ICC (the International Code Congress) just published its 2012 edition of the IRC (International Residential Code). They also recently published the 2012 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code). Rand Soellner Architect is now using both for his designs.
It is highly likely that these latest codes will not be adopted by most jurisdictions until 2014 or 2015. Not many people know that today’s adopted code in most states is called the 2009 code for that state. What you may not be aware of is that 2009 state code is mainly based on the 2006 version of the IRC. In other words, what is law today was created about 6 years ago.
Rand Soellner Architect does not feel that this slow pace of code adoption is helping create any state of the art houses. So, he is adopting the latest codes today. Therefore, the Soellner firm (the HOME ARCHITECTS TM) is about 6 years more advanced in their designs with respect to codes than most companies. Soellner felt that things are moving much too quickly in energy, health safety, and other areas of residential design to be left on the table for the typical 6-year delay. Soellner wants his clients to have the best houses possible. He wants his residential designs to be the best they can be, the cutting-edge for years, even for decades to come.
For instance, with respect to energy efficiency, even the 2012 IRC only requires an R-30 or R-38 in many areas of the USA for attic insulation. Soellner has been specifying R-49 for years already. So, when 2015 rolls around, his houses will still be ahead of the latest requirements. What does this one issue mean to his clients? Well, any mechanical or energy engineer can tell you that the main heat loss and heat gain is through the roof of any low-rise structure like a house. Having 22% more insulation there than is required by standard practices yields a handsome monthly lower utility energy bill. Now that’s a benefit that helps your bank account every month, all the way through 2015 and beyond.