WASHINGTON - The International Code Council (ICC) announced that the 2009 edition of the International Residential Code (IRC), available in March, includes new requirements for sprinklers, carbon monoxide (CO) detectors, and energy efficiency. It also includes new standards for building homes in high-wind regions, and constructing community and residential storm shelters.

New safety features in the 2009 International Residential Code include:

• Fire sprinklers required in all new one- and two-family residences beginning Jan. 1, 2011.

• Fire sprinklers in all new townhomes when the code is adopted.

• Carbon monoxide alarms required in new construction dwelling units with fuel-fired appliances, and in existing homes where interior alterations include fuel-fired appliance replacements or attached garages.

• New guidelines for the design and construction of homes in high wind regions, based on the International Code Council’s Standard for Residential Construction in High Wind Regions, ICC 600.

• New guidelines for the design and construction of storm shelters, based on the new International Code Council/National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters, ICC 500-2008.

Energy efficiency upgrades in the 2009 code include:

• Programmable thermostats in new homes and buildings with forced air furnaces.

• Maximum fenestration U-factors are lowered in warmer climates to reduce the amount of heat loss or gain through windows and doors to lower energy costs during cooling periods.

• An increase in insulation R-values for walls, floors, and basements in cold climates to achieve heating and cooling savings.

The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, develops codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings.

Publication date: 01/26/2009