2009 Residential Code of Ohio (RCO)


NOTE: This code will be effective through December 31, 2012. The 2013 Residential Code of Ohio will take effect January 1, 2013.

Residential Code: The Residential Code of Ohio (RCO) applies to new and renovated one-, two-, and three-family dwellings. As of 2011, it has three compliance paths for energy efficiency:

  1. Meeting the 2006 IECC; OR
  2. Meeting the requirements of Sections 1101-1103 of RCO Chapter 11 (based on Chapter 11 of the 2006 IRC); OR
  3. Meeting the state code's Prescriptive Energy Requirements (RCO Section 1104)

Ohio’s Alternative Prescriptive Energy Requirements (RCO Section 1104) may allow the construction of homes that perform substantially worse in energy use than those built according to the main compliance path, the 2006 IECC. This alternative path creates confusion and may allow for lower energy efficiency, resulting in lost energy and dollar savings. In general, multiple compliance paths complicate and weaken energy codes in the long-term.

According to a series of simulations conducted using the U.S. Department of Energy’s REScheck program — the most widely-used compliance software tool in the nation — a home built using the Ohio alternative path fails the performance path of the 2006 IECC by 0.7-6.5 percent under a range of best-case to worst-case scenarios.

The same analysis showed that this simulated home’s thermal envelope performance fell substantially short of the 2006 IECC, trading away 16-18 percent of the home’s energy efficiency in floors, walls, and ceilings.

2013 RCO Update: On May 11, the Residential Codes Advisory Committee (RCAC) gave final approval to the OHBA Residential Alternative Energy Code as an alternative compliance path to the standard 2009 IECC compliance paths set to be in the next edition of the Ohio Residential Code (ORC). While containing several amendments to the base model code, some advocates believe the proposal will achieve energy savings equivalent to the 2009 IECC and at a cost less than that of the 2006 IECC in some parts of the state.

An RCAC energy subcommittee initially approved the proposal on March 22, and the OHBA and MEEA worked to convert the proposal into actual code language. Next steps would include approval by the Ohio Board of Building Standards (BBS), approval of that recommendation by the Ohio legislature’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR), and administrative review procedures before any code update would be effective.


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Based on: 
Date Passed: 
Friday, November 7, 2008
Date Effective: 
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Notes & Exceptions: 

NOTE: This code will be effective through December 31, 2012. The 2013 Residential Code of Ohio will take effect January 1, 2013.

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