Looking Ahead at Future Codes

As new codes and standards take effect, future versions are already well into the process of being worked out—so it’s important for the glass and glazing industry to remain educated and involved in this sphere.

Earlier this month at the Glass Association of North America’s Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference, Tom Culp of Birch Point Consulting gave attendees a presentation on the latest in codes. While he broke down all the new requirements and guidelines already put in place, he also provided a look into the future, laying out several changes on the horizon.

ASHRAE 189.1-2017 and 2018 IgCC

Culp said the green building standards of ASHRAE and ICC are effectively merging, as the 2018 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) will include the technical content from ASHRAE 189.1-2017.

“They also look for consistency with LEED when they can,” he added.

Two changes sure to happen are that the prescriptive U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) will be set 5 percent lower than the base code, and Environmental Product Declarations will be included, similar to LEED v4. However, Health Product Declarations, will not.

Culp said there are several items that aren’t done yet but could be included.

Acoustic performance requirements are being explored, such as background sound levels and maximum reverberation times. “This does not specify STC or OITC requirements for windows, but a drive for quieter spaces could still push acoustical glazing,” said Culp. He added that this proposal has received many comments, so it’s uncertain whether it will happen.

Another glazing-related item being worked it is whether or not to reduce the prescriptive shading requirement from .50 to .25 on the second and higher floors, and a proposal regarding operable glare control could require operable blinds or dynamic glazing for view fenestration in spaces such as classrooms, offices, patient rooms, conference rooms and library reading areas.

Items still in the works, according to Culp, address daylighting and views. Daylighting requirements could be expanded to include more spaces, and these spaces would require 50 percent of the occupied floor area to have views to the outside or an atrium.

Culp said this is a similar concept as the “LEED Views” credit, but at reduced level. He added that it’s a controversial proposal and unlikely to make it into this version of the code.

ASHRAE 90.1-2019 and 2021 IECC

Yes, they’ve already started,” said Culp regarding the 2019 and 2021 green codes. He said areas that will be looked at include thermal bridging at the window/wall interface and sunshade attachment.

Another change may be the lowering of SHGC requirements in the south, and they are looking at whether lower U-factor technologies would be cost-justified in the north. The overall structure of fenestration requirements will be addressed, as well as daylighting.