2009 Energy Code for Residences in Massachusetts – Savings?

By , July 2, 2010

The 2009 IECC is in full force for Residential building in Massachusetts as of July 1st, 2010. Is it really such a good idea?

  • The much more stringent requirements will force most builders to 2×6 construction, whether they prefer it or not.
  • The insulation envelope will now be R-30 or 38 in the ceiling, R 19 or 20 in the walls, R30 or 38 in the floors.
  • Rigid insulation under the exterior finish might help…
  • Ducts and feed lines will have to be insulated and pressure tested for leakage at rough-in, or located within the envelope.
  • The impact on windows and doors appears to be minimal (From my experience, builders have been using the low E windows with U 0.35 or better anyway).
  • No more trade-offs for a really efficient heating system.
  • Half of the lighting fixtures must now be high-efficiency.

This all sounds very environmentally responsible – BUT, the $$ amount saved on the energy bill for heating and cooling in Boston – $230 a year (13%)* will not come close to covering the additional costs of materials going into the house. I would estimate that a homeowner in Massachusetts would have to live in the house for 10 years to recoup the new costs of installation. That doesn’t include the additional costs of inspection time, or cost to come up with the new code regulations. It also doesn’t include the significant costs of financing the new home.

What are we really doing here?

Basically we will be using more energy in our cars, and with our lighting fixtures and A/C offices, to work longer hours so that we can afford to live in our energy-efficient homes.

* http://www.energycodes.gov/publications/techassist/residential/Residential_Massachusetts.pdf

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