Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Housing and Community Development
Board of Housing and Community Development
Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code [13 VAC 5 ‑ 63]
Action Update the Uniform Statewide Building Code
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 6/26/2020
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6/26/20  2:38 pm
Commenter: Susan L. Stillman Personal

Adopt the 2018 IECC building code as written
Virginians should be able to know that when they invest in a new home or have a home renovated that it is energy efficient.  A home is an investment with monthly mortgage costs.  When a home is not well built there is the additional burden of high heating and cooling bills.  These bills, just like the mortgage must be paid every month for the life of the home.  Building in efficiency up front is much less expensive than retrofitting later.
To mitigate high utility bills Virginia's building code should meet or exceed 2018 IECC energy conservation standards for all forms of construction covered by the USBC. 
The BHCD should require builders to meet the full 2018 IECC standards for envelope efficiency – particularly walls and ceilings – not extend outdated 2009 standards that were superseded by the IECC in 2012.
The code should require builders to conduct a blower door test and to limit air infiltration to 3 air changes per hour, which has been the required since the 2012 IECC.
The home I grew up in was built in the 60's when there was a moratorium on new homes with natural gas.  The home was very well built but it had resistance heat.  My mother's electric bills were very high even though she only heated the room she was in.  Virginia should require the installation of modern heat pumps and “mini-splits” and prohibit installation of electric resistance heating (e.g., electric furnace or baseboard heating).
Studies have shown that children raised in a home with natural gas cooking have a 48% higher rate of asthma.  Homes should be set up to be ready to shift all electric.  We have the technology now with heat pumps and induction cooking to make all electric homes safe, comfortable and affordable.  Electric hot water heating with heat pump technology is very efficient. 
Rehabilitated homes should have to meet the 2018 requirements as well.  Renovating a home is expensive and homeowners should get the reduced energy bills affiliated with a well renovated home.
Homes of all types should solar ready and be wired for electric vehicle charging.  I just had a 220 line run in my home.  It was expensive to do in an existing dwelling and there are now many places where drywall has to be patched and painted.  Installing an additional 240 line when a home is built is cost effective.
CommentID: 83831