APA, Allies Increase Structural Options, Energy Efficiency at Code Hearings

(TACOMA) – APA worked closely with allied industry groups to expand bracing options for builders using wood structural panels and produced the single largest increase in energy efficiency in code development history at the recently concluded International Code Council (ICC) Final <http://www.iccsafe.org/cs/codes>  Action Hearings in Minneapolis. These results will appear in the 2009 ICC code books.
Major structural changes included the adoption of new length requirements for continuously sheathed brace wall lines greater than 10 feet tall. Previously, code did not specifically permit continuously sheathed walls greater than 10 feet tall. In addition, narrow braced wall segments can now be stacked in a building. Updates to the residential code were made to ensure the proper thickness and attachment schedules for wood structural panel sheathing were used on exterior walls in high wind regions. In addition, code officials approved an exemption that permits the use of wood poles as cell phone antennas up to 75 feet tall. 

“Changes made by, or supported by, APA to the International family of codes removed numerous road blocks to the use of engineered wood building materials in modern construction, as well as providing the builders with a broad range of structurally competent solutions to common problems,” said APA’s Ed Keith, P.E., manager of codes and engineering. “Additional changes were added that provided further protections for the potential owner of homes constructed to the 2009 codes.  APA <http://www.apawood.org/> attributes their accomplishments to a policy of consensus building with a broad range of industry organizations, consumer groups, builders, and building officials. 

Energy Front
“The Advanced Building Coalition (ABC) working with the Department of Energy and the Northwest Energy Group played a significant role in bringing about the single greatest increase in energy efficiency in both the Energy Conservation Code and the Residential Code, thus working to keep the residential energy and the energy conservation codes aligned,” said Mark Halverson, APA’s Eastern regional manager. “APA is proud to be a charter member of ABC. Another competing interest group, the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC), submitted changes in an attempt to encourage federal intervention into the process. ABC opposes bypassing the ICC consensus process through politics, which would be harmful to both the ICC and authority of local jurisdictions,” he added. 

The most significant energy changes were related to duct testing, high efficiency lighting, air sealing, and window U-factors in the south central U.S. APA supported the ABC, which worked to pass cost-effective energy proposals while defeating an assortment of proposals submitted by EECC. Their “30% Solution,” which provided excessive energy code advantages for various insulation and glass products, was defeated along with another EECC proposal to remove the energy code completely from the International Residential Code (IRC).

ABC’s 30% Plus Vision platform supports additional increases in the two energy codes by 2012. These future code changes will add additional stringency to energy savings while also properly addressing life safety, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility in a usable code. 

ABC is a broad group of building component manufacturers and other interested parties whose objective is to promote significantly increased building energy efficiency, sustainability, and other improvements in buildings. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Founded in 1933 and based in Tacoma, Wash., APA represents approximately 160 plywood, oriented strand board, glulam timber, wood I-joist, Rim Board and laminated veneer lumber mills throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Its primary functions are quality auditing and testing, applied research, and market support and development. 


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