Energy Testing for Code Compliance
Home Energy Ratings (HERS) and ENERGY STAR® Homes Certification
Accu-Spec Home Inspection, PC is a certified home energy rating firm and performs unbiased third-party energy ratings. Energy Ratings are a point system (or index) by which homes can be compared for their level of energy efficiency. The Energy Rating system we use is endorsed by EPA’s Energy Star Program. A home’s energy rating (or HERS) is similar to the MPG label rating used on new automobiles. More information about the HERS index can be found at the web site www.resnet.us and www.energystar.gov.
The HERS scoring index provides a score representing the home’s efficiency relative to the same home built in accordance with the residential energy building codes (International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). For example, the home built in accordance with residential building code (a.k.a. the reference home) would score 100 where a home that scored 80 (lower is better) consumes 20% less energy than a similarly built code built house. A home that consumes no more energy than it can offset with alternative energy production would score 0 or “net zero”.
Why Should New Home Homebuilders Build Energy Star Homes?
Your customers enjoy a value added benefit; energy efficiency, that helps them save money, be more comfortable and reduce environmental impacts every day of every year they live in the home. The bottom line for customers is they have quality features built in to their homes that translate into lasting value, the envy of their neighbors and referrals for the builder. Profitability is enhanced by the opportunity for your buyers to use projected energy savings to pay for additional, high-value upgrades. Your company will gain instant brand recognition with a nationally recognized and trusted program. Partnering with EPA shows you are a leader and distinguishes your company as a leader in energy efficient construction techniques and environmental stewardship. Liability is reduced by avoiding common construction defect call back items such as air leakage, improperly installed insulation and missing air barriers that can result in drafts and moisture problems. A marketing edge is gained by builders who are willing to make human health and environmental sustainability top priorities.
Why Do Homebuyers Choose Energy Star Homes Over Conventional Homes?
Homebuyers choose Energy Star because they recognize the EPA program is their assurance that their home is built to the best energy performance level which leads to reduced ownership costs, lower environmental impact, improved comfort, improved durability, improved marketability of the home when selling and a smarter overall investment. In addition, participation in the program can help an owner qualify for additional financing programs through FHA. HERS scores are used to qualify homes for the following programs:
- Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR Homes program;
- United States Department of Energy (DOE) Builder’s Challenge Program;
- Federal energy tax credits under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005);
- Energy Efficient mortgage (EEM) products of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Veteran’s Administration (VA)
What Improvements Constitute an Energy Star Home?
Effective, properly installed and inspected insulation, tighter HVAC duct systems, energy efficient HVAC equipment, energy efficient water heating, high performance windows, energy efficient appliances, energy efficient lighting and other energy efficient products. Many of these improvements are difficult or cost prohibitive to retrofit to an existing house, but when implemented during construction are cost effective.
So How Does a Builder Join Energy Star?
Accu-Spec Home Inspection, PC can help you be an Energy Star Partner. The process is as follows:
- Go to the website www.energystar.gov and fill out the Partnership Agreement.
- Contact Accu-Spec Home Inspection, PC to review your house plans for compliance. A review and analysis of building plans and specs is performed to develop a preliminary energy rating and recommendations are made to improve the design and/or specs for the purposes of energy performance and to achieve the required energy rating of 80 or lower. It is recommended that this review take place at the beginning of the project and no later than before the rough-in stage.
- Mid Construction Inspection – An on-site inspection must be performed after the insulation is installed but prior to the sheetrock installation. Other mid-construction inspections may occur as needed or as requested during the construction process.
- Final Inspection – Upon the homes completion a final inspection is conducted using state-of-the-art blower door and Duct Blaster (if applicable).
- Display the Energy Star label on each qualifying home and use Energy Star promotional materials to gain market advantage.
Site visits during the construction process allow us to make recommendations that are cost effective and will enhance performance of the home. These recommendations will address framing, insulation, air-sealing, and ventilation strategies, as well as decisions on purchasing energy saving, ENERGY STAR labeled products, appliances and lighting fixtures.
For more information regarding the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) and ENERGY STAR Home Program please call 800 511 4880