QII and the 2019 Code: What You Need to Know Now

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has set a standard for the way insulation should be installed in a home, called High Quality Insulation Installation (QII). To meet QII, insulated framing areas need to resist thermal bridging of the assembly separating a conditioned space from an unconditioned space. For more general information on QII, please follow this link.

The Codes and Standards Enhancement (CASE) initiative is proposing to include QII in the 2019 Title 24 code as a prescriptive requirement for all climate zones, except low-rise multifamily buildings in Climate Zone 7. Per the California Statewide Utility Codes and Standards Program, under the 2013 and 2016 code a compliance credit is awarded for installations that perform QII. The Standard Design assumes that builders are not performing QII. Wall insulation values are modeled at 70 percent of the R-value of the installed insulation, with attic defects assumed as well. If a builder performs QII, the actual insulation values (100 percent) are credited in the modeling. Fiberglass batt insulation is still the most commonly used wall insulation product used in California, while loose-fill fiberglass insulation is commonly used in attic insulation. With the proposal to include QII in the 2019 Title 24 code as a prescriptive requirement, verification by a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rater will be required to ensure proper insulation installation within the entire thermal envelope (including walls, roofs, and floors). QII will remain a compliance credit for multifamily buildings in Climate Zone 7. This prescriptive measure does not apply to alterations.

The Insulation Institute identified the 5 most common insulation install flaws through a survey conducted with more than 100 of the nation’s top production builders. The study also asked builders what their biggest challenges were in working with insulation contractors. The majority of responses pointed toward incorrect materials used, followed up by improper installation. The top 5 areas where insulation flaws can compromise a building’s energy performance are:

  1. Improper sealing around windows, doors, and rough openings
  2. Plate penetrations and chases not sealed
  3. Improperly installed air barriers around double walls, tubs, and showers
  4. Drywall not sealed to top plates
  5. Misalignment of insulation

Click here for more information in QII from Energy Code Ace