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Uniform Solar Energy Code Named an American
National Standard

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has formally bestowed the
designation of American National Standard upon the 2009 Uniform Solar Energy Code (USEC). Developed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), the USEC is the only model code governing the installation, inspection and maintenance of solar energy systems and their component products to be designated as such.

The USEC joins the 2009 editions of the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC®) and Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC®) as the only codes of their kind to be designated American National Standards. The 2003 and 2006 editions of the UPC and UMC also earned the designation; this is the first time for the USEC.

The advantages of a Uniform Solar Energy Code, acceptable in various jurisdictions as a means of promoting the public's health, safety and welfare, had long been recognized, prompting IAPMO to pass a resolution at its 1975 annual business conference that directed the president to form a committee to develop a basic solar energy document. After months of concerted endeavor, this committee, composed of representatives from industry and public utility companies, inspectors, plumbers and engineers, successfully completed the first edition of the USEC, which was officially adopted by IAPMO in September 1976.

"The ANS designation is a tribute to IAPMO’s progressively remarkable leadership in code development," said Dan McNabb, division manager of building inspections for the City of Austin, Texas. "Even after 33 years, the USEC remains one of the most forward-looking codes available to municipalities across the United States due to IAPMO’s determination to allow every voice to contribute to its development."

Key provisions of the 2009 USEC and changes from the 2006 edition include:

  • Comprehensively covers solar thermal systems and photovoltaic systems
  • Allows the installation of single wall heat exchangers
  • Requires access to solar collector and its components for maintenance and repair purposes
  • Provides protection requirements for freezing temperatures, water hammer, rodents, corrosion, ultraviolet radiation, decay and termites
  • Waterproofing requirements when solar collector is installed on a building structure for the prevention of water leakage

"The Uniform Solar Energy Code will no doubt prove to be an invaluable resource for Homer Glen, Ill.," said Steve Wydeveld, chief building official. "Its provisions remove all of the guess work and ensure that any solar energy system installed within Homer Glen is completely safe and reliable. With more and more individuals and businesses adopting these systems, it’s nice to know our standards are clearly defined from the start."

The 2009 USEC will be published and available for adoption later this month. For more information on IAPMO's ANSI-accredited consensus code development process and the specific provisions of the USEC, please contact Lynne Simnick, director of Code Development at lynne.simnick@iapmo.org or (909) 472-4110.

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