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International Residential Code – IRC

On January 1, 2012, the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC), Chapter 11, became the energy code in Texas used for one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses up to three stories high.

With the Texas Legislature’s adoption of House Bill 1736 in May of 2015, as of September 1, 2016, the 2015 version of IRC, Chapter 11 has replaced the 2009 version.

Bluegill Energy can help you keep compliant with the requirements of the IRC, Chapter 11, for energy efficiency or the many city- and region-specific codes. With more than 15 years of experience cutting through the complexity of energy codes, we can help builders like you save time and energy by providing in-depth answers to your questions and concerns.

The IRC is a comprehensive code for homebuilding that combines building, plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas, energy and electrical provisions into a single resource.

Chapter 11 of the IRC regulates the design and construction of buildings for the effective use and conservation of energy over the useful life of a building. The code is intended to provide flexibility to permit the use of innovative approaches and techniques to achieve this objective. It is not intended to abridge safety, health or environmental requirements contained in other applicable codes or ordinances. Chapter 11 of the 2015 IRC is equivalent to the residential provisions of the 2015 IECC.

IRC 2015

The IRC establishes minimum regulations for energy-efficient buildings using the following compliance paths for residential construction:

  • Prescriptive – Choice of options
  • Total U of A – RESCheckTM
  • Simulated Performance – IC3 – Energy Systems Laboratory, REM Rate – NORESCO, Energy Gauge USA
  • Energy Rating Index (ERI) – REM Rate – NORESCO, Energy Gauge USA (2015 IECC/IRC only)

Each compliance path may have mandatory, prescriptive or tradeoff requirements. Mandatory requirements must be met in every building design no matter which compliance path is chosen. Performance testing and commissioning is a mandatory requirement that requires special equipment and trained professionals to complete.

The requirements vary based on the Climate Zone in which the building is constructed. Texas has three Climate Zones (2, 3 and 4), outlined in the map below. Additionally, some cities may have additional requirements beyond those required by the codes.

Texas Climate Zones and Non-Attainment Area Map

To meet compliance, various stages of construction require inspections performed by certified professionals, such as:

Prior to the application of interior wall coverings in order to verify thermal components such as insulation, windows, and air sealing

At final stages in order to verify lighting and other components

Energy Rating Index (ERI) in Texas

As of September 1, 2016, the Texas option for compliance using the Energy Rating Index (ERI) now includes a set of ERI values that differ from those published in the 2015 versions of the respective codes. The ERI values will decrease (become more stringent) every three years until September 1, 2022. The first table below indicates the original ERI values as published in the 2015 IECC/IRC. The second table below indicates the adjusted Texas ERI values and dates of compliance, per Texas 84th Legislatures HB 1736 and published in the Texas Health and Safety Code Section 388.003 (b-1).

IECC and IRC 2015 ERI value table

Texas IECC and IRC Energy Rating Index (ERI) values and effective dates

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