for prescriptive walls.

Here, Sealock talks with BUILDER about what building pros need to know to prepare for code changes.

What states will be affected by the new codes?
The state of New York and Dallas are the two most recent jurisdictions to adopt 2015 IECC requirements, and it’s expected that other states will soon follow. From the architect to the builder to the code official, all professionals in the residential and commercial construction industries should familiarize themselves with the new requirements as well as economical ways to meet them.

What do they involve?
Under the 2015 IECC requirements, there are more prescriptive wall insulation requirements that include continuous, exterior insulation. The 2015 IECC also introduced more stringent requirements regarding the air tightness of structures, which is measured with the blower door. Another significant addition is the Energy Rating Index (ERI) compliance option. This pathway establishes a minimum energy rating, which is dependent on climate zone, that a building must achieve in order to meet code.

How will this change the way builders construct homes?
The general trend in energy codes includes a move towards more insulation and less air infiltration through the building envelope. As a result, builders are rethinking their framing and insulation plans.

How much more money will it cost the builders?
Change often requires a cost – whether it’s time, labor or additional materials, meeting these new requirements will come at some level of investment depending on how designers and builders choose to achieve it. Our products our innovated from a place of helping to create efficiency and therefore risk reduction, which may not always be quantifiable but is an added value in the equation to consider.

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