DOE Withdraws Onerous Proposed Residential Gas Furnace and Commercial Gas Minimum Efficiency Requirements.
We are pleased to report that in today’s Federal Register, the Department of Energy (DOE) has “decided to issue a final interpretive rule (attached) determining that, in the context of residential furnaces, commercial water heaters, and similarly-situated products/equipment, use of non-condensing technology (and associated venting) constitute a performance-related “feature” under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) that cannot be eliminated through adoption of an energy conservation standard. In light of this final interpretation, also  published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register (attached), DOE withdraws its March 12, 2015 proposed rule and September 23, 2016 supplemental proposed rule for energy conservation standards for non-weatherized gas furnace and mobile home gas furnaces, as well as its May 31, 2016 proposed rule for energy conservation standards for commercial water heating equipment.”  The BECS Committee has advocated the DOE issuance of separate product classes for condensing type and non-condensing type vented gas appliances and equipment for over 10 years and this recognition by DOE  for the justification of separate product classes is the culmination of a long and intensive effort not only by AGA but by the American Pubic Gas Association, National Propane Gas Association,  National Gas Supply Association, National Association of Home Builders,  and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association.  A special recognition is appropriate for AGA member company Spire Inc. staff who shouldered the bulk of the  comment development and legal arguments that resulted in today’s DOE welcome decision. It should be noted that today’s DOE decisions are effective today, January 15, 2021. DOE is now expected to initiate a new rulemaking that would establish new, proposed minimum efficiency requirements for non-condensing type furnaces and commercial water heaters  and condensing types of these products thus retaining the availability of both types of products.  Finally, it should also be recognized that there are many advocates who are not supportive of these DOE decisions and it is anticipated that efforts will be made to overturn these DOE actions that could come in the form of legal challenges, congressional actions, etc. so natural gas supporters need to be vigilant as these actions are introduced.
DOE Withdrawal of Proposed Rules Will Save Consumers Purchasing the Covered Products $Millions.
As discussed in the previous item on DOE’s final “Interpretative Rule” and withdrawal of proposed minimum efficiency standards for residential gas furnaces and commercial water heaters, AGA has begun to develop estimates of the potential savings to consumers from not having to purchase more expensive, higher efficiency models of these products than they might otherwise due to higher minimum efficiencies and elimination of cost-effective options for those products.  As DOE analysis has consistently shown, its proposed minimum efficiency levels have negatively impacted many consumers in terms of life cycle cost of their appliance purchases.  Industry has commented extensively on how DOE’s life cycle cost calculations are biased in underestimating true consumer life cycle costs.  However, beyond the contentious debate over life cycle cost impacts, it is indisputable that eliminating lower cost models of furnaces and commercial water heater inevitably increase both first costs for the appliances and, in cases where installation cost “adders” to accommodate different venting systems and other installation-related designs in the building envelope, increase total consumer cost of purchasing these products.  This latter cost impact is particularly important in the appliance replacement market where more modifications to venting and other installation configurations are required than in new construction.  In analyzing the cost increase to consumers, much of the DOE information on future shipments of the covered products, market shares for different capacities and installed systems, and “design options” for incremental improvements in efficiency can be used with reasonable confidence.  All of these data support the observation of higher consumer costs of purchase for higher efficiencies required in standards.  However, more realistic and higher installed costs analyzed and presented by industry to DOE should be used for the underlying per-unit cost calculation instead of DOE’s approach of estimating build-up costs, markups, and other ad hoc methods to arrive at installed costs. That approach has been widely criticized and shown to be inconsistent with current and likely future realities of consumer facing purchase decisions.  In developing aggregated consumer purchasing costs into the future, these per-unit costs combined with the forecasts DOE has presented for both baseline (no change) minimum efficiencies and its proposed minimum efficiencies provide the basis for societal savings in consumers’ purchase costs.
American Society of Gas Engineers (ASGE) Membership and Technical Conference Information
At Wednesday’s BECS Committee meeting, BECS Committee member Eric Bruton, C.G.E. / Director of Technical Services who represents ASGE on the BECS Committee discussed the membership of ASGE and this year’s ASGE Technical Conference scheduled for June 6 through the 8th at the South Point Resort in Las Vegas.  Also below you will find a link to the ASGE website where members of the BECS committee can find more information on ASGE. BECS Committee members are encouraged to review the material about ASGE that can be found here: and if you have any questions about the association, membership, mission, membership, etc., contact Eric at , Office: 770-529-2000 Ext.124 
State Codes Activity Update – Members Comments Please.
[This is a weekly feature of the “Friday Update” covering state code calendar activities as presented by the online utility “Fiscal Note,” which is sponsored by APGA and AGA Code and Standards. AGA staff would like your comments on retaining this feature for future End Use Codes and Standards Update]
Recent and Upcoming Activity Alerts
The Construction Industry Energy Board is working to review and adopt the 2021 Oregon Zero Energy Ready Commercial Code (OZERCC) based on the 2019 edition of ASHRAE Standards 90.1.
New Jersey
The New Jersey Register adopted the proposed amendments to the Uniform Construction Code’s Radon Hazard Subcode on January 4, 2021 after the end of the comment submission period.
The State Fire Marshal adopted the 7th Edition (2020) of the Florida Fire Prevention Code on December 31, 2020.
New Jersey
On January 19th, the Construction Board of Appeals will re-adopt N.J.A.C. 5:23A. This chapter governs all aspects of the administration of appeals of the provisions of the State Uniform Construction Code Act (N.J.S.A. 52:27D-119 et seq.) and the Uniform Construction Code (N.J.A.C. 5:23) by construction boards.
New Jersey
The Division of Codes and Standards will review proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 5:23-3.4 and 6.9. The changes in this rulemaking pertain to International Building Code (IBC) Section 3111, Solar energy systems, IBC Section 3112, Greenhouses, and International Residential Code (IRC) Section 324, Solar thermal systems. Formerly, Section 3111 contained blanket designations in which responsibility for plan reviews resided with building and fire protection subcode officials and responsibility for inspections resided with fire protection subcode officials. The proposed amendments will specify plan review and inspection responsibilities by subsection, so as to mirror the responsibility breakdown assigned in IRC Section 324. Similarly, the responsibility for plan review and inspection will be assigned for Section 3112, Greenhouses. Comments must be submitted by March 20th, 2021.
On January 13th, the Board will discuss actions previously taken with regard to proposed amendments for the Tenth Edition of the Massachusetts Code when based on the 2018 International Codes.
They will also review and vote on proposed amendments and new content of 2021 IBC, Chapter 18 for the Tenth Edition of the Massachusetts Code based on the 2021 International Codes.
Recent and Upcoming Code Body Meetings
Construction Industry Energy Board
Board of Building Regulations and Standards
Construction Industry Energy Board
Board of Building Regulations and Standards
Virginia Building & Code Officials Association (VBCOA) Board Meeting
Subcommittee of Building Officials Meeting
Building Codes Program
Code Adoption Committee
State Codes Advisory Committee
Building Codes Council
Fire Prevention and Building Code Council
Bills with Recent Activity
Bill #
Bill Title
Primary Sponsor(s)
Last Action
Last  Action Date
Energy efficient building design standard.
Ryan Dvorak
First Reading Referred To Committee On Employment Labor And Pensions
This bill directs the fire prevention and building safety commission to adopt, by rule, the most recent edition or the 2013 edition of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers Standard 90.1 for Class 1 structures.
Reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions by achieving greater decarbonization of residential and commercial buildings.
Marko Liias/Alex Ramel
First Reading Referred To Environment Energy Committee
This bill amends section Sec. 4. RCW 19.27A.020 and 2018 c 207 s 7, providing that the building code council shall adopt rules for the Washington state energy code. The Washington state energy code shall be designed to construct increasingly low-emission energy efficient homes and buildings and achieve construction of zero fossil-fuel greenhouse gas emission homes and buildings by the year 2030. Additionally, the energy code must require new buildings to provide space heating and water heating equipment that minimizes direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions. The state energy code for residential structures does not preempt a city, town, or county’s energy code for residential structures that provides greater reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions than the requirements of the state energy code adopted by the council. Additionally, the bill adds that by November 1, 2021, the department must adopt by rule a state energy management and benchmarking requirement for tier 2 covered commercial buildings and tier 3 covered commercial buildings.
Adds provisions relating to the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code
Ron Hicks
Read Second Time
This bill adopts the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code, as it existed on May 1, 2020, as the county and municipal swimming pool and spa code in this state. The International Swimming Pool and Spa Code shall apply to all construction, alteration, remodeling, enlargement, and repair of swimming pools and spas in any county or municipality that elects to regulate pools or spas.
Provides for the applicability of state and local construction codes
Senate Committee on Urban Affairs
This bill amends section 71-6405, providing that the state building code shall be the legally applicable code in all buildings and structures owned by the state or any state agency regardless of whether the state, state agency, or applicable county, city, or village has provided for the administration or enforcement of the state building code.
Relative to ratification of amendments to the state building code.
Carol McGuire/Sharon Carson
To Be Introduced 01/06/2021 and referred to Executive Departments and Administration / Remote Hearing in Senate
1/4/2021 / 1/7/2021
This bill ratifies certain amendments to the state building code and state fire code adopted by the fire marshal and state building code review board in 2015, 2016, 2019, and 2020.
The bill provides that the following amendments shall expire as provided in 2019, 250:4:
I. RE-15-33-18, an amendment to International Residential Code (IRC) 2015, table N1102.1.2, relative to climate zone 6, wood frame wall r-value.
II. RE-15-37-18, an amendment to IRC 2015, section N1101.5, relative to information on construction documents.
III. RE-15-39-18, an amendment to IRC 2015, section N1102.1, relative to the building thermal envelope.
IV. RE-15-40-18, an amendment to IRC 2015, section N1102.4.1.2, relative to testing.
V. RE-15-42-18, an amendment to IRC 2015, section N1103.6, relative to mechanical ventilation.
VI. RE-15-43-18, an amendment to IRC 2015, table N1102.1.2, relative to insulation and fenestration requirements by component.
Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission; adding certain members; providing for initial appointment within certain time.
Dave Rader
Authored by Dave Rader
This bill relates to the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission; amending 59 O.S. 2011, Section 1000.21, as amended by Section 2, Chapter 223, O.S.L. 2014 (59 O.S. Supp. 2020, Section 1000.21), which relates to membership of the Commission. The bill would add certain members to the Commission, bringing the total number of commissioners to 13. It would add one member who is a licensed electrical engineer from a state-recognized professional engineering firm and one member who is a licensed mechanical engineer from a state-recognized professional engineering firm.