July/August 2021 | Vol. 26 No. 4
by Mike Stone, West Coast Field Representative, NEMA
After the National Electrical Code®, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), published by the International Code Council (ICC), is one of the most important codes to NEMA Members. First published in 1998, it is used widely throughout the United States, California being a notable exception since it has its own Title 24 Energy Code. The IECC has been updated every three years through the “governmental consensus” process that other codes such as the Building, Fire, and Residential codes published by ICC also use. In this process, the draft code language is developed through two public hearings in which all interested parties participate. Still, the final code language is voted on only by governmental Members from jurisdictions.
After the 2021 IECC was finalized, some parties objected to the outcome based on irregularities in the governmental voting process before publication. Most of the voting was online within the two weeks after the second hearing, and some of the outcomes were different from the in-person voting at the hearings. The same parties also disagreed with some new requirements in the 2021 IECC for electric-vehicle ready spaces and building electrification. They contended that these two items were not related to energy conservation and thus were outside the scope of the IECC.
After much consideration and several public appeal meetings, the ICC Board of Directors voted to develop the IECC through an ANSI Standards process instead of governmental consensus. They also overturned the requirements for EV-ready and building electrification because they were not under the scope of the IECC.
The International Code Council will need to form new commercial and residential committees and appoint Members to serve on these committees for the new IECC/ANSI Standard. There was considerable interest in committee membership, with more than 300 applications submitted to the ICC. Following the ANSI process, no more than 30 percent of any group, including governmental Members, can serve on a committee. Several NEMA Member representatives whose companies are Members of the NEMA High Performance Buildings Council (HPBC) and two of the NEMA Field Representatives have applied to serve on both committees. NEMA staff and Members have played an active role in developing the IECC for a number of code cycles. We are hopeful that our previous participation in and dedication to the process will be taken into account when the Board of Directors chooses committee Members.
The 2021 IECC saw significant improvements in energy conservation in automatic receptacle control, energy monitoring, additional energy-efficiency credits, and a new voluntary appendix for zero net energy buildings. The ICC has ensured that the new IECC/ANSI Standard will continue to advance energy conservation. The NEMA HPBC and staff look forward to participating in this new process. ei
NEMA Section Revises Guides
The Fire, Life Safety, Security, and Emergency Communications Section (BS-SB) recently published revisions to several of their guides, including: SB 13 Guide for Proper Use of Smoke Detectors in Duct Applications, SBP 2 Multi-Criteria Detectors (MCD), and SB 50 Emergency Communications Audio Intelligibility Applications Guide. For more information, contact Building Systems Division Industry Director Marc Neufcourt at firstname.lastname@example.org. ei