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Analyzing the Cost-Effectiveness of Reschecks for Homeowners and Builders in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has many regulations in place when it comes to energy efficiency. Mostly within the construction sector. One of these regulations is Rescheck — which establishes requirements for energy efficiency compliance in all residential and commercial construction projects. It's good for professionals and people in the industry to know these regulations, so they can make sure their project meets the necessary standards.


Pennsylvania Rescheck

Act 45 of 1999 established a State building code, the Uniform Construction Code (UCC), that must be complied with in all Pennsylvania jurisdictions.


The Pennsylvania UCC first took effect on April 9, 2004 with the adoption and use of the ICC’s International Codes® series - 2003. It went into full effect on December 31, 2006 when the next two codes were published and enforced throughout Pennsylvania.


In Act 106 of 2008, the General Assembly established the RAC. The act detailed that members would represent industry sectors which participate in various aspects relating to building construction including: design of a building component or system; material manufacturing; construction; enforcement of building codes; local government representation. The act charged these individuals to review proposed changes to these revised ICC codes prior to their adoption into the UCC. See: 35 P.S. §7210.107


Effective December 31, 2009, the International Codes® - version year “2009" - were adopted and enforced throughout Pennsylvania.


For the ICC®2012 codes cycle: The Review and Advisory Council (RAC) did not adopt any provisions from this edition of I-Codes®


For the ICC®2015 codes cycle: The Review and Advisory Council (RAC) reviewed only sixteen (16) provisions from this edition of I-Codes®, but generally chose not to offer amendments for most of them.The legislation mandating review by RAC was bypassed by allowing municipalities to enforce their own energy codes or choose between two options offered in legislation amendments.


In response to a citizen's complaint about a coincidence involving an energy code provision coming after a previous one that never got considered during three separate reviews over eight years + one week, a RAC member stated to the Department of Labor & Industry that he and another member "are not interested in reviewing any other provisions or making recommendations for the 2015 codes. The Review and Advisory Council (RAC) then chose one (1) provision from most of the various ICC®2018 code sets. The full International Building Code® was reviewed (and three provisions passed). All but four provisions failed with one vote.

For each of those reviews, as well as the ICC®2003 and ICC®2006 codes cycles, there were acrimonious disagreements among RAC members over how they did or did not review those codes. In some cases, widely conflicting versions of their own claims can be found in their meeting minutes.


The revised regulations adopting the 2018 I Code series as reviewed and amended by the Review and Advisory Council (RAC) have an effective date of February 14, 2022.


The UCC allows residential builders to choose the Pennsylvania Alternative Residential Energy Provisions (PA-Alt). Versions have been published in: 2003; 2006; 2015; and 2018. Most were intended to be easier to use than the IRC and IECC - all are intended to meet at least enough of the next IECC code requirements to obtain a building permit. When portions of the 2018 codes were reviewed by RAC and adopted, it was specifically added into them that residential builders may choose between being prescriptive under IECC or Alternative Path.


Municipalities are supposed to be primary enforcement agents for energy code requirements; they are also allowed opt out.


The law applies to ALL buildings built after April 9, 2004 except existing buildings if they were not legally occupied.


According to the Uniform Construction Code in Pennsylvania, every builder, contractor and designer of residential and commercial buildings needing a permit for new construction or with certain additions and/or major renovation must comply with UCC. The builders are allowed to get away with not following regular regulations if they can prove that their design will hold up anyway. The owners use “alternative energy provisions” designed by Penn State University researchers to follow those rules.


Here’s what you need to know about Pennsylvania Reschecks:


Reschecks are critical to energy conservation and greenhouse gas emission reductions in Pennsylvania. Homeowners seeking compliance with Pennsylvania’s Energy Conservation Code have an easier time thanks to these Reports.


Energy Efficient Residential Construction


All residential buildings in Pennsylvania must be energy-efficient. By evaluating components and their overall performance, homeowners can identify areas where improvements could be made while also making necessary adjustments required for optimum savings on energy costs.


Building Codes & Regulations Compliance


Compliance with building codes and regulations is always a top priority for any job – no matter how small or large it may be. In Pennsylvania, Reschecks are used to show that a project meets the standards required for safety and occupant wellbeing while ensuring environmental sustainability isn’t endangered.


Why are Reschecks cost-effective?


Size & Complexity Of Project


The size as well as complexity of a project can impact cost-effectiveness of reschecks. Larger structures usually require more evaluations than smaller ones do meaning there could be changes needed at every stage of your project which increases costs overall.


Cost & Availability Of Energy-Efficient Materials


The cost and availability of energy-efficient materials determine whether or not the rescheck process will be cost-effective. While investing in higher quality materials might seem like a more expensive route initially, savings on costs from energy make up for it in the long run.


Local Climate & Environmental Conditions


The climate in your area could determine if the final results of your evaluation will be positive or negative. Certain climates are better suited for energy efficiency than others meaning design along with materials should vary accordingly as well. Reschecks are done by looking at local climate along with environmental conditions during an evaluation to ensure everything lines up accordingly.


Pros And Cons For Owners And Builders


Pros For Homeowners


As a homeowner, there are all sorts of benefits that come attached with having a rescheck done. One of them is knowing that your home uses up less energy compared to other homes which leads to lower utility bills every month. Without regulating temperature along with insulation, you could easily end up living in an uncomfortable environment so it’s safe to say reschecks don’t just benefit you in terms of saving money but also making sure everything is comfortable.

Builders want to avoid penalties and delays in construction projects by enforcing energy codes. An energy-efficient home will likely attract an environmentally conscious individual.


Problems And Limitations


While reschecks do a great job at helping homeowners save on monthly costs, problems as well as limitations become apparent. The costs of implementing additional measures can become a burden for builders or homeowners. Additionally, expertise and added time is required during the process which isn’t always ideal as it could impact project timelines.


Ultimately, Reschecks help everyone involved build more efficiently while adhering to the law in Pennsylvania. In turn this helps promote energy efficiency as well as compliance with building codes. Allowing both homeowners and builders to profit from each other. Though it’s not without its faults, through understanding the purpose we can make informed decisions regarding them to build better homes as well as contribute to sustainable residential construction.

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