The Model Energy Code – How it Pertains to Your Addition

Posted on: June 3, 2016

Additions and renovations are required to meet the same strict codes as a new home would.   Being able to design creatively while still working within these requirements requires a knowledgeable team of architects and designers.

What is the Model Energy Code?

The Model Energy Code (MEC) contains energy efficiency criteria for new residential and commercial buildings, and additions to existing buildings.  It includes the structures ceilings, walls, floors and foundations, as well as the mechanical, lighting and power systems.

“Codes & Standards; The Model Energy Code” by the US Department of Energy, November 1999,  

Its major focus is on home insulation, which is climate-specific based on where you live.  It also focuses on restricting air leakage, installing temperature controls, and insulating ducts and pipes, along with other energy-saving priorities.

What’s Important for Me to Know as a Homeowner?

MEC enforcement for the state of Virginia is mandatory, and all towns, cities, and counties must comply with the energy code.  One of the advantages to this is that your addition will be more energy-efficient, leading to savings on utility bills and increased comforts.

One of the disadvantages of the MEC is that homeowners aren’t easily able to research the various requirements for being MEC compliant.  It’s important to check with your design build firm or contractor to ensure that they have the knowledge and tools to work within these constraints.

The Sun Advantage

An experience we’ve run into time and time again is that being MEC compliant can feel restrictive – that is if you don’t know how to work innovatively within the code.  Our designers work with professionals in the mechanical field to ensure that our custom design is not only beautiful but balances the required energy envelope rather than simply assuming the minimum requirements.  You’ll get the look and feel you desire while maximizing your long-term return on investment.

The Bottom Line

The MEC was designed to address the energy crisis of the 1970s, and affects both new home designs and existing home additions.  If you’re considering an addition, make sure to inquire about these standards and how your designer is going to work within them to give you the remodel you deserve.

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