2014 May Newsletter

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From David A. Wilson, director of Utah Energy Conservation Coalition:

In the past few months, there have been some changes and challenges that the home building industry needs to keep their eyes on.  Congress is working to create tax credits for whole house energy efficient retrofits.  RESNET has been actively working on maintaining testing standards throughout the U.S. on two major fronts.  With the introduction of the BPI Rating System, RESNET is working to establish the HERS rating system as the standard for home energy ratings.  Amendments to Sections 806 to 808 of RESNET’s CAZ and CO testing standards is also ongoing.

Utah Energy Conservation Coalition will continue to report on these activities in our newsletters and on our website (utahenergy.org).

Updated Energy Star Guide Now Available

We have updated our ENERGY STAR Guide for Licensed Professionals.  This guide is a comprehensive resource that contains all you need to know about verifying applications for ENERGY STAR certification.

What’s changed
A lot! Noteworthy updates to the document include:

–          Updated application process is now reflected (for example, there is no longer a mailing address for hard copy applications).
–          Updated information about random spot audits, which are to start in August 2014.
–          Updated information regarding who may sign off on an application.

What you need to do
Licensed Professionals (verifiers): If you verify applications for ENERGY STAR certification, please be sure to use this updated document as a resource.
Building owners/managers: Please pass along this updated version of the Guide to your LP.

Remember: Good applications get approved faster. That means less of your time and money spent answering our questions! Use the new Licensed Professional Guide and do it right the first time! Download the guide today.

NYSERDA Now Recognizes RESNET CAZ/ CO Training and Testing

From Steve Baden, RESNET, May 22, 2014

Previously NYSERDA required HERS Raters be certified as a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst Professional in order to participate in its Low-rise Residential New Construction Programs.  This requirement forced HERS Raters to be both certified by RESNET and BPI.


In April 2014 NYSERDA change its program requirements and now recognizes, “the RESNET CAZ simulation and written tests, and have completed the field training on CAZ testing by a RESNET accredited Rater Training Provider, as required by RESNET”.  This means that after January 1, 2015, certified HERS Raters will no longer be required to be a certified as a Building Analyst to participate in the NYSERDA program. 

For more information, read HERS Raters Requirements for NYSERDA’s Low-rise Residential New Construction Programs.

RESNET Moves Effective Date of Amendment

On March 15, 2013, the RESNET Board of Directors adopted an amendment of Sections 806 to 808 of RESNET’s CAZ and CO testing standards.  The amendment is contained in Addendum 2 of the RESNET Mortgage Industry National Home Energy Rating Standards. The effective date for the amendment was May 15, 2014.

Since the amendment was adopted the RESNET Board of Directors adopted a policy of not having a separate RESNET CAZ and CO standard but rather to refer to an existing ANSI standard.  There is an amendment that would remove RESNET’s CAZ and CO standards from Chapter 8. The amendment would instead refer to the existing ANSI standard. The proposed amendment is currently in the process of public comment reconciliation by the RESNET Standards Development Committee (SDC) 300.

On May 12, 2014, the RESNET Board voted to extend the implementation date of the Addendum 2 to August 15, 2014.  This will allow the RESNET SDC 300 enough time to amend the RESNET standards regarding CAZ and CO from both the current Chapter 8 standard and the approved addendum to Chapter 8

In the meantime certified RESNET Home Energy Raters should continue to be guided by the current Sections 806 to 808 of Chapter 8 of the RESNET National Home Energy Rating Standards in undertaking RESNET CAZ and CO testing.

The RESNET simulation CAZ and CO testing test is still based on the current un-amended Sections 806 – 808.  The effective date of the standard amendment currently in the RESNET public comment reconciliation process will not take place until after the date of January 1, 2015, when all currently certified raters must complete the required CAZ and CO training and test requirements.

Five Energy Saving Myths:

There are a lot of energy-saving tips out there that claim to help you reduce your energy costs and increase your financial savings. Unfortunately, they’re not all true. Here are five of the most common energy-saving myths.
1. Keeping a Ceiling Fan Running Cools the Room
Rooms don’t feel hot – people do. Therefore, there’s no benefit to running a fan in an empty room; it just wastes electricity and money. The way a fan works is by circulating the air in the room, which when it makes contact with skin, makes us feel cooler. It doesn’t actually change the temperature of the room. A better option is to turn the fan off when you leave the room and save on the energy cost.
2. Setting the Thermostat Higher Heats Your Home Faster
You might think that by walking into a cold room and cranking the thermostat up to 88˚F is going to make the room heat up faster. You would be wrong. It’s like repeatedly pressing the elevator button to make it come faster: it’s not going to make a difference. Thermostats direct a home’s HVAC system to heat or cool to a certain temperature; setting a higher temperature won’t influence the speed at which a home is heated. In fact, you may waste energy by forgetting to reset the temperature once the home has been heated. Instead, simply set the thermostat to your ideal temperature. The same principle applies to cooling a house.
3. Turning Your Computer on and off Wastes Energy
This is a very common energy-saving myth. Today’s computers are more energy efficient than ever before, and by turning them off when not in use, you can save a great deal of energy and money. You can also take advantage of built-in energy-saving features such as the “sleep” function that essentially puts your computer to sleep when not in use and wakes it when you go back to it. Again, this saves what would otherwise be a lot of wasted energy.

Upcoming Energy Star Webinars:

For detailed information, visit our website http://utahenergy.org

Title                     Date and time       Target Audience
HVAC Design Step 3: Duct Design Thursday, June 5th, 2014; 2:00 p.m.-2:45 p.m. ET Builders, Raters, Utility sponsors, HVAC contractors
Leveraging ENERGY STAR through Social Media Tuesday, June 10th, 2014; 12:00 p.m.-12:45p.m. ET Builders’ sales and marketing representatives, Raters, Utility sponsors
Stepping up from the HERS Index to ENERGY STAR Thursday, June 19th, 2014; 1:00 p.m.-1:45p.m. ET Builders, Raters, Utility sponsors, HVAC contractors
Air Sealing Done Right Wednesday, June 25th, 2014; 12:00 p.m.-12:45p.m. ET

Whole House Retrofit Tax Credit

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to create a performance based whole house tax credit for homeowners who improve the energy performance of their existing homes.  The legislation, “Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives Act’’ (S. 2189) was introduced by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein  (D-CA) and Brian Schatz  (D-HI).

The credit offers a $2,000 tax credit for homes whose energy use is reduced by a minimum of 20%.  The proposed bill would increase the credit by $500 for each five percent reduction up to a maximum credit of $5,000.

The legislation requires energy modeling of the home “based upon modeling software certified by RESNET as following the software verification test suites in section 4.2.1 of RESNET Publication No. 06–001”.

The legislation requires that either RESNET Energy Smart Teams or BPI contractors undertake the improvements.  It also requires a test in and test out by a certified Home Energy Rater.

The legislation is posted at Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives Act.  The section on existing homes starts on page 47.

A performance base tax credit for existing homes has long been a legislative priority for RESNET.

The legislation is based upon negotiations that were conducted by RESNET, Efficiency First, the Alliance to Save Energy and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

BPI Rating System Introduced

The Building Performance Institute (BPI) recently released notice that they have launched a national rating program based upon the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Home Energy Score.  The RESNET Board of Directors views this development with concern.  The chief of which is the potential of creating confusion in the market place.

 RESNET does not fear competition in the market place as long as the products are comparable and are judged in the market place and not by the government.

The concern of the RESNET Board was confirmed in Oregon recently where Joan Glickman of DOE lobbied the state to no longer recognize the RESNET standards for new homes but rather the DOE’s Home Energy Score.  This effort in Oregon was not successful but is sure to pop-up in other states.

A factsheet that compares the two programs is below.  This should provide you with information in order to answer why one should chose a certified RESNET HERS Rater over the BPI Home Energy Score Rating Program.

In addition RESNET has started a dialog with DOE to clarify the differences between HERS and Home Energy Score.  This includes meetings with DOE management and the developers of Home Energy Score.

Comparisons between RESNET’s HERS and BPI’s HomeEnergy

RESNET Home Energy Score
Rates a home on a 100 point scale (granular) Rates a home on a 10 point scale (simple)
Complies with ANSI American National Standard for Home Energy Ratings Does not
Software tools developed by private sector and market based. Choice among accredited products. Developed and owned by federal government
Reflects performance testing of homes Does not
Recognized as compliance option to energy codes Does not
Recognized for new homes tax credit and ENERGY STAR new homes Does not
Technical rigor in assigning points for new and existing homes Energy audit tool to present general energy performance of an existing home

RESNET Webinar on Appraisal Institute’s AI Reports

On May 16, 2014, RESNET hosted a webinar on the Appraisal Institute’s AI Reports® Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum.  Presenting in the webinar was Sandra K. Adomatis, SRA, LEED Green Associate, of Adomatis Appraisal Service and Jonathan Martin and Steve Baden of RESNET.
The webinar was recorded.  If you are interested in this subject but were not able to attend you can download the webinar at AI Reports® Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum

Five Energy Saving Myths (continued):

4. Closing Vents and Registers in Unused Rooms Saves Energy
HVACs function as balanced systems; by closing off one vent, it places a strain on other areas of the system, forcing it to use more energy rather than less. There’s no point in shutting off vents and registers in an effort to save energy – you’re probably doing the opposite instead. A better way is to set the thermostat a couple of degrees higher in summer or lower in winter.
5. Save Energy by Washing Dishes by Hand Instead of the Dishwasher
What many people may not realize is that hand washing dishes actually uses more hot water per load than using a dishwasher. Many modern dishwashers have energy efficiency settings that use less water and energy to keep costs down. Take advantage of these settings to save money and energy when doing your dishes.
For more energy-saving tips, visit the RESNET SmartHome. The typical American family spends nearly $2,000 a year on energy, and unfortunately a lot of that money goes on wasted energy. To find out more on how to save money and energy, contact your local certified RESNET Home Energy Auditor for an energy audit.
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