AGA and APGA File Comments Supporting the DOE Proposed Determination Not to Increase Minimum Efficiency Requirements for  Direct Heating Equipment. 
On Tuesday, AGA and APGA filed joint comments (attached)  supporting the DOE proposed determination that more-stringent standards for DHE would not save a significant amount of energy. Further, depending on the product class, more-stringent standards for DHE would not be technologically feasible or economically justified. As such, DOE has proposed determining that amended energy conservation standards are not needed.   DHE products include natural gas wall furnaces, room heaters and floor furnaces. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA)  requires DOE to periodically determine whether more-stringent, amended standards would be technologically feasible and economically justified, and would result in significant energy savings. The AGA and APGA joint comments agree with the DOE use of the recently finalized “Process Rule” that determined that the potential energy standards for DHE products did not meet the threshold for significant energy savings. DOE is required to revisit efficiency  requirements every 6 years.
EPA Accepting Comments on Indoor airPLUS Version 2, “New Construction Specifications Through March 17th,, Proposes Banning Major Natural Gas Product Classes from Homes.
AGA BECS staff is currently reviewing the EPA Indoor airPLUS Version 2 draft criteria and will be providing comments by the March 17th deadline.  The draft Specifications and materials are available here.  A preliminary review of the draft Version 2 criteria for Indoor airPLUS proposes no restrictions on the installation of gas fired domestic cooking appliances beyond cooking product exhaust requirements appliable to both gas fired and electric cooking appliances.  However, the draft criteria include a ban of natural draft gas-fired furnaces, boilers, and water heaters installed within the pressure boundary of the structure and mechanical closure of combustion makeup air openings to the outdoors during appliance off-cycles. No technical justifications are provided for either the ban or the makeup air requirement.
AGA BECS staff has been a contributor to previous drafts of Indoor airPLUS, focusing on preserving the role of natural gas appliances in homes and businesses while avoiding exacerbating indoor air quality (IAQ) concerns.  Since publication of the first version of Indoor airPLUS criteria, which augments the Energy Star Homes program but is voluntary and not part of the Energy Star Homes criteria, AGA has successfully argued against measures that would unduly penalize use of natural draft appliances and other measures.  However, efforts of AGA and manufacturers of unvented combustion heating appliances have not been successful in removing installation a ban of these gas appliances, which include “vent-free fireplaces.” In implementing the ban in the original Indoor airPLUS criteria, no public input was sought, so advocates of unvented gas heaters never had an opportunity to present arguments against their ban.  BECS Committee members are encouraged to review the proposed changes and provide any comments to BECS staff for possible inclusion into comments that can be filed on the proposal.
AGA Proposes Hydrogen Test Coverage to LC-1, “Fuel Gas Piping Systems Using Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing”
In the first standards-based effort to qualify natural gas system materials and systems for natural gas and hydrogen blends, AGA has initiated discussions with the LC-1 Joint Technical Committee  on Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) for developing coverage in Standard CSA/ANSI LC 1:19; CSA 6.26:19 for transporting natural gas/hydrogen blends.  Last week, BECS staff addressed the LC-1 Committee to discuss completed exploratory testing work on leakage integrity of CSST used as appliance connectors and the value of adding natural gas/hydrogen blends to the Standard as test gases.  The Standard currently tests for leakage using compressed air, but other ANSI standards for safety covering end use appliances and equipment use test gases for evaluating combustion performance.  In the discussion with the LC-1 Committee, members believed that qualification of CSST might extend to higher hydrogen compositions up to 100% hydrogen and establishing intermediate qualification categories for blends.  As follow up to last week’s discussion, LC-1 will develop a white paper for AHRI, the trade association representing the U. S. CSST manufacturers and distributors, to pursue consensus on development of proposed standards language.  AGA will support the work of LC-1 in this area, recognizing that combustion behavior in appliances, equipment, and internal combustion  engines is likely to remain the most restrictive aspect of natural gas/hydrogen blending feasibility.
Amid Widespread Power Outages, Self-Powered Natural Gas Appliances and Micro Combined Heat and Power (mCHP) Systems Offer Energy Services Resiliency.
In fourteen “Friday Updates” since August 2018, Codes and Standards has covered proposals for development of self-powered appliances that would operate during power outages such as those experienced in Texas this week and mCHP systems that would likewise operate during outages.  Specific activities on self-powered appliances and mCHP have focused on standards development to assist in deployment of these technologies as recognized and certified appliances and so covered by existing installation codes and product standards for safety.  Codes and Standards sponsored development of a standards strategy at CSA Group for self-powered residential furnaces and boilers, working with potential manufacturers and the Standards Council of Canada on developing consistent North American requirements for these technologies under existing appliance standards such as ANSI Z21.47/CSA 2.3, “Gas-Fired Central Furnaces,” and ANSI Z21.13/CSA 4.9, “Gas-Fired Lower Pressure Steam and Hot Water Boilers.”  On mCHP, Codes and Standards-led efforts to develop standards for safety that led to the currently drafted Standard 13.1, CSA/ANSI, “Combined Heat and Power Appliances,” now undergoing technical subcommittee review and engaging a number of mCHP innovators.  While mCHP systems are generally thought of as being a more robust option for delivering electric power and heat simultaneously, optimizing power and heat delivery for specific customer needs is more difficult to accomplish in a cost-effective way than powering furnaces and boilers while meeting standard space heating loads.  In both self-powered appliances and mCHP, BECS staff has focused on appliance and on household power usage for generation exceeding appliance needs, not more controversial aspects such as returning power to the grid, which would involve net metering restrictions and grid safety issues.  We expect renewed interest in self-powered appliances resulting from the Texas outage experience. Over the past two years, interest in the more general but more difficult mCHP market had sidelined most efforts on self-powered appliances since mCHP was thought by many innovators to be more promising market opportunity.
AGA Responding to “End Run” of Model Energy Code Efforts Directed Toward Electrification.
Following up on the New Buildings Institute (NBI) initiative on model energy code language discussed in the last two “Friday Updates,” AGA held a meeting of the BECS Committee Energy Conservation Task Force this week to discuss response options available to AGA members.  Among the actions developed in the meeting is the need to discuss with International Code Council (ICC) senior staff, the proposed modifications to the “Intent” sections of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) language and the inference that the ICC would accept such changes in adopting the IECC in state and local proceedings.  In fact, the IECC “Intent” and “Scope” sections cannot be modified in the code development process hearing proposals from the membership and general public, so any inference of ICC acceptance of these changes in adoption proceedings is highly questionable.  AGA is scheduling a meeting next week with ICC leadership on this issue.  BECS staff will also draft a strategy document for approval by the Energy Conservation Task Force and eventually by the BECS Committee for responses to the NBI proposals and possible other electrification advocate proposals in state and local code adoption proceedings.  As outputs of this strategy development, we will present a comprehensive review of the NBI proposals, a one-page summary of response options, and a set of AGA proposals for amending the 2021 edition of the IECC to reintroduce reforms proposed previously by AGA during the IECC code development process.
State Codes Activity Update
[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 continues to request your comments on retaining this feature for future End Use Codes and Standards Update]
Recent and Upcoming Activity Alerts
On February 17th, the Fire Prevention and Fire Protection Advisory Committee will review 2021 IBC Chapter 9 for the 10th Edition of 780 CMR. They will also review for conflicts and recommendations on fire protection criteria in the following:
a. 2021 IBC Chapter 4 (FPFP Task #21-002.C4)
b. 2021 IBC fire protection provisions for exterior walls in Chapters 14 & 26 (FPFP Task #21-002.C14&C26).
c. 2021 IEBC fire protection provisions and Chapter 34 Committee review conclusions for conflicts or recommendations (FPFP Task #21-002.IEBC).
On February 17th, the Coastal Subgroup will discuss proposed amendments and new content in the 2021 International Building Code, Appendix G Flood Resistant Construction for the 10th Edition Massachusetts State Building Code.
On February 23rd, the Building Code Board will discuss amending Language in the 2021 IBC – Mass Timber Construction, Types IV-A, IV-B and IV-C.
On February 16th, there will be a rulemaking hearing for proposed amendments to the 2021 Oregon Residential Specialty Code. It would provide that the 2018 edition of the International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings as published by the International Code Council, Inc., Chapters 1 through 24 and Chapter 44, Appendices E, F, H, K, R, and S and as further amended by the Division. Chapters 25 through 43, and Appendices A, B, C, D, G, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, Q, and T are not adopted as part of the 2021 Oregon Residential Specialty Code. The Building Codes Division will also hold a rulemaking hearing for the 2019 Oregon Structural Specialty Code. This proposed rule amends Chapter 1 the 2019 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC) to resolve ambiguity, remove conflicts between the various codes, clarify authority, and harmonize certain code provisions.
On February 16th, the Uniform Building Code Commission will discuss and may take action on a recommendation by the International Energy Conservation Code Commission Evaluation Committee to assign to a technical committee the review of Chapter 11 of the 2018 International Residential Code and the 2015 Edition of the International Energy Conservation Code for possible adoption.
On February 16th, the Investigative committee for the Structural Provisions for the IBC and the IRC 2018 Editions, the Investigative committee for the Non-Structural Provisions of the IBC and the IRC 2018 Editions, and the Investigative committee for the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 2018 Edition will provides updates to the Council.
On February 18, the California Building Standards Commission will present the Code Advisory Committee member recommendations to the full Commission. The Commission will discuss, deliberate and appoint the 2021-2023 Code Advisory Committee members.
On February 19, the Washington State Building Code Council will work on codifying HB 2701 and a draft proposal. They will also hold requests for opinion on WUI Code and Energy Code, Residential.
On January 16th, the Subcommittee on the IBC and IRC reported that the adoption of the 2018 IBC was tabled, pending further discussion. Additionally, the 2018 IRC had been adopted in November 2020. The Subcommittee on the IECC reported that the 2018 IECC had been adopted at the December 2020 meeting and that training would commence in the Spring of 2021. Related to the Fire Code, it was reported that the 2018 Fire Code had been approved by the CBO just an hour earlier and made a motion that the SBCC adopt the same.
On February 9, Montana posted a Notice of Amendment in the matter of the amendment of ARM 24.301.161 incorporation by reference of the International Energy Conservation Code.
New York
On February 10th, the Division of Building Standards and Codes reported that a new rule is in development amending the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code by adding a new Part 1228 to Title 19 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations. The rule would add specific provisions in relation to the construction, alteration, relocation, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, maintenance, removal, and demolition of rail stations. Particularly, the rule under development would incorporate by reference a publication entitled “Uniform Code Provisions for Rail Stations” published by the Department of State and the reference standard “NFPA 130, Standard for Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems” published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
On February 11, the IFC Technical Advisory Group reviewed existing IFC State Amendments WAC 51-54A.
New Jersey
On February 16, New Jersey will publish and adopt a Notice of Administrative Correction for the Uniform Construction Code.
On February 10, the Virginia Building & Code Officials Association published a document summarizing the 2021 Significant Changes to the 2018 Virginia Codes.
The CBSC published their Winter 2021 version of CalCode Quarterly.
Recent and Upcoming Code Body Meetings
Agenda Link
Board of Building Standards
TAG Meeting Fire Code
Board of Mechanical Rules
Building Code Board
Vermont Access Board Division of Fire Safety
State Plumbing Board
Fire Prevention and Fire Protection Advisory Committee
Building Codes and Standards Coastal Subgroup
Bills with Recent Activity
Bill #
Bill Title
Primary Sponsor(s)
Last Action
Last  Action Date
Building Code Act
House Committee on Business
Reported Printed and Referred to Business
Adds to existing law to require the building code board to adopt certain International Building Code provisions allowing for the use of mass timber.
Single-family Housing Modifications
Ray Ward
House/ circled
This bill requires municipalities and counties to classify certain accessory dwelling units as a permitted land use and prohibits municipalities and counties from establishing restrictions or requirements for the construction or use of certain accessory dwelling units. The bill also provides for statewide amendments to the International Residential Code related to accessory dwelling units.
Prohibiting state building codes from requiring mandatory fire sprinklers
Steve Fitzpatrick
Scheduled for 2nd Reading
This bill adds that the department may not include in the state building code a requirement for the installation of a fire sprinkler system in a single-family dwelling or a residential building that contains no more than two dwelling units.
Construction Codes Advisory Council membership modified
Luke Frederick
Committee report, to adopt and re-refer to Judiciary Finance and Civil Law
This bill modifies the membership of the Construction Codes Advisory Council, adding a member from the energy conservation industry and a building accessibility advocate.
Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission. Emergency.
Dave Rader
Referred for engrossment
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.
Relating To The State Building Code Council
Nadine Nakamura
The committees on CPC recommend that the measure be passed, with amendments.
Requires the state building code council to: consider the impact of building codes and standards on the cost of single- and multifamily homes built in the State when considering whether to adopt a code or standard; and include with its annual written report to the governor a financial impact assessment on each code and standard adopted by the council.
Reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions by achieving greater decarbonization of residential and commercial buildings.
Alex Ramel
Scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations at 1:30 PM
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.
A bill for an act relating to the state building code and including effective date provisions.
Joe Bolkcom
Subcommittee reassigned: Brown, Giddens, and Schultz
The bill requires that the rules adopted by the state building code commissioner, with the approval of the state building code advisory council, conform to the most recent edition of the international code council’s international energy conservation code. Additionally, the bill provides that nothing in the state building code Act shall be construed to prohibit a governmental subdivision from adopting building regulations that contain more stringent energy conservation requirements than those in the state building code. The bill takes effect on the date the international code council publishes the 2021 edition of the international energy conservation code.
Uniform Building Code Commission Amendments
Curt Bramble
LFA/ fiscal note publicly available : House Rules Committee
This bill adopts the 2020 edition of the National Electrical Code; amends statewide amendments to the International Building Code and the International Residential Code to reference the 2020 edition of the National Electrical Code; amends statewide amendments to the National Electrical Code to update the reference of a deleted section; and makes technical and conforming changes.
Energy code adoption for new commercial buildings modified.
Jamie Long
Introduction and first reading, referred to Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy
This bill modifies the state energy code, adding that beginning in 2022, the commissioner shall act on the new model commercial energy code by adopting each new published edition of ASHRAE 90.1 or a more efficient standard, and amending it as necessary to achieve a minimum of eight percent energy efficiency with each edition, as measured against energy consumption by an average building in each applicable building sector in 2003. These amendments must achieve a net zero energy standard for new commercial buildings by 2036 and thereafter
Revise certain references to the International Building Code
Ernie Otten
Scheduled for hearing
It provides that if a governing body of any local unit of government adopts any ordinance prescribing standards for new construction, the ordinance shall comply with the 2021 edition of the International Building Code as published by the International Code Council, Incorporated. The governing body may amend, modify, or delete any portion of the International Building Code before enacting such an ordinance. Additional deletions, modifications, and amendments to the municipal ordinance may be made by the governing body and are effective upon their adoption and filing with the municipal finance officer. Additional deletions, modifications, and amendments to the county ordinance may be made by the governing body, and are effective upon their adoption and filing with the county auditor.