BEES Studies

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BEES Study

CCHRC was funded by Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) to undertake a written economic analysis of the proposed changes to the Building Energy Efficiency Standards (BEES). CCHRC contracted with Northern Economic Research Associates (NERA) to complete the analysis. The analysis included life cycle costs of compliance including initial construction costs and long-term maintenance costs. Direct benefits shall be measured through improvements in energy efficiency, health or safety related impacts consequent to air quality and other environmental improvements, as well as changes in structural durability and occupancy comfort. Indirect economic impacts on community employment resources, and availability of housing shall be included. NERA completed the survey and the Final Report was forwarded to Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.

BEES Revision

In 2006 the AHFC Board of Directors adopted changes to the Alaska Building Energy Efficiency Standard (BEES) proposed by a CCHRC work group. These changes include Alaska Amendments to IECC 2006 and ASHRAE 62.2-2004. Residential buildings must meet this standard to qualify for a low-interest loan from AHFC. Though BEES is supposed to be updated at least every three years, it had been more than a decade since it had been amended. Significant changes had occurred in the ASHRAE ventilation standard and the cost of energy had risen dramatically.

We were tasked by AHFC to recommend updates to BEES. We convened a work group to review the existing BEES and the proposed changes from a previous review, as well as other suggestions made to AHFC, the new ASHRAE residential ventilation standard, and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). While BEES applies only to issues under AHFC purview, we also took note of the process undertaken by ASHBA to consider a statewide building code, especially because that group had determined to use the International Residential Code as the basis for their work.

Considering the recurrent complaint that BEES was not written in "code language," we decided to restate BEES in terms of the IECC 2006 and to include the new ASHRAE 62.2-2004 residential ventilation standard as part of the code for Alaska. When we recognized that several aspects of both the IECC 2006 and ASHRAE 62.2-2004 would not work in Alaska, we proposed a set of Alaska-specific amendments for AHFC adoption along with regulatory actions to redefine BEES. We generally tried to follow the IECC standards set forth in the old BEES. Occasionally, we made slight compromises to fit the two together, and had to extend the IECC climate zones to fit the range of conditions in Alaska. Recognizing the increased costs of energy, we dropped the special natural gas zone (2G) in the Anchorage area and proposed an increase in the minimum R-values for windows and skylights. The process for the performance compliance path (energy rating) was unchanged.

Additional amendments were proposed for adoption in early 2010 by an ad hoc committee of experts that met at AHFC in March 2009 to consider all of the comments received by that date concerning the amendments made in November of 2006. See the summary document below for details of the current status of BEES. All of the amendments to-date deal with the residential portion of the IECC. CCHRC (contact Dr. John Davies) is now heading a working group to consider amendments to the commercial section of the IECC.