Testing the house for airtightness, on the front door installed a powerful fan.

Garfield County adopts 2018 IECC for building code

Energy code now requires blower pressure tests to be performed on all new homes

June 16, 2023

Garfield County has adopted the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in compliance with a 2019 state law requiring local governments choose one of three iterations of the IECC in its building code. The 2018 version of the IECC features minor changes in insulation values and requires a blower door test to be performed on all new homes to check air-sealing and ventilation.

John Plano, chief building official for Garfield County Community Development, told the Board of County Commissioners that the state has mandated that all local governments select one of three energy codes (IECC 2015, 2018, or 2021) to abide by no later than July 1, or be required to adopt the 2021 version. The county had been operating under the 2009 IECC.

“The code cannot be changed or amended to make it less stringent,” he explained to the board. “If we change or amend any building code at any time after July 1, 2023, we will have to adopt the 2021 or most current code, which will be more onerous than the one we currently utilize.”

The 2021 IECC requires that new homes be pre-wired for future solar photovoltaic or solar thermal installations, high-efficiency electric appliances in mixed-fuel buildings and charging of electric vehicles, potentially increasing building costs.

The county reached out to local architects, builders, and citizens in May to gather input and provided a training session for interested members of the community.

The board approved repealing the 2009 IECC and adopted the 2018 IECC unanimously, 3-0.

“We have very little choice in the matter. This was required due to changes in the law,” added Commissioner John Martin. “Stay tuned for more changes to the energy, building, ventilation, and insulation codes, and on and on. Every code we deal with will be affected.”