As part of Florida’s increasing efforts to achieve energy efficiency in new construction, changes have been made to the methodology of measuring dwelling air leakage and tolerable measurements. In June 2015, the Florida Legislature amended Section 553.998, Florida Statutes, to require additional testing for newly constructed buildings to verify air leakage figures. Residential construction must now undergo a Mandatory Residential Air Infiltration (“Blower Door”) Test. Florida companies were granted a two-year “grace period” to allow the construction industry to prepare and plan for the changes, which became effective on July 1, 2017.
The new language of the statute increases the maximum tested air leakage unit to “not exceeding 7 air changes per hour,” increasing the limit from the previous leakage measure “not exceeding 5 air changes per hour.” Dwellings shall not require mandatory mechanical ventilation unless the air infiltration rate is less than 2 air changes per hour when tested with a blower door in accordance with Section R402.4.1.2 of the Florida Building Code, 5th Edition (2014).
Under the new Mandatory Residential Air Infiltration, or Blower Door testing, local enforcement agencies shall accept duct and air infiltration tests performed by the following individuals:
- Class A air-conditioning contractor as defined in section 489.105(3)(f), Florida Statutes;
- Class B air-conditioning contractor as defined in Fla. Stat. 489.105(3)(g);
- Class C air-conditioning contractor as defined in Fla. Stat. 489.105(3)(h)l
- “Energy Auditor” as defined by Fla. Stat. 553.993(5); or
- “Energy Rater” as defined by Fla. Stat. 553.993(7).
Additionally, per the Blower Door testing regulations, mechanical ventilation is not required unless the air infiltration rate in a dwelling is less than 3 air changes per hour when tested with a blower door in accordance with R402.4.1.2 of the Florida Building Code, 5th Edition (2014).
These changes apply to construction permitted after July 1, 2017. It is important that individuals and companies involved in design and construction of new projects are aware of these new requirements to ensure their projects are properly designed and meet all new testing standards.
If you have questions regarding these standards and the implications for your business, please reach out to CSK’s Construction Group.