Florida: Solar and Building Codes

Off-grid beach house with coconuts trees

Florida has until October 1 to decide whether onsite renewable power generation may be used for code compliance.

Back in late March, the Green Builder Coalition reported on the energy aspects of HB 535, which was signed into law by Governor Scott. It requires that Florida adopt the ERI path as an alternative compliance option for the 2015 IECC.

One of the other energy-related items in that bill is the following deadline:
“The Florida Building Commission must decide by October 1, 2016 whether onsite renewable power generation may be used for compliance.”

An ERI workgroup has been meeting to determine how (or if) it will be incorporated. We have received inside information that a proposal from the Leading Builders of America, and supported by the Florida Home Builders Association, has been forwarded by the ERI workgroup to the Florida Building Commission whereby onsite power generation would be allowed in the ERI path if the building utilizes the prescriptive path of the 2015 IECC as a backstop.

If the home uses the ERI path for compliance but does not use onsite renewables, then the 2009 IECC would be the backstop, as is currently written in the 2015 IECC model code.

Not all builders agree with the proposal, however. Some feel it doesn’t represent a tradeoff if a code references its own prescriptive path as a backstop in its performance path. Others question why this would only be required if onsite renewables are installed and used.

Kim Shanahan of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association said of the proposal, “It inherently penalizes solar in a state with an abundance of solar.”

It will be interesting to see how the Florida Building Commission decides to utilize the power of the sun in the Sunshine State.