Should ICC adopt the “30 percent solution” as part of the 2009 codes?

John G. Swanson
September 17, 2008


The Talk...Page 2

Results from Last Week's Poll


The past week’s poll results reveal a pretty sharp divide within the industry. I have definitely sensed that divide on numerous developments related to energy efficiency. Whether it’s the codes, Energy Star or within our own associations, some within the industry want to see the envelope pushed while others see envelope pushing costing too much. It’s interesting to see nearly a 50/50 split on this issue.

My initial Talk noted that NAHB had commented that “the 30 percent solution”—an effort to make houses built under the 2009 codes 30 percent more energy efficient than those constructed under current codes—was supported by, among others, the window industry. I certainly knew there were some companies that support the idea, but I also knew there were many within our industry that opposed the idea. Tom Culp, who works with the Aluminum Extruders Council and the Glazing Industry Code Council, wrote to make sure I knew that:

“Don’t be fooled – it is not just NAHB opposing this. In fact, most fenestration associations also have positions strongly opposing the 30 percent solution, including AAMA, GICC, AEC, and AIMCAL. WDMA is neutral as far as I know, although I know there are several concerned members.” He then goes on to point out that major support for the 30 percent solution is coming from really only one industry company. “The 30 percent solution is highly flawed and prejudicial towards certain products,” he concludes.

Our poll results indicate that not only is NAHB wrong in suggesting “the window industry” is backing the 30 percent solution, but our writer may be wrong in thinking that there is only little industry support for the idea.

I don’t know how much “window industry” support or opposition will matter when it comes to this week’s code hearings. I have no idea whether the 30 percent solution will make it into the 2009 I-codes. I do suspect, however, that when it comes to energy codes, standards and regulations, we will continue to see some companies supporting new more stringent measures and those opposing them. Energy efficiency may be front and center as an issue now, but that’s been the case for other performance criteria and for certification and testing requirements.

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