Energy Code Compliance – Prescriptive vs Performance Path

Date Published: March 26, 2015

Prescriptive vs Performance Path – IECC Energy Code Compliance:

Let’s face it, compliance with the ever-changing IECC Energy Codes is like tracking a moving target.  Each municipality has its own code requirements and amendments, and understanding these is tough.

There are typically two main pathways for compliance  – Prescriptive Path or Performance Path.

Prescriptive Path:

The Prescriptive Path presents a specific list of features and items that have to be met for compliance, with no deviations allowed.  At first look, the Prescriptive Path appears to be the easier and simpler route.  But the rigid list of mandatory items offers very little flexibility in design approach or material selection to meet the project needs.

Additionally, you, as the contractor, architect or designer need to have an in-depth understanding of each municipality’s requirements and amendments.

If you choose to go this route, you must follow all the guidelines outlined in the IECC book (International Energy Conservation Code).

Need help deciding what is best for your project? Our energy specialists can help! We are certified HERS raters, blower door technicians, and REScheck specialists. See all our energy services, and contact us today!

Performance Path:

The Performance Path offers the designer or builder the most flexibility in meeting the energy code requirements.  A HERS Rater is involved in the project from the early design stage to model the energy performance of the home and to determine compliance.

This pathway allows for optimal design innovation and integration of energy-efficient technologies. It is often perceived as a more expensive option compared to the Prescriptive Path.

However, design teams often prefer the Performance Path because it allows them to evaluate various combinations of design strategies, components, and technologies until they reach a solution that provides the greatest energy savings for the lowest overall cost, which is usually less than following the Prescriptive Path.

Additionally, you can rely on the HERS Rater to understand the local requirements, leaving you more time to focus on design and construction.

For more information visit the Energy-Service page of our website.

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About the Author: George Scott

George founded Scott Home Inspection in 2006, and has grown the business into a multi-inspector firm serving the Colorado Front Range, from Fort Collins down to Colorado Springs. As an ASHI Certified Home Inspector and Certified Energy Rater, George is an excellent resource to help with inspection and energy-related requirements.

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