The Colorado Chapter of the International Code Council will be hosting the 32nd Annual Colorado Educational Institute the week of March 6, 2017, once again at the newly renovated Marriott Denver Tech Center.
The Educational Institute will again offer 13 full-week course paths with instruction by some of the best instructors in the country. Class offerings will include a number of new classes as well as updated versions of their most popular classes, all based on the 2015 International Codes and the 2014 National Electrical Code. Registration costs will remain at $400 for the week or $90 a day, including lunch.
The Colorado Chapter is an Approved Preferred Provider for ICC Continuing Education. Classes will also be eligible for continuing education Learning Units as required by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and designed to meet the continuing education requirements for Professional Development Units required by the State of Colorado Electrical Board (DORA).
Again, the Colorado Educational Institute will be held March 6-10, 2017, at the Marriott DTC, 4900 S Syracuse Street, Denver, CO. Room rates at the Marriott will be $139/night.
Who to Contact:
Principal, Director of Builder Relations
The Q3 Field Fusion event delved into air-sealing and sound transmission challenges in multi-family units through a guided discussion that included perspectives from Code Officials, Insulators, and Raters. Read more here.
There are many complexities that accompany building townhomes and duplexes. For example, townhomes and duplexes built with common fire separation walls (party walls) are twice as leaky as single family houses that are twice their size.
The shaft wall, which we see most often in Colorado, is open directly to the outside through the designed gap between the shaft liner and the framing, thus creating a leaky assembly. An additional complexity arises when the reduction of unit-to-unit sound transmission is taken into account, which requires correctly installed insulation.
EnergyLogic’s August 31st Field Fusion delved into the details of these assemblies through a guided discussion that included perspectives from Code Officials, Insulators, and Raters.
We must first define what part of the shaft wall assembly is fire-rated, as the entire assembly is not. This is an important distinction that allows for more air sealing options once understood.
In chapter 3 of the IRC, Section R302 “Fire Resistant Construction” and Section R302.2 “Townhouses” states, “The common wall shared by two townhouses shall be constructed without plumbing or mechanical equipment, ducts or vents in the cavity of the common wall. The wall shall be rated for fire exposure from both sides and shall extend to and be tight against exterior walls and the underside of the roof sheathing.”
This statement in the IRC is our first indication that the two layers of sheetrock in the shaft liner wall are the fire-rated two-hour wall, designed to slow the spread of fire from unit to unit. Thus, the two layers of 1” drywall cannot be penetrated with ducts.
The framing (which is held off the fire-rated assembly by a clip) often has ducts or plumbing in it and is specifically designed to burn and separate from the two-hour assembly when the clip melts. This allows one unit to burn and fall before fire is able to pass through to the adjacent unit. The UL (Underwriters Laboratory) listing for many of these assemblies’ references section 705 of the International Building Code (IBC) which states in Section 705.2 “Structural Stability”, “Fire walls shall have sufficient structural stability under fire conditions to allow collapse of construction on either side without collapse of the wall for the duration of time indicated by the required fire-resistance rating.” This is another indication that UL listings and the code are in agreement that the fire assembly is the two layers of 1” drywall and not the framing adjacent to the drywall.
It is important to point this out because throughout Colorado there is not a common understanding of what constitutes a shaft liner fire-rated party wall assembly. Some jurisdictions still hold that the assembly is the drywall, air gap, clip, framing and interior drywall while others hold that it is as explained above. What is consistent is the understanding that the assembly must be built continuously from the foundation to the roof deck.
EnergyLogic suggests having a discussion with jurisdictions, in an effort to:
- Ensure a common understanding of this assembly
- Determine how the assembly will be air sealed to control airflow to meet the air leakage requirements of the energy code.
One thing to note: jurisdictions throughout the state require that the two layers of sheetrock run continuously from the foundation to the roof deck, but not the entirety of the rest of the assembly. The most conspicuous example is the interior drywall, which is always missing on the ventilated attic side of the party wall.
Challenge: How to Achieve 3 ACH50?
Now that a common understanding of the assembly has been achieved, it is time to determine how the assembly can be air sealed in order to meet the air leakage target of 3 ACH50 for the 2012 and 2015 IECC. Most jurisdictions have not amended the requirement to meet this airtightness level, so pre-planning is crucial in order to be successful.
The clip that holds the framing off the two-hour party wall assembly creates a 1” gap that is connected directly to the outside at the front and back of the unit, as well as to the attic. This is where the UL listing of the assembly comes into play. UL is an American safety consulting and certification company that provides the one or two-hour rating for fire-rated assemblies by testing them in a laboratory environment. The UL listing for these assemblies is often mixed up with code’s definition of the assembly, which creates confusion regarding what materials are allowed to be used to seal them.
UL often refers to fire-blocking materials. Fire blocking materials are usually defined within the UL assembly and can be any one of the following:
- 2” nominal lumber
- Two thicknesses of 1” nominal lumber with broken lap joints
- One thickness of 0.719” wood structural panel with joints backed by 0.719” wood structural panel
- One thickness of 0.75” particleboard with joints backed by 0.75” particleboard
- Gypsum board, including 1” DensGlass Ultra® Shaftliner and 5/8” DensArmor Plus drywall
- Batts or blankets of mineral wool or fiberglass
- Other approved materials installed in such a manner as to be securely retained in place shall be permitted as an acceptable fire block (Section 717.2.1, 2006 IBC).
As some fire blocking materials are air barriers and some are not it important to choose a material that can stop the flow of air. EnergyLogic has seen the most success when builders tackle fire blocking on each individual floor.
Application: The Picture Frame Method
When looking at the party wall assembly, envision a picture frame around the perimeter of the wall. All four sides need to be fire blocked. The material of choice right now is the same 1” gypsum board used in the 2-hour rated assembly. Install the 1” gypsum board in the 1” gap between the interior of the unit and the outside at the front and back of the units, between floors, and to the attic. Again, picture framing the party wall.
Depending on your foundation type, if you are standing on the first floor you will need to air-seal the two layers of gypsum and the bottom plate to the slab in the shaft wall, or address the rim joist connection in the basement or crawl space to the shaft wall. At the rim joist be sure sill seal has been installed between foundation and sill plate as it is your primary capillary break, then seal the sill plate to foundation, seal rim board to the sill plate, and seal the rim board to sub floor. Pay special attention to any knockouts for foundation bolts.
Once the large 1” gap has been fire blocked with an air-impermeable material such as gypsum, seal the smaller gaps between the fire block and the shaft wall and the fire block and the framing. A fire-rated caulk or expanding foam works for this. Following these steps, with careful attention to detail, should enable you to successfully achieve 3 ACH50.
A few words of caution:
- Ensure that the drywall lid is air-tight: duct boots and other penetrations need to be sealed. In addition, as required by ENERGY STAR, the drywall to top-plate should be sealed. (This is a requirement of code that is generally not enforced.)
- Mechanicals can derail all good air-sealing intentions. Undampered ducts run to the exterior for combustion or ventilation air as well as atmospherically vented appliances. These combustion air ducts can ruin one’s ability to build a tight home that gains control and predictability of the airflow in the building.
Don’t Forget: Sound Reduction
Lastly, these assemblies should reduce sound transmission from dwelling unit to dwelling unit. The party wall is assumed to be an adiabatic wall, i.e. there is no heat loss or gain through the wall between two conditioned spaces as the temperature is the same on each side. Therefore, the insulation is primarily installed to lower sound transmission. The principles of sound reduction and heat flow are the same, so proper installation of the insulation in the framed cavity of the party wall is imperative.
NAIMA, the North American Insulation Manufacture Association, states that the installation of insulation in a party wall application should “comply with the manufacturers’ instructions including filling the entire stud cavity and cut to fit around outlets, junction boxes, and other irregularities in the cavity.” In other words, the insulation in a common party wall should be installed to a RESNET, Grade 1.
To learn more please see EnergyLogic’s Tech Bulletin on “Fire-rated Party Walls” which includes an article by Building Science Corporation.
Have a technical question? Contact Robby Schwarz.
Our next event will take place on November 16th. It is focused on Selling High-Performance Homes. Our guest speaker, Todd Gamboa, President of Building Trust LLC., has a wealth of experience and perspectives to share. Please see details here.
If you have suggestions for topic you would like to see discussed in depth, please let us know. We will be releasing our Q1 2017 event topic and date soon.
Principal / Director of Builder Relations
Get in the Game by Selling High Performance
3:00 – 5:00 PM
Presenter: Todd Gamboa, President of Building Trust LLC
5:00 – 7:00 PM
EnergyLogic’s Mixer and networking
Drinks & hors d’oeuvres provided!
Todd Gamboa, President of Building Trust LLC, has been in the building industry for over 30 years, managing private and public companies. As a homebuilder, he has been responsible for the creation of thousands of homes. As a building science consultant, public speaker, and host of “New Home Solutions Radio”, he educates homebuilders, contractors, architects, appraisers, and realtors all over the country about the value and benefits of buying new construction. Mr Gamboa has launched and managed several, energy efficiency and “market transformation” programs for utility providers; home builder and realtor associations; and state and federal government agencies throughout the U.S. His fast-paced, fun, and informative sales training have been described as “Info-tainment” by attendees.
This Field Fusion event is generously supported by Tyvek.
EnergyLogic Academy’s Referral Program Rewards – Tell ALL Your Friends!
We feel everyone should benefit from ‘word of mouth’ marketing, not just us! We make it worth your while by offering cash rewards through our referral program.
Let’s keep building this industry – together!
RESNET HERS® Rater Training Combo Package (Phase 1 & 2)
Phase 1 of the EnergyLogic Academy HERS Rater training is designed to allow participants to navigate through the knowledge base needed for a HERS Rater at the users own pace. The course prepares students for the extensive knowledge needed in building science, building materials, integrated construction processes, HVAC equipment, and diagnostic testing equipment and processes.
The HERS Rater Training online course covers the core knowledge for the HERS Rater certification. By enrolling in our self-paced, open enrollment course, you will have 90 days to complete the training. You can complete the training at your own pace, and you do not need to use the whole enrollment period if it is not needed. There are 24 modules in the course – each module will take a minimum of two hours to complete, with some taking over four hours.
Phase 2 is four days of field training designed to introduce the HERS Rater inspection processes and diagnostic testing. During the field training, we will complete two practice ratings according to the RESNET training standard. Practice ratings will be performed on an existing home and a new home.
This is an instructor-facilitated course. Students will have one-on-one instruction with the testing equipment. Much of the field work will be done in a group setting, where peer-to-peer interaction is used to complete the practice ratings.
RESNET® Instructor, Green Rater, Auditor
Field Services Manager & Software Technical Liaison
After completing the course, Rater candidates have two steps remaining before earning certification:
The candidate must pass three exams. The exam fees are not included in the price of tuition. These fees are paid directly to RESNET. For more information click on the RESNET Exams tab.
The candidate must join a provider and complete the probationary phase of certification. The provider ultimately issues the certification once the candidate completes the probationary phase.
A package you just can’t turn down!
Use coupon code december2016 for $500 off of the HERS Rater Training Como
Field Fusion: The disconnect between Fire Code and Energy Code
Fire rated assemblies, air tightness, and the real world
Location: Bad Daddy’s, 100 E 120th Ave, Northglenn, CO 80233
3:00 – 5:00 PM
Robby Schwarz, Principal and Director of Builder relations at EnergyLogic, Inc
- Laying out the issue. Fire code vs. energy code and air leakage requirements that have to be met. Why multi-family homes are twice as leaky as single-family homes that are twice their size.
Gil Rossmiller, Chief Building Official for the City of Parker
- A perspective from a Code jurisdiction on what defines a fire rated assembly and what is being allowed to make them air tight.
Brian Firestone, Applegate Insulation
- Fire and Acoustical rated assemblies. UL listings the process and the options that are available.
5:00 – 7:00 PM
EnergyLogic’s Mixer and networking
This event is generously supported by Tyvek.
How to Sell Energy Efficient Homes Effectively
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about high performance homes. Not all homes are built alike. Find out the important things you need to know to sell energy efficient homes effectively! Learn that “Cost per Square Foot” to own is more important than “Price per Square Foot” to buy!
In this fast-paced class you will learn to:
- Educate customers on the value of high-performance homes and energy savings
- Demonstrate the comfort, healthy indoor environment, and durability of the home
- Build your value by being THE resource of information for buyers
- Leverage consumer trends and data
- Promote the value of HERS rating and third-party verifications
- Utilize national and local programs and savings that benefit consumers
- Develop strategies for branding and differentiation
- Improve customer satisfaction and communication
- Leverage referrals and testimonials throughout the construction process
- Strengthen the relationship between builders and homebuyers
Contact Todd Gamboa with Building Trust LLC to schedule a session with your sales team.
Todd Gamboa, President of Building Trust, LLC, is considered a champion in the field of energy efficient home building. He has been in the building industry for more than 26 years, managing private and public homebuilding companies, consulting and training professionals in the business. He has been responsible for the construction of thousands of homes in Colorado and was building “Green” homes when others were only talking about it. The Colorado Energy Office and Xcel Energy have contracted with Todd because he has the experience to connect with the home building sales force and to show them how to connect with the Buyer.
ENERGY STAR® Sales Training
EnergyLogic brings you an ENERGY STAR Sales Training developed by the EPA specifically for you. This training will help sales agents describe the features and benefits of ENERGY STAR certified homes in a way that aligns with the customers’ own values. The training consists of approximately two hour-long modules that can be completed all at once or in two sessions. We will develop background knowledge in the program, explore customer profiles, strategies in small groups, and practice through quick role playing exercise, all in order to gain comfort with how to speak to your buyers about the benefits of Energy Star homes. Although the focus of the training is on selling ENERGY STAR certified homes, the core concepts, you will see, can and should be applied to the sale of any home.
For more information, please contact:
Principal, Director of Builder Relations
Drinks & Discussion: 2015 IRC and IECC Codes
Date: June 15, 2016
Start Time: 3:00 PM
Colorado Code Consultants and EnergyLogic bring to you a discussion of the 2015 IRC and IECC.
As more and more local jurisdictions adopted this suite of codes we want to be sure you are prepared and understand what to expect.
3:00 – 4:00 PM
2015 IECC discussion, Speaker: Robby Schwarz of EnergyLogic
4:00 – 5:00 PM
2015 IRC discussion, Speaker: Steve Thomas of Colorado Code Consulting
5:00 – 7:00 PM
Happy Hour mixer
This event is generously supported by Tyvek.
During the week-long 2013 Habitat Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project, with Habitat For Humanity – Metro Denver, EnergyLogic committed to sending members of our staff to work in the Globeville neighborhood. The goal of the project was to complete 11 townhouses and rehabilitate 15 homes.
I was signed up for Wednesday, October 9th, which was the day that the Carters and honorary sponsors Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood were in Denver. I was assigned to existing house #7 at the home of Mario and Phyllis Mora. Our lively crew finished re-siding and painting the Mora’s garage that day.
I’ve been asked by many friends if I met the Carter’s. Well, we sort of did get to meet them. Mid-afternoon, we stopped work early to return to the park where we had met for the early morning devotional ‘lesson’ from Jimmy Carter, and lunch.
Each ‘house’ gathered in a group with the homeowners at the park and when the Carters and Garth Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood arrived, they went from group to group for pictures. Later, crossing the park, Garth Brooks said to me, “Take care.” I looked around to see if someone else was behind me! They were all personable and funny and friendly.
It was exciting to see our former president, and to meet the honorary sponsors. The biggest honor is to be a part of this project, and seeing that we all made a positive difference for the Mora Family, and for our community.
Thank you, EnergyLogic, for allowing me to be part of this event!
Very short missive this time. I’ve been consciously working to get LinkedIn recommendations for those that I really know and value in my connections bucket.
An odd thing happened as I was writing. If the touchy, feely freaks you out in any way, stop here…
In many cases, the folks that I’m recommending are in competitive or at least co-opetition relationships with me and EnergyLogic. However, the very ACT of writing recommendations for these people resulted in my thinking positive increased positive thoughts about them.
In other words, there are a bunch of people that I have deep and genuine respect for. It doesn’t mean that I always agree with them, but we are all generally working toward the same goals and objectives. I value that tremendously. It is one of the best things about this industry.
Who knew, saying positive things about people makes you feel even more positive about them.
Thanks to all who are on this path (even if I haven’t recommended you… yet).
Another ACI has come and gone. This one, ACI 2011, was the biggest one yet. That in and of itself tells you something important about our industry and the larger direction of things. Beyond that however, here is what I took away from the conference. To be fair, I didn’t attend very many sessions. After a decade of attending ACI, I feel the quality of ACI sessions is beyond serious question.
I’m often asked by people relatively new to the industry where they should spend their conference travel dollars. I almost always tell people that if they have the resources they should attend both RESNET and ACI. If they can’t and they’re new to the field, they should probably pick ACI. If they are primarily charged with running a company, organization or need to be involved in larger policy issues then RESNET is probably the better choice. Now, this is just my opinion and I’m sure others would have a different perspective. To be fair, both conferences have excellent technical content and both have pertinent and timely policy content. One man’s perspective.
This year was like every other hear in that the content was excellent. For any conference, after several years of attendance, you begin to feel as if you’ve little to gain. A common conference complaint for the person who’s been to several years of the same show is that there isn’t advanced content for them. True to some extent, but most people should be able to go to at least five years of a particular conference before they’ve tapped everything it has to offer.
Of course, that’s the time (or even before then) that you should be becoming part of the conference, more on that in my next post – Conferences – Taking it to the Next Level.
One of the primary reasons that we go to conferences of course is to see people that we rarely otherwise see. Networking is not only fun and satisfying, it’s key to building a successful enterprise. I just came across a great piece by Keith Ferrazzi called Conference Commando, on how to maximize your conference networking experience. Not many of us are going to do everything that Keith suggests, but even doing a few things will help you get more out of your conference experience from a business perspective. I highly recommend reading it and implementing some of his suggestions. Happy conferencing and good luck out there!