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The AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE®) works to advance, disseminate, and advocate design practices that integrate built and natural systems and enhance both the design quality and environmental performance of the built environment. Expand your positive impact: Engage in our advocacy efforts. Enjoy our last newsletter (and follow us on Twitter). To learn about the Framework for Design Excellence (formerly the COTE Top Ten Measures), click here >

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ZERO Code Webinar on July 16, 2019

  • 1.  ZERO Code Webinar on July 16, 2019

    Posted 07-09-2019 03:31
    AIA Codes Network – Architecture 2030 ZERO Code Renewable Energy Appendix Proposal 

     Join us for a webinar on Jul 16, 2019 at 2:30 PM EDT. 

     Learn about the ZERO Code Renewable Energy Appendix proposal for the IECC (see the fact sheet at" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> and the proposal CE264-19 at" target="_blank" rel="noopener">, its key features and how compliance would be achieved. The ZERO Code Renewable Energy Appendix is a proposed appendix to the 2021 IECC to require that new commercial, institutional, and mid-/high-rise residential buildings install or procure enough renewable energy to achieve zero-net-energy on an annual basis. The appendix encourages onsite renewable energy systems when feasible, but also supports offsite procurement of renewable energy through a variety of methods. This appendix does not allow renewables to be traded off against the energy efficiency required by the 2021 IECC & would be mandatory where adopted by law. 

     flyer---" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> 
     register---" target="_blank" rel="noopener">" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#architecture" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#design4future" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#leadership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#climateaction

    Kira Gould
    Kira Gould CONNECT
    Oakland CA

  • 2.  RE: ZERO Code Webinar on July 16, 2019

    Posted 07-10-2019 18:31
    I had the opportunity to meet with Senator Debbie Stabenow from Michigan this Spring. I asked her in her view what would be an important activity to work on to improve the sustainability of the nation. She said work on making the Building Codes more energy efficient.  It would affect many buildings. This webinar sounds like a good start.
    David Dye, AIA, LEED AP
    DFD Architecture, LLC
    Cell 616 821 0936

  • 3.  RE: ZERO Code Webinar on July 16, 2019

    Posted 07-11-2019 17:33

    Great to hear that some of our political representatives are beginning to understand the importance of having a more stringent code!  But, the code is only worth so much on paper.  It also has to be enforced.  We need architects to advocate for both more stringent energy codes, and for ENFORCEMENT of the energy code.  Too many jurisdictions do not enforce the code and do not have the expertise and/or resources to have a robust energy code enforcement program.  In too many places, it is not seen as a health/life safety concern.  That will only change if the public demands it.


    Gina L. Bocra, AIA, LEED Fellow

    Chief Sustainability Officer

    New York City Department of Buildings



  • 4.  RE: ZERO Code Webinar on July 16, 2019

    Posted 07-12-2019 17:27
    I agree--we have yet to have a code official inspect the air barrier or ask for a blower door test, which IECC requires. If there's one thing I've learned in all our Passive House work, it's the importance of the air barrier for durability and air quality as much as energy. The flip side of this is that contractors need training to revamp their construction practices. It would be ideal if a two-pronged approach of education plus better enforcement could happen in concert.

    Thomas Bassett-Dilley AIA
    Tom Bassett-Dilley Architect, Ltd.
    Oak Park IL

  • 5.  RE: ZERO Code Webinar on July 16, 2019

    Posted 07-15-2019 19:00
    This thread has raised a number of important but persistent frustrations with the slow response of building regulations and codes to demands on our profession in the face of climate change. The challenge of getting code officials to enforce those regulations increases that frustration. You may find the report of the Blue Ribbon Panel's report on how can address these issues to accelerate the profession's response going forward. The report, Disruption, Evolution and Change, has been endorsed by the AIA Board of Directors, was launched publicly at the A 19 Conference in Las Vegas in June and is available on the AIA's website:

    I think you will find it interesting.

    RK Stewart FAIA
    2007 AIA President
    M: 415.250.4849

  • 6.  RE: ZERO Code Webinar on July 16, 2019

    Posted 07-16-2019 09:15
    Architects and owners can take responsibility for this. Put it in the specifications. Require sample panels. Make the contractor responsible for the blower door test.  Conduct your own inspections. Bring technical reps from the manufacturer to provide instruction on proper installation of important products like the air-barrier if possible. I bet contractors and subcontractors would welcome a one-on-one technical seminar on air barrier installation. Many of us could learn something as well. If there is an additional cost, this is to the benefit of the owner and all building occupants for the life of the project. As the architect, owners and others look to us to be the subject-matter-experts. We should advise and direct what we believe to be best practices. If owners or others choose to VE services or products out of the project, that is their decision but we have not reneged on our responsibility to share information and professional advice.

    Peter Doo FAIA
    Doo Consulting LLC
    Towson MD

  • 7.  RE: ZERO Code Webinar on July 16, 2019

    Posted 07-21-2019 11:32
    Architect organization do not have the wherewithal to lead and other organizations, including some architects who joined them, have taken the lead to advance and profit from the issues. 

  • 8.  RE: ZERO Code Webinar on July 16, 2019

    Posted 07-22-2019 17:51

    Weller & Michal Architects - because design matters.

  • 9.  RE: ZERO Code Webinar on July 16, 2019

    Posted 07-12-2019 18:07

    While I agree with your first few sentences, I disagree with your last statement-- "That will only change if the public demands it."  (It might be one way--- but would probably take many years, with inequitable results, depending on quorums of persistent advocates in any locale.)  We the public,  have been demanding climate action for years, and many  experts have been  working for years on improving the energy codes, and still, although there recently has been breakthrough progress --hooray!-- implementation can't happen fast enough.
     Why is it up to the "public" to take time out of their day jobs to demand that government officials take responsibility to perform their own jobs in an excellent manner, enforce the energy code, and be held accountable ?!  

     I'd like to suggest that executive leadership in our governmental bodies, such as Building Departments, who have the most power to control Municipal direction, policy, competency-professional development/training , and activities of their own internal staff, be the change in proper enforcement of the energy code, as many, many of us practitioners have wanted for many, many years.

    Perhaps you can tell us what you, as Chief Sustainability Officer of the NYC Dept. of Buildings, is doing about this issue?  If you are successful in this    change model, please share it with all other Building Departments/ governmental leaders.  There may also be other ways to achieve the change we want to see in the world. Feel free to share some practical strategies for others in your position.  Thank you. 

    Alice Sung, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, ISSP-SA
    Principal, Greenbank Associates

  • 10.  RE: ZERO Code Webinar on July 16, 2019

    Posted 07-11-2019 18:02

    The International Energy Code is gradually approaching LEED, Green Globes and other high standard energy saving systems. Attended a free commercial Energy Code update in June and then on 7/10/2019 attended a Residential Energy Code update for Georgia ( see for schedule of all free training sessions by Southface). Georgia is going from the 2009 energy code to the 2015 IECC (home builders complained too much about jumping into the 2018 which is REALLY energy efficient). Here are some residential code updates:

    • Thermal Envelope
      1. The (CZ 3) thermal envelope has vastly improved with the roof R-value going from R-30 to R-38 with trade-offs if the entire attic is thermally enclosed thus protecting vents and equipment.
      2. Cellars/crawl space insulation VS just floor insulation for resilience and to protect ducts from temperature changes .
      3. Windows already good values.
      4. Required SEER is 14+
    • A good idea from a discussion at the training session:  Venting of HWH and air handlers is going to be required. For future smart homes a centrally located vented utility room w/ HWH (to save long hot water hauls across the home)  and air handler for fresh air exchange (Fresh air is going to be required as the thermal envelope isn't letting much in anymore).  Wifi in that same room to make smart buildings of the future.

    Frances Hamilton AIA
    Atlanta GA

  • 11.  RE: ZERO Code Webinar on July 16, 2019

    Posted 07-15-2019 14:59
    ​This will go against the grain, especially comments from a building inspector, but the building codes have gotten out of hand.  Instead of rejoicing at how the codes are expanding, Architects should be actively pursuing ways to condense and reduce the number of building code requirements that we have to deal with.

    The building codes don't have to be so complicated to be effective.

    Robert Smith AIA
    Architect, AIA, LEED AP
    Talley & Smith Architecture, Inc.
    Shelby NC