Tech Today

Air barriers and the new energy code

The International Energy Conservation Code,® 2012 Edition (IECC 2012) includes a new requirement intended to limit air leakage through buildings' thermal envelopes, including roof assemblies. The requirement, a change from IECC 2009, will significantly affect the design and installation of certain roof assemblies.

IECC 2012

IECC 2012 Section C402.4—Air Leakage (Mandatory) requires all commercial (nonresidential) buildings, except those in climate zones 1 through 3, to include a continuous air barrier. Climate zones 1 through 3 include Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina and portions of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

The required air barrier is permitted to be located on the inside or outside of the building envelope, located within assemblies composing the building envelope and any combination thereof. The air barrier is required to be across all joints and assemblies comprising the building envelope. Air barrier joints and seams need to be sealed, including sealing transitions and changes in materials. Special provisions are provided for sealing recessed lighting fixtures, air barrier penetrations, doors and access openings, and outdoor air intakes and exhausts.