On July 19th, 2016 the Mass BBRS will be voting on adopting the 2015 Energy Code and in true Massachusetts fashion adding some state specific amendments. In the proposed new code they are also considering that new structures be constructed ready for solar panels and electric vehicles. The effective date is still not known but it could be as soon as 8/1/2016.
This adoption would be added to the 8th Edition of the Mass Building Code as an amendment. It will not include the Building portion of the 2015 International Building Code. One may wonder why doesn't the state just adopt the whole 2015 code in one step? Surely contractors, building inspectors, architects and trades are having a hard time keeping up with all the changes from 2009 and 2012 codes.
Mass CSL's currently have to build to the 8th edition of the Mass Building code which includes the 2009 IBC, 2012 IECC and the Mass Amendments. In our CSL Continuing Education classes many contractors tell us they are still catching up trying to understand what codes to follow. Most did not know that the Mass BBRS added the 2012 IECC by amendment replacing the 2009 IECC in August of 2014. Surely there will MASS confusion over the next year as we all try to catch up with changes in codes.
Maintaining top ranking on energy efficiency...
I spoke with Guy Webb of the HBRACM in Worcester, Ma. and he said the state wants to maintain it's high ranking on being the top energy efficient state in the country. If the states fails to act quickly it's ranking will drop significantly.
From the proposed BBRS amendments....
Solar Panel Ready Provisions
APPENDIX U: SOLAR-READY PROVISIONS – DETACHED ONE- AND TWO FAMILY DWELLINGS, MULTIPLE SINGLE-FAMILY DWELLINGS
Imagine that builders at time of permit, will have to provide plans showing future solar panels provisions such as building placement, shading, roof load and dedicated wiring considerations. This would be in preparation that the future owner may want to install solar panels. Shouldn't this be driven by the market and not mandated by government?
Solar technology changes rapidly. What would happen if we design something based on current technology and a few years from now things change, rendering the solar ready prepartions incompatible with future advancements?
Electric Vehicle Ready Provisions from proposed Mass Amendments
N1104.3 (R404.2) Add the section as follows:
N1104.2 (R404.2) Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE) Ready (Mandatory). In accordance with 527 CMR and this section, at least one minimum 40-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to garages and/or the exterior of the building to accommodate a future dedicated Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard J1772-approved Level 2 EVSE. The circuits shall have no other outlets. The service panel shall provide sufficient capacity and space to accommodate the circuit and over-current protective device. A permanent and visible label stating “EV READY” shall be posted in a conspicuous place at both the service panel and the circuit termination point.
Now imagine that home builders have to provide a dedicated 40 ampere branch circuit on all new homes just in case a future homeowner wants to be able to charge their Prius or Leaf at home. In lieu of 200 amp panels builders will incur costs for larger panel sizes or sub panels.
Shouldn't this be a option for new homeowners that builders can offer to their customers? Or should government be allowed to force builders to add thousands of dollars in cost to an already expensive new home?
BBRS Meeting on 7/19/2016 to vote on adopting the new code changes and amendments.
The Department of Public Safety, One Ashburton Place, Room 1301, Boston, MA, 02108.
Links to the Proposed Changes and Amendments to the Mass Building Code