Sorting through the Pennsylvania energy codes

One of the most challenging things for homeowners and home builders who need to learn and adhere to these codes is sorting through the many regulations and fine details which can make or break a project. It’s crucial to understand them, but unfortunately, they don’t make it easy. One big reason for much of the difficulty and confusion is that they weren’t adopted in their entirety.

In other words, you need to sort through deletions, revisions, and significant changes on your own. They aren’t listed on the complete documents. 

You can find a complete source of the codes here:

It’s also helpful to become familiar with previous versions of the IECC because the current codes make many references to them.

Flexibility with reaching compliance

Lucky for us, the IECC and IRC allow for flexible pathways to compliance. As long as you can pass the required insulation levels and energy efficiency tests, no one part of the home must meet a required threshold. In other words, you can improve performance in one area when another is lacking.

2018 Pennsylvania Alternative Residential Energy Provisions

To make regulations easier for builders and homeowners to follow, alternative routes to compliance were created. These alternative routes still accomplish the goal of introducing energy-saving provisions and reduced costs and allow some flexibility in how that’s accomplished.

If you decide to use alternative energy provisions, it allows you to meet lower thresholds in certain climate zones. You just need to choose any of the alternative energy saving measures.

Here are some examples of alternative routes:

  • Ductless heat pumps
  • Solar systems
  • Geothermal or water source heat pump
  • Continuous exterior insulation
  • Improved airtightness

If you want to learn more ways you can remain compliant in your building plans, consult the PA Energy Codes.