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The Illinois Energy Conservation Code, Public Act 093-0936 (Illinois Energy Conservation Code [IECC] for Commercial Buildings) was signed into law in August, 2004. The Illinois Energy Conservation Code for Commercial Buildings became effective April 8, 2006. On October 9, 2007 the Law was revised to mandate the latest published edition, excluding supplements, of the International Energy Conservation Code. As of August 18, 2009 the Illinois Energy Conservation Code for Commercial Buildings is the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. On August 28, 2009, Public Act 096-0778 requiring an energy code for residential buildings was signed into law. Public Act 096-0778 was signed into law on August 28, 2009 amending the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Act by including residential buildings and amending the name of the act to the Energy Efficient Building Act. The new requirements for residential buildings became effective on January 29, 2010. Effective July 23rd, 2013 the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code was State Law.
The 2015 IECC became effective in Illinois on January 1, 2016. On July 1, 2017, Illinois Executive Order 17-03 transferred responsibility for the Illinois Energy Conservation Code from DCEO to Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The 2018 IECC is currently effective in the State of Illinois. Work has begun to adopt the 2021 IECC and is expected to be adopted fall of 2023.
When Does This Code Apply?
- Any new construction (additions, alterations, renovations and repairs) including window replacement
- Additions can comply alone or in combination with existing buildings
- Any building that is provided with an electrical service in excess of 100 amps (This includes garages, pole barns, etc)
- Any non-conditioned space that is altered to become conditioned space shall be required to be brought into full compliance with this code
- Unaltered portions
- Storm windows over existing fenestration
- Glass only replacements
- Existing ceiling, wall or floor cavities exposed during construction if already filled with insulation
- Where existing roof, wall or floor cavity isn't exposed
- Reroofing for roofs where neither sheathing nor insulation is exposed
There are two big terms to learn with this code:
- Prescriptive - required but can be lessened or eliminated in trade for compensating improvements elsewhere
- Mandatory - required and cannot be traded down, even in the simulated performance path.
- For our area, R-49 becomes the required insulation (table R402.1.1).
- The code provides tables in R-values and assumes standard truss systems. The code does encourage raised-heel trusses (also known as an energy truss).
- There are accommodations if rafters/trusses are not large enough for standard insulation.
- Access hatches and doors between conditioned and unconditioned spaces must be insulated and weather-stripped.
- If you have loose fill (blow-in insulation) you must provide access to all equipment that prevents damaging or compressing the insulation.
- For our area, R-20 becomes the required insulation. This can also be met with R-13 plus R-5 sheathing (table R402.1.1).
- Walls must be insulated including those next to unconditioned spaces
- Rim joists must be insulated
- Table R402.1.1 does address different types of wall construction (wood framed, mass, steel, etc.)
- Basement Walls must be insulated to R-15 continuous insulation or R-19 cavity insulation.
- Floors over unconditioned space require R-30 insulation and it must contain permanent contact with the underside of the subfloor.
- Slabs must be insulated to R-10 to a depth of 2 feet.This includes areas where there are walkout walls.
- Crawlspace walls must be insulated to R-15 continuous insulation or R-19 cavity insulation.
- Fenestration U-factors (windows, skylights and doors)
- Products must be NFRC-rated and -certified
- Skylights must meet a U-factor of 0.55
- Windows must meet a U-factor of 0.32
- Infiltration control measures-sealing to prevent air leaks (Table R402.4.1.1)
- Air barrier and thermal barrier - Exterior thermal envelope insulation for framed walls is installed in substantial contact and continous alignment with building envelope air barrier. Breaks and joints in the air barrier are filled or repaired. Air-permeable insulation is not used as a sealing material. Air-permeable insulation is inside of an air barrier.
- Celing/attic - Air barrier in any dropped ceiling/soffit is substantially aligned with insulation and any gas are sealed. Attic access, knee wall or dropdown is sealed.
- Walls - Corners and headers are insulated.
- Windows and doors - Space between window/door jambs and framing are sealed.
- Rim Joists - are insulated and include an air barrier.
- Floors (including above-garage and cantilevered floors) - Insulation is installed to maintain permanent contact with the underside of subfloor decking. Air barrier is installed at any exposed edge of insulation.
- Crawls space walls - Insulation is permanently attached to walls. Exposed earth in unvented crawl spaces is covered with a Class I vapor retarder with overlapping joints taped.
- Shafts, penetrations - Duct shafts, utility penetrations, knee walls and flue shafts opening to an exterior or unconditioned space are sealed.
- Narrow cavities - Batts in narrow cavities are cut to fit, or narrow cavities are filled by sprayed/blown insulation.
- Garage separation - Air sealing is provided between the garage and conditioned space.
- Recessed lighting - Recessed light fixtures are air tight, IC rated, and sealed to drywall.
- Plumbing and wiring - Insulation is placed between outside and pipes. Batt insulation is cut to fit around wiring and plumbing, or sprayed/blown insulation extends behind piping and wiring.
- Shower/tub on exterior wall - Shower adn tubs on exterior walls have insulation and an air barrier separating them from the exterior wall.
- Electrical/phone box on exterior walls - Air barrier extends behind boxes or air sealed-type boxes are installed.
- Common wall - Air barrier is installed in common wall between dwelling units.
- HVAC reister boots - HVAC register boots that penetrate building envelope are sealed to subfloor or drywall.
- Fireplace - Fireplace walls include an air barrier.
- Air Leakage (R402.4.1.2) - The building or dwelling unit shal be tested or verified as having an air leakage rate not exceeding 5 air changes per hour. Testing shall be done with a blower door test.
HVAC / Systems
- Equipment Efficiency
- Federal law establishes minimum efficiencies through Department of Energy rulemaking. IECC simply points to federal minimums.
- Ducts must be insulated (prescriptive) Supply ducts in attic require an R-8 rating. All other ducts require R-6. (R403.2)
- Sealing (mandatory) - Building framing cavities shall not be used as ducts or plenums (R403.2.3). Joints and seams must comply with IRC Section M1601.4.1.
- Duct tightness shall be verified by either post construction test or a rough-in test. Duct tightness test not required if air handler and all ducts are located within conditioned space.
- If primary heating system is a forced-air furnace there must be at least one programmable thermostat per dwelling unit. Must be initially programmed with heating point no higher than 70 degrees and cooling point no lower than 78 degrees.
- Heat pump controls are required to prevent supplementary electric-resistance heat when pump can meet the heating load.
- Service hot water system
- Circulating hot water systems shall be provided switch to turn off the system when not in use. (R403.4.1)
- Insulation for hot water pipe shall be a minimum of R-3 as required in table R403.4.2.
- Mechanical Ventilation - The building shall be provided with mechanical ventilation (R403.5).Outdoor air intakes and exhausts shall have automatic or gravity dampers that close when the ventilation system is not operating.
- Equipment sizing
- Load calculations determine the proper capacity (size) of equipment. The goal is to make sure system is big enough to ensure comfort but not bigger.
- Heating and cooling equipment shall be sized in accordance with ACCA Manual S on building loads calculated in accordance with ACCA Manual J or other approved heating and cooling methodologies.
- 75% of lamps in permanent fixtures must be high-efficiency. This is a simple count of bulbs, not fixtures or wattages. Examples would be compact fluorescent (CFL), light emitting diodes (LED), etc. (R404.1)
- Recessed lighting fixtures must be sealed with a gasket or caulk between the housing and interior wall or ceiling covering. They must also be Type IC rated and labeled as meeting ASTM E 283 (R402.4.4).
- Vapor-retardant pool covers are required on heated pools and inground permanently installed spas when heated to more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, unless over 70% of the energy for heating is from site-recovered energy (R403.9.3).
- Pool heaters must have a readily accessible on-off switch and can not have a continuously burning pilor light if fired by natural gas (R403.9.1).
- Snow melt systems must have an automatic or manual shutoff when the outdoor temperature is greater than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- New wood-burning fireplaces shall have gasketed doors and outdoor combustion air.
- Appliances are not addressed by this code
Most of these actions will be inspected during the normal permit process. There may be a few new inspections or time you need to have the inspector present. Upon completion of a project Section 401.3 requires a permanent certificate to be posted on or in the electrical distribution panel. The certificate is to clearly depict information for energy code compliance assessment by the field inspector.
As fuel costs continue to rise, and environmentally friendly actions become more mainstream, green building has seen a dramatic increase in popularity. On top of these issues, construction costs are skyrocketing and homeowners, businesses and developers want designs that last longer while taking into account their carbon footprint. Currently there are numerous organizations that are working together to develop a Green Building Code, and many cities in the U.S. have already adopted a green building code. Building green looks to be the wave of the future. Here is some information about Green Building you can consider for your next construction project. Also be sure to check out our Green Building Links section and downloads for additional resources.
What Is Green Building?
In a nutshell, green building means taking steps to create buildings that are safe and healthy for people and that protect our environment. While specific methods and products may vary from project to project, the basic principles of green building apply to all types of new construction and renovation, from remodeling a kitchen to constructing a courthouse. It can be helpful to think of green building as the convergence of three goals:
- Conserve natural resources
- Increase energy efficiency
- Improve indoor air quality
Green building is a "Whole-Systems" approach for designing and constructing buildings that conserve energy, water, and material resources and are healthier, safer, and more comfortable. In practical terms, green building includes:
- Using sun and wind to the building's advantage for natural heating, cooling, and daylighting
- Landscaping with native plants and using water efficiently
- Building quality, durable structures
- Insulating well and ventilating appropriately
- Incorporating salvaged, recycled, and sustainably harvested materials
- Maintaining healthy indoor air quality with appropriate building techniques and materials
- Using energy-efficient and water-saving appliances and fixtures
- Reducing and recycling construction waste
The Benefits of Green Building
In essence, building green means improving our design and construction practices so the buildings we renovate and build today will last longer, cost less to operate, and won't harm the health of workers or residents. Building green is good for Alameda County residents, workers, enterprises and communities. It's also good for the planet.
Advanced construction standards and a housing shortage for low- and moderate-income families have made manufactured/mobile homes attractive alternatives to traditionally built homes. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Division of Environmental Health administers several programs to ensure that people living or working in these are safe.
The IDPH regulates construction of manufactured/mobile homes located in Illinois. Their staff review plans for each model to be located in Illinois to ensure that these units meet minimum structural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical and energy conservation standards. About 1,300 manufactured/mobile homes are placed in Illinois annually.
This division also has responsibilities relating to manufactured/mobile homes. To ensure quality living conditions for people who reside in manufactured/mobile home communities, the division licenses all parks with five or more sites (except those located in home rule units). Staff inspects each park annually for license renewal, at which time they check the water supply, sewage disposal system, electrical system, lighting, road conditions, spacing of homes and garbage disposal. Their staff also reviews plans for all new parks and any additions to existing ones.
State law requires that all manufactured/mobile homes moved since January 1, 1980, be secured using equipment that meets standards adopted by IDPH. Although installers of tie down equipment must comply with these standards, the homeowner is ultimately responsible for properly securing the home.
Effective December 31, 2001, the Manufactured Home Quality Assurance Act requires all manufactured/mobile homes to be installed by an Illinois-licensed manufactured home installer or the homeowner. These homes must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. If instructions are not available, the homes must be installed in accordance with the IDPH Manufactured Home Installation Code.
For more information please visit the Illinois Department of Public Health - Manufactured and Modular Homes/Mobile Structures Page. The site contains many rules and regulations and other helpful information about communities and the installation of homes along with Landlord and Tenant rights.
Effective April 1, 2019, IDPH will no longer be a State Administrative Agent for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HUD Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program (DRP) provides timely resolution of disputes between manufacturers, retailers and installers when the parties cannot agree on a solution to a construction and/or safety defect with a manufactured home. HUD will be the point of contact for homeowners who are experiencing problems with manufactured homes. More information about the HUD Manufactured Home program is at https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/rmra/mhs/mhshome.
Rock Island County does have a Mobile Home and Mobile Home Parks Code (1986) that is available on our downloads page under the Zoning Section. The Zoning and Building Department does not have authority on the inside of manufactured/mobile homes, for issues contact the Health Department. However, if you are moving a manufactured/mobile home to a new site or the power and/or gas have been shut off for more than one year, the utility company will not hook up gas or electric until the Rock Island County Building Department has done an inspection. The electrical connections must meet the 2011 National Electric Code. The gas lines must hold a pressure of 10 PSI for an hour. A homeowner may do any of this work themselves, but any contractor must be appropriately licensed.
Modular Homes shall meet regulations set forth by the Illinois Department of Public Heath, including 430 ILCS 115 Illinois Modular Dwelling and Mobile Structure Safety Act, Illinois Administrative Code , Title 77, Chapter 1, Subchapter q, Part 880 Illinois Modular Dwellings and Mobile Structures Code, and any local code amendments. A third party inspection report shall be provided along with a building permit application to verify that the modular home meets adopted codes.
A Post Frame Building or Pole Barn is a alternative building technique to timber framing or conventional construction. These have become very popular building types that we see often. They are considered an accessory building by the zoning ordinance and are allowed where accessory buildings are.
The main difference we see with post frame construction comes during the building permit process. Post frame construction is not detailed in the building code, it is an alternative design. As an alternative design Post Frame Buildings are required to be designed by an Illinois Licensed Design Professional. They must be designed to our adopted Building Codes. Designers take note that we have an amendment to the design snow load.
It has also become very popular type of construction for new homes, sometimes called Barndominium, Shome, Shouse, Pole Barn Homes, etc. While this type of construction is allowed, our Zoning Ordinance adds a few design requirements that needs to be followed. We define a One-Family Dwelling as "A building designed exclusively for use and occupancy by one family, and entirely separated from any other dwelling by space totaling at least 900 square feet and the structures length does not exceed four times its width and is affixed to a permanent masonry or concrete footing and/or foundation as defined in the Rock Island County Building Codes as adopted. The structure shall have a minimum 3:12 nominal roof pitch, conventional residential roofing material, conventional residential siding which must extend to within (8) eight inches of the ground elevation except when placed upon a masonry or concrete foundation and 6-inch minimum eave overhang." The permanent concrete foundation must extent to frost protection of 42 inches below grade for the perimeter of the living space.
There are two categories of solar projects: Solar Private and Commercial Solar Energy Facilities. Both require building permits.
Solar Private can be roof or ground-mounted solar collectors and supplementary solar energy equipment that is accessory to a residential or nonresidential use and does not exceed two megawatts.
Solar private is designed for onsite use by the owner or tenant of the residential or nonresidential use.
Solar Private is permitted in any zoning district as long as it is an accessory to the primary use.
Solar Private must abide by the bulk regulations, density and dimensional standards of the underlying zoning district in which it is located, similar to an accessory structure.
Use the Solar Private Application (PDF) or engineered drawings may also be submitted.
Commercial Solar Energy Facility
Any device or assembly of devices that (i) is ground installed and (ii) uses solar energy from the sun for generating electricity for the primary purpose of wholesale or retail sale and not primarily for consumption on the property on which the device or devices reside.
A Commercial Solar Energy Facility is permitted as a special use in the Agricultural, Suburban Estates and Industrial zoning districts and shall meet the requirements set forth in Section D Development Standards of our Zoning Ordinance.