Priority Energy, Energy Code Assistance, IL

Reduce the Cost of Energy Code Compliance!

Our Simple Path to Illinois Energy Code Compliance

The path to IECC 2015 compliance is a simple 3 step process:

  1. Design the home's envelope

  2. Design the mechanical systems

  3. Inspect and test the house

As a recognized, trusted and certified energy rating company, Priority Energy is your one stop shop for meeting all of the requirements to pass IECC energy codes.

STEP ONE: Choose Prescriptive, Performance or ERI Path to IECC Compliance

IECC Prescriptive Path

Work with your architect to ensure your plans reflect IECC 2015 insulation values, which can be found on our Energy Code Facts page.

IECC Performance Path (Simulated Performance – IECC 2015 Section R405)

You must have an energy model completed for the home by utilizing RESCheck or REM/Rate software to pursue the Performance Path. The benefit of following the performance path is you can utilize tradeoffs between insulation and air tightness, which often results in a better performing home that can be built at a more competitive price.

ERI Path (Energy Rating Index – IECC 2015 Section R406)

The Energy Rating Index path can be accomplished by hiring Priority Energy as your HERS Rater to create your HERS Index. Much like the performance path, this will allow us to create a performance model (which takes in to account all aspects of the house) to identify the highest performing home at the best price. Under IECC 2015, any home that scores a 54 or less for climate zone 4 or 55 or less for climate zone 5 is found to be in compliance with IECC 2015. 

There are other benefits to creating the HERS Index, including:

  • In Illinois, a HERS Index is required to take advantage of most rebates offered through   utility companies like COMED, NICOR, and AMEREN.

  • There is a federal tax credit available to builders if you meet efficiency requirements and have a HERS index created.

  • A HERS Index is a great way to market the energy efficiency of your home--it’s even on the MLS now in Illinois.

The RESNET-certified HERS Raters at Priority Energy will help determine your best strategy based on your goals and provide all necessary documentation for permitting.

STEP TWO: Have a Mechanical Sizing Completed For Your Home (IECC R403.7 – Equipment Sizing & Efficiency Rating)

With your path of compliance chosen and your building envelope decided upon, your next step is to procure an IECC-recognized mechanical sizing report. The most commonly-used reports for residential homes are an ACCA Manual J, ACCA Manual D, and ACCA Manual S report. In many instances, your mechanical contractor will offer to provide this report, but quite often, they are getting this sizing calculation from their equipment distributor for low or no cost. We recommend hiring a neutral third party to complete an unbiased recommendation.

A professional mechanical calculation report should include the following 3 components to be considered valid ACCA sizing:

ACCA Manual J

A complete Manual J will give you the total heating and cooling load (necessary for the ACCA Manual S – Equipment Selection) along with room-by-room loads (necessary for an accurate ACCA Manual D – Duct Design) so the installed system’s heating/cooling capacity can be appropriately distributed throughout the home to maximize comfort.

  • ACCA-approved software must be utilized for a manual J to be accurate. Click here for a list of approved software programs – Priority Energy utilizes the latest version of Wrightsoft Right J8 for all load calculations.

  • For complete details on what it takes to create an accurate Manual J, please see our HVAC Design & Testing - Residential page.

ACCA Manual S

A total block load created with the ACCA Manual J will provide the designer the total heat loss for heating, and the total heat gain (latent and sensible) for cooling. With the total heat load/gain, the designer will be able to select the exact furnace, AC/heat pump, and evaporator coil necessary to meet the home’s heating and cooling loads. This is required for permitting in the State of IL under the IECC 2015.

ACCA Manual D

An ACCA Manual D will give you a duct diagram from the furnace/air handler to the registers, including all ductwork, connections/fittings and registers. A duct system designed with ACCA-approved software will give you quiet airflow, extend the life of the furnace/AC, and decrease comfort complaints from the buyers/homeowners.

Click here to see a sample of a Mechanical Sizing Report as required for code compliance.

Priority Energy can provide ACCA Manual J/D/S reports within 48 hours (for an average 2,500 s.f. home). Our reports are accurate and priced competitively. Contact us to discuss your plans and get a quote today!

STEP THREE: Have All Required Inspections Completed

Under the IECC compliance codes, there are four inspections required:

     1. Air Barrier and Insulation Installation Inspection (IECC Table R402.4.1.1)

Depending on the village/town/city you’re building in, you may be required to have this inspection. The party who completes the inspection varies by where the home is being completed, so ask your builder or contact your city hall for specifics. Either way, this is a critical step to ensuring the home will meet the mandatory blower door test and occupancy requirements when completed. This will also help eliminate many future call backs related to comfort complaints and minimize building durability-related call backs (like drywall cracking and hardwood floor-related issues).

     2. IECC Duct Testing

     3. IECC Blower Door Test

     4. Home Ventilation Testing

All homes have to be provided with a ventilation system. Ventilation can be exhaust only (bath/kitchen fans with appropriate controls), supply only (intakes through the return ductwork of the furnace with appropriate controls), or balanced systems (ERV/HRVs). 

The system must meet the following requirements:

  • Meet or exceed a minimum ventilation rate of CFM total = 0.01CFA + 7.5(Nbr + 1) where the CFA = conditioned floor area and Nbr = number of bedrooms

  • Utilize ECM motors or meet a minimum ventilation efficacy

    • Fans <90 CFM = 1.4 CFM/watt

    • Fans=>90 CFM = 2.8 CFM/watt

    • Balanced HRVs/ERVs are an allowed exception and do not have to meet efficacy requirements.

Priority Energy can help you design, select and test your ventilation systems. Homes are being built tighter than ever, making this is a critical step to ensuring occupant safety and building durability.

See our Residential Ventilation Systems page for more information, or contact us to schedule an appointment.

Energy Code Facts

Priority Energy, Energy Code Facts, IL
With the adoption of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), home building and commercial construction has taken on an extra layer of complexity. The code is intended to increase the efficiency of the homes we’re building through added insulation, air sealing and other efficiency measures.

IECC Blower Door Test

Priority Energy, Blower Door Test, IL
Since 2012, blower door air leakage tests have become mandatory tests, regardless of the path chosen for compliance. The test consists of a large fan, which is installed on an exterior door of the home. The home is depressurized/pressurized to a difference of 50 Pascals, or 0.2 IWC with respect to the outside.

IECC Duct Testing

Priority Energy, IECC Duct Testing, IL
Since 2009, under the IECC Code, all ducts should be sealed, air handlers sealed, and duct tightness should be verified by a duct leakage test unless 100% of all ductwork is within the conditioned space. This means that any time you run a duct outside of the building envelope (in the attic, crawlspace or garage, for example), the system has to be tested.

IECC Energy Modeling

Priority Energy, IECC Energy Modeling, IL
An energy model, which is a computerized simulation of a home’s energy consumption, is used to compare energy-related components and test performance scenarios. This tool is especially helpful for predicting energy efficiency trade-offs, utility costs and the effects and payback of green energy solutions such as solar panels, photovoltaics, wind turbines and high-efficiency appliances.
  • Thank you again and you will be the first person I call if I need additional part or service from your company.
    Anonymous
  • I just wanted to send this message to all you and say GREAT JOB!  We had a rough inspection today and passed for the Woodward Ave. house. The inspector told us "if every house I inspected looked like this one I would be out a job".

    Anonymous Builder
  • We were so impressed with the amount of information the Priority Energy technicians gave us during our ENERGY AUDIT.  If you are buying a house, I would strongly recommend having them do an energy audit on it, in addition to your usual home inspection.

    P.I.
  • Thanks for a super intelligent and deep seminar expertly handled by a staff which was a pleasure to be around. Lunch was superbly and subtly handled.

    A.S. Architect
  • I wanted to thank you for all of your extra time and energy during our BPI training over the last few weeks. You really helped put things in perspective. You are an awesome crew and your facility is a valuable resource for students and the community

    BPI Student, L.E.
  • There is much less dust in the house and the monthly gas and electric charges have been reduced by 10 to 15%.....I'm sure I will see greater savings over a twelve month period......thanks again.

    Aeroseal Client, R.N.

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