Code Source: Energy Conservation Code, by Author (Hardcover, 2011)|
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Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
First, it's important to define the scope of this book. This book helps illustrate, explain, and clarify the requirements of the International Code Council's International Energy Conservation Code.
It's intended to be a quick reference guide. It's not meant to be a
comprehensive tutorial, nor is it meant to substitute for the ICC Energy
Conservation Code. The intended reader is a skilled practitioner or
professional in the construction industry, and that reader is familiar with
applying various construction codes. This is not a layman's book. The reader
should use it as a companion to the Code.
Second, a little about my qualifications for writing this review. I've:
- Been writing for various construction publications for nearly twenty
- Co-authored several energy standards.
- Done extensive editorial work on electrical training guides.
- Written extensively on interpreting and correctly applying the National
So when I look at a reference on how to apply any code, I do that with an
industry editor's eye. I've seen the full range of quality in such guides. This
one comes in at the high end.
This guide proceeds in Code order. So if you're reading the Code from cover
to cover, you could follow along in this guide from cover to cover also. But the
more likely way you will use it is to look up a given section in the IECC, and
then refer to this guide for explanation.
One reason people get confused when trying to apply a given code is they skip
over the first parts, which lay the foundation for the requirements that follow.
This is a huge mistake. Yes, it can be a bit sleep-inducing, due to the typical
legalese, passive voice, and clumsy text that normally comprises such material.
The IECC, fortunately, is better than most standards in this regard. Still, it
helps to have an explanatory reference and this guide does not disappoint.
In fact, I really like the way this guide covers that part of the IECC. So,
my suggestion is to read the relevant part of this guide first, then those parts
of the IECC. The good news is this guide covers that in only 4 pages, and it
does so mostly with clean, easy to understand graphics.
Once you've done that, you'll be ready to apply any of the requirements of
the IECC. As you read those, you can refer to this guide. You'll find the Table
of Contents upfront, and from there you can go to the page that you need.
There's also a detailed index.
Throughout the text, you'll find the IECC Section called out so you don't get
lost when paging through. Just to make sure, the subheadings are in large white
font on a page-wide blue bar.
The author, Donald J.Sivigny, did a great job of summarizing what's important
in each IECC Section. I had no problem understanding this. Each summary consists
of "Code Points," which are in bulleted format and state the key points of the
requirement. For many of these, there's also an illustrative photo or
illustration. Another feature for most of these is a sidebar box called "Keys to
Compliance." This was helpful in making sure the main ideas get communicated.
This guide also contains tables from the IECC. It's nice to have them right
there with the explanations of the requirements.
When I was on the editorial
desk of a major electrical publication, a common complaint we got from readers
was that the National Electrical Code was too complicated. A common reply was
that the proper application of electricity is complicated. It's no simple
endeavor. So it is with energy requirements, and these will get more involved
with each code cycle. Having a guide like this not only helps the contractor
correctly apply the code, but it also helps the sales engineer explain to the
customer why particular work must be done in a particular way.
efficiency into the design is far less expensive than going back later and
retrofitting. Many of the energy conservation measures are actually free or very
close to it. You can choose to do the work one way and be more wasteful, or
another way and be less wasteful; the cost is about the same.
Being able to
communicate the difference to a potential client or customer can make the
difference in getting the contract (especially if you're outbid by another firm
that can't explain very clearly). Being able to implement this in the field can
make the difference between a profitable job and one that loses money due to
callbacks or penalties.
For the typical contractor involved in new
construction, this book can easily pay for itself several times over on a single
project. It's well worth buying.