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Week of December 22, 2003

Front Page

President's Message

* 2003 – A Year to Remember

Housing and Economics

* Single-Family Home Starts Hit a Record High in November
* Following One of the Best Years Ever, Housing Poised for Solid 2004
* Builders Upbeat This Holiday Season
* Eye on the Economy


* FHA Multifamily Mortgage Insurance Programs Back in Business
* Index Finds Weak Rental, Strong Condo Markets


* U.S. Appeals Court Rules Against Regulation of Roadside Ditches
* Decision on Jurisdiction Over Isolated Wetlands Breeds Disappointment
* Court Rejects Endangered Species Permit Revocation Rule

State and Local

* New Jersey Builders Defang Governor’s Anti-Housing Tool with Economic Impact Study
* Legislative Group Endorses Favorable ‘Notice and Opportunity to Repair’ Amendments

Business Management

* Systematize the Selections Process to Avoid Hassles

Codes and Standards

* R-Values Excessive in Revised ASHRAE Energy Standard

Construction Safety

* OSHA Reports Increased Citations in Fiscal 2003
* Workers Should Take Precautions in Cold Weather

Seniors Housing

* Who Are Today’s Over-55 Buyers?

Legal Issues

* Ask the Lawyer – About Mechanic’s Liens

Housing Finance

* Military Housing Privatization Projects Coming Up in Florida, Oklahoma

Small Builders and Remodelers

* Why Have Your Customers Come to You?


* New NAHB Course Addresses Insurance Liability Concerns
* First Annual National Designation Month Debuts in February


* New Publication Provides Overview of Basic Construction Principles

Building Systems

* Building Systems Councils to Include Concrete Home Building

Building Products

* Local Brick Distributors Provide Home Buyers With More Choices

Housing Forum

* Mysterious Cracking

Builders' Show

* Show Activities Focus on Sales and Marketing Professionals

Building News Coast To Coast

Association News & Events

* Notice of Annual Meeting of the Members of the National Association of Home Builders
* Find the Right NAHB Staff Faster Than Ever Online
* Bob the Builder Teaches Children About Safety
* Environmental Coloring Book Goes Online
* Northern Kentucky Remodelers Provide Holiday Cheer
* Builders in Southeast Virginia Launch General Liability Company
* One Home at a Time, Mississippi Builder Putting Working Families on the Road to the American Dream
* Calendar of Events

NBN Back Issues


R-Values Excessive in Revised ASHRAE Energy Standard

The nation’s home builders last week said that R-value requirements in the first draft of a complete revision of ASHRAE standard 90.2, “Energy-Efficient Design of Low-Rise Residential Buildings,” are unusually high and do not take into account the diminishing return on investing in these levels of insulation.

The standard, which has been drafted by ASHRAE’s residential energy committee, covers single-family homes and multifamily structures that are no more than three stories high.

The 90.2 committee will meet in Anaheim, CA, at the end of January during the week following the International Builders’ Show, to discuss NAHB’s and other comments that were submitted during a public review period for the draft standard that ended on Dec. 8.

Using a greatly simplified format, the revised standard replaces 15 pages of U-value graphs and tables with one table of installed R-values, and 50 pages of climate data with one zone map. R-value requirements for walls are now lower for warm climates than for cold.

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NAHB disagrees with the analysis that was used in the development of the R-value requirements, because it compares the cost and savings of each level of increased insulation with the cost, savings and payback of no insulation at all instead of comparing the cost, savings and payback of each level of insulation with that of the next higher increment.

The NAHB Research Center performed extensive computer analyses to determine reasonable incremental paybacks for some of the assemblies in the standard, which NAHB submitted as part of its comments.

Partly because of complexity and questionable economic basis of  standard 90.2, no jurisdiction in the United States has adopted it since ASHRAE approved it in 1992.

NAHB has opposed the standard and appealed its original publication to ASHRAE and ANSI, based on procedural and substantive reasons, including:

  • The complexity of a 25-line fenestration trade-off equation, which includes inputting the area of glass facing in each compass direction
  • A requirement for R-19 wall insulation in virtually all climates
  • The use of a “scalar ratio” reflecting a long return-on-investment period in the economic analysis that can be especially unfavorable to first-time home buyers

In the proposed revision of the standard, the fenestration trade-off equation has been eliminated, the wall insulation varied by climate and the economic analysis revamped.

For more information, e-mail Dick Morris or call him at 800-368-5242 x8444.
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