Code Updates and News

CodeWatcher Maryland codes

Green Builder Coalition Executive Director Mike Collignon gives an update on code issues around the United States.

Maryland

SB 648 was signed into law in mid-May, and it requires a home builder with a development
with 11 or more homes to provide a potential home buyer with written information on energy-efficient options, including a statement that tax credits may be available related to the energy-efficient options, available for installation in a new home before construction is completed. The information must be provided “prior to the execution of any contract for the initial sale of a new home.”

The legislation takes effect October 1, 2018.

New Hampshire

The state will be creating a simplified residential energy code compliance form (in
electronic format), based upon the energy provisions in the IRC and the IECC, that will be accepted by all code enforcement authorities within the state as one method of verification that the applicable project meets the code requirements.

The Governor signed HB 1472 in mid-June, and it will go into effect on August 8, 2018.

St. Louis, Mo.

The City’s Board of Aldermen recently approved the 2018 I-codes, which includes the
IECC and IRC. The only amendments, made by the local HBA, were to basement insulation requirements and lowering the minimum ceiling R-value to 38. Both are unfortunate amendments in a location where temperatures can range from 10-100° F throughout the year, and where basements are quite prevalent and often used for living space.

California

Late May, SB 966 passed the state Senate and was sent over to the Assembly.
This legislation calls for the state board, in consultation with the California Building Standards Commission, to adopt regulations for risk-based water quality standards for the onsite treatment and reuse of non-potable water.

The state board would be authorized to contract with public or private entities regarding the content of the water quality standards. Any local jurisdiction that elects to establish a program for onsite treated non-potable water systems would be required to, among other things, adopt through ordinance, a local program that includes the risk-based water quality standards established by the state board. The bill would also prohibit an onsite, treated, non-potable water system from being installed, except under a program established by a local jurisdiction in compliance with the bill’s provisions.

There seem to be divergent opinions on this bill. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has been coordinating a letter-writing campaign in support of SB 966, and has cited the anticipated strain on the state’s water supply as the need for this future-facing legislation.

The US Green Building Council also supports the bill. However, we spoke to a graywater manufacturer who felt the bill “will unfortunately slow down adoption of alternate water supply” due to the addition of significant project cost attributed to over treating water for non-potable use. In late June, SB 966 was re-referred to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, where it remains.

Read the bill here.