The biggest changes impacting the building envelope requirements of Florida’s state residential building energy code are the introduction of the new Energy Rating Index (ERI) compliance path with and without renewable energy, weakened air tightness targets in both the prescriptive and performance compliance paths and mandatory blower door testing.

Four Big Takeaways from the 2017 Florida Energy Code:

  • The ERI Path and Renewable Energy: The 2017 code adds a new energy code compliance path demonstrating how builders can meet the ERI target of 58 with and without renewable energy.
  • Unchanged insulation levels: Prescriptive R-values did not change, while U-values weakened slightly.
  • Weakened air leakage targets: Less stringent targets in both the prescriptive and performance compliance paths mean less emphasis on this element for builders.
  • Mandatory blower door testing: The blower door testing is required for whether using the performance or prescriptive path.

What is the Energy Rating Index?

The ERI provides a new path for energy code compliance. Builders using this path need to achieve a certain score, on a scale from 0 to 100, to achieve energy efficiency code compliance for building construction. A lower score means a more energy efficient home. The score of 100 aligns with the 2006 IECC model code. In Florida, the target score is 58, with EnergyGauge selected as the only certified software. Two distinctions for builders using the ERI path:

  • The ERI path is distinct from the Home Energy Rating System (HERS index scale) since other approved home rating programs could in theory be used for ERI compliance.
  • Both HERS and ERI allow for the use of renewable energy to reduce scores, however ERI includes provisions to ensure that renewable energy does not replace more permanent or reliable energy efficiency measures. As a matter of practice, the ERI path calls for builders to use HERS to demonstrate building code compliance. Therefore, if the ERI path is used for energy code compliance and renewable energy is incorporated, builders must construct a building envelope that meets the prescriptive envelope requirements of 2015 IECC.

To view a listing of key envelope changes in the 2017 Florida Energy Code, download the detailed summary.

This summary is offered for informational purposes only. It does not purport to be an exhaustive analysis of code changes or provide advice that will ensure guaranteed compliance with any energy code provision. Please consult with local authorities before finalizing your installation plans.

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