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Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA)

The Center of Excellence for the Air Barrier Industry

Your Questions , Our Answers - Where are air barriers required by code?

Air barriers are an industry that we all work in every day, ensuring the constant quality of manufacture, design, quality assurance and installation of an effective assembly. We all strive to ensure buildings last their designed service life, increase building occupant comfort, reduce energy bills, and have a building environmental separator which presents fewer opportunities for moisture and air-related concerns.

Today, with the tremendous help of many of our ABAA members, the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC), ASHRAE 189.1-11 and ASHRAE 90.1-2010 all have requirements for air barriers. These codes and standards are all increasing the energy efficiency of buildings in many ways by requiring air barriers to seal a building from air infiltration and exfiltration.

Check the Codes and Standards webpage of the ABAA website for an outline of the applicable codes and standards regarding air barrier materials, air barrier assemblies, whole building testing and water resistive barriers for the previously listed documents.

Many states including Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, California and New York have included air barriers into their state energy code.

The 2012 IgCC has been adopted by some local governments in Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Washington State, Arizona and New Hampshire and has been adopted with amendments in the entire state of Oregon.

The 2012 IECC has been adopted by some local governments in Washington State and Missouri and has been adopted in its entirety in the District of Columbia. (Council, 2012)

The State of Maryland through the Maryland Building Performance Standards (MBPS) has adopted the 2012 International Building Code (IBC) which gives the designer the ability to design to either the 2012 IECC or ASHRAE 90.1-2010.

Illinois Energy Conservation Code for Commercial Buildings requires design and construction professionals to follow the latest published edition of the 2012 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2010.

Connecticut passed a state bill on July 8, 2009 to update the state energy code. The bill requires the state to revise the State Building Code to incorporate the 2012 IECC within 18 months of its publication for commercial buildings. They have proposed to have the 2012 IECC adopted by July 1, 2013. (Partners, 2012)

On September 26, 2012 Oregon proposed to adopt the 2012 IECC with amendments. Stay tuned for further news. (Oregon, 2012)

Texas has mandated that all new and renovated non-residential state-funded buildings must comply with ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010. (OCEAN, 2012)

The Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development (BHCD) will commence the 2012 Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) update process in late 2012 through 2013 with a review of the 2012 IECC and 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) with an expected effective date in early 2014. (OCEAN, Virginia, 2012)

Many states are quickly progressing to adopt code requirements which will require continuous air barriers in all commercial buildings. These requirements are critical in assisting designers to ensure that buildings are as energy efficient as possible.

For more information and to be up-to-date on codes and standards related to air barriers, check the ABAA website at

Colin Szewaga, C.E.T.
Technical Services Advisor, ABAA