INCREMENTAL COSTS SHARED BY CLIMATE ZONES 6 AND 7
Builders in both of Minnesota’s climate zones will need to make window upgrades to meet the 2012 IECCto meet the improved U- factor in the 2012 IECC (.32 from .35). This added cost is conservatively estimatedby the Efficient Windows Collaborative (EWC) as no more than $1.00 per square foot of window area. It isimportant to note that many builders may already install windows that meet the 2012 IECC’s slightly-improved requirements, but in an effort to be conservative (and strictly compare the two codes) thisanalysis assumes that builders are currently using the least-cost window to meet existing coderequirements.
Total window incremental costs are estimated as $357.
Hard Ducted Returns in Basement Ceilings
For builders in both climate zones that are currently using “panned” floor joists as return air ducts,meeting the 2012 IECC will require an upgrade to conventional “hard ducted” returns in basement ceilings.Many builders already use conventional ducts as returns, but this cost has been included in this analysisregardless. Calculating the cost change between panned and conventional ducts is challenging, as pannedducts are not priced in RS Means and many construction cost sources. After consulting with HVACcontractors, who indicated the cost of panned ducts was roughly half of conventional ducts, incrementalcosts are estimated in this analysis as one-half of cost of flexible return ducts. We believe this cost isreasonable due to the significant amount of labor required for panned ducts, as contractors must screwsheet metal between two adjacent joists and seal the edges with mastic. RS Means estimates the installedcost of flexible, non-insulated, 6” diameter flexible ducts at $4.58 per linear foot.
As such, the cost toupgrade ducts is estimated at $2.29 per linear foot, or $187 to $199, depending on climate zone, for theestimated 75 feet of return duct which some builders will have to upgrade under the 2012 IECC.
Whole House Air Leakage and Ventilation
We estimate that the additional required air sealing in the 2012 IECC and the required testing for wholehouse air leakage (commonly known as “blower door”) and duct leakage will add about $350
per newhome. Blower door and duct leakage tests are estimated at no more than $250, while the costs of doingadditional air sealing are expected to be $100.As a result of the improved air sealing, new homes will have fewer air and duct leaks to the outside. Inmany states, this change would require additional mechanical ventilation, at a cost of $180 for upgradingone bathroom vent fan to a unit with an Energy Star rating along with the installation of a simple controllerwhich is set to automatically exhaust indoor air.
However, Minnesota has long required mechanicalventilation over and above the national model codes. At present, the state’s code prescribes sufficientventilation that we assume that builders are already meeting the 2012 IECC’s ventilation requirementthrough the current code. In the event some builders have not embraced this requirement, the additionalcost should be no more than $180 per new home.
indicating that construction costs in climate zone 6 are approximately 16% higher than the national average. Likewise,the location factor used in climate zone 7 is Duluth, which is estimated at 109% of the national average.
As a result, many builders will be able to reduce or avoid incremental costs for better windows.
Less expensive duct options are available, but this product matches the modeling assumptions used by ICFI.
$350 is a commonly used as an expected air sealing and testing cost for new single-family detached homesnationwide.
Ventilation system and costs are described in an August 2005 report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory“Review of Residential Ventilation Technologies.” Although the costs of these components have decreased in recentyears, the 2005 estimate ($180 per new home) is quoted in this analysis.