2014 September Newsletter

New Information This Month:

Message from David Wilson, director, Utah Energy Conservation Coalition:

The next step towards Net Zero home building concerns water usage and conservation.  Greenbuildingmedia.com has an article detailing one builder’s ideas on that subject, which you might find as interesting we did.

Double Zero: Net Zero Energy with an Eye Toward Water Conservation

Originally posted Sep 26, 2014 12:24:00 PM by Hilary Daninhirsch

KB HOME RECENTLY constructed a home in Lancaster, California (in Los Angeles County), which earned the company RESNET’s award for Lowest HERS Index Score for a Production Builder.  Dubbed the Double ZeroHouse 2.0, it’s not only net-zero energy, it also requires no freshwater for irrigation.  Even without the SunPower solar PV system, this home achieves an impressive HERS score of 42.

Jacob Atalla, vice president of Sustainability, says that KB Home was the first homebuilder to sign up with RESNET as a RESNET Energy Smart Builder.  The company has its own Energy Performance Guide, incorporating HERS principles, which allows homeowners to calculate the dollars they can expect to spend and save.

Atalla reported that KB Home obtained a HERS rating for all 7,000 of their new homes in 2013, and achieved its goal of increasing their energy efficiency by 3 percent.  The average HERS score for homes built in 2013 was 65.

“On average, homeowners currently save $1,000 per year on energy bills compared to a typical resale home,” he says. “It’s a big value, and customers are looking for it.”

In fact, the HERS Index score is being added to many MLS listings; a home that has a very good (low) score gains an advantage over one that doesn’t, even if the homes share many other characteristics.

KB Home builds in communities across the country, from California to Florida to Maryland. The company chose to build the Double ZeroHouse 2.0 in Lancaster because the city strongly supports renewable energy.  The high desert, drought-prone location also allowed KB Home to showcase their water conservation mechanism –  a new graywater recycling system from Nexus eWater.  The system can treat up to 40,000 gallons of water a year for use as landscaping irrigation.

“We also used brand new technology—new to us—that contributed to lowering the HERS score in that house,” says Atalla.  The Power-Pipe by RenewABILITY is a wastewater heat recovery device that takes wastewater from the shower drains, extracts the heat, then uses it to heat the new freshwater going into the tankless water heater.  Atalla estimates the Power-Pipe saves approximately 10 percent of the energy spent on water heating.

As with all of their homes, KB Home focused on the building’s envelope and mechanics.   The team insulated the attic at the roof deck, upgraded insulation in the walls, tightened air sealing of the house, upgraded windows to argon-filled units and installed a tankless water heater.

Atalla says that RESNET-certified HERS raters are usually on site twice—once during the framing and installation of insulation and then again at the end of construction.  But because they were aiming for “double zero,” the rater partnered with KB Home early in the design process, helping to identify elements that could make the home more efficient and meet the net-zero-energy target, and visited the site more frequently, as well.   See more at: http://www.greenbuildermedia.com/blog/double-zero-net-zero-energy-with-an-eye-toward-water-conservation#sthash.ADxz4dw1.dpuf

Reminder: CAZ in Effect as of January 1, 2015

By January 1st, 2015, certified HERS raters must pass both CAZ tests.   All raters that have not passed both CAZ tests by the deadline will be placed on suspension and unable to upload ratings to the registry.  While on suspension, the rater will have 120 days (4/30/2015) to pass both tests to remain a rater in good standing. 


If the CAZ tests are NOT passed by 4/30/2015 (120 grace period), then the rater is thereby revoked of rater certification and listed as “terminated” in the registry. 


RESNET asks that all Rating Providers clearly communicate the RESNET CAZ requirements and provide their raters support where appropriate.  Any Rating Provider that fails to communicate the CAZ requirements to their certified raters may be subject to disciplinary action. 


Please also note that RESNET will be only be able to offer limited support during the Holidays (Thanksgiving through New Year’s). 

Energy Star Webinars for October:

Title Date and time Overview
ENERGY STAR Version 3.1 Wednesday, October 8th, 9:00-9:30AM ET This webinar is designed to get partners up to speed with the Version 3.1 program requirements. It will demonstrate how to run a v3.1 compliance report in REM/Rate for any home, identify key efficiency measures used to hit the v3.1 HERS targets, and review the v3.1 implementation timeline. This is especially important for partners in DC, DE, IA, IL, MA, MD, and RI, for which an implementation date has already been defined.
Introducing EPA’s New Sales Training Kit Thursday, October 23rd, 12:00-12:30PM ET Participate in this short webinar to learn about a brand new resource available to ENERGY STAR partners to help builder sales teams become well versed in selling the value of energy efficiency. The training kit is intended to be presented at a builder’s sales meeting over a 2–hour period. This webinar will review the components of the training kit and how to facilitate it successfully.
Zero Energy Ready Home Program Wednesday, October 29th, 2:00-3:00PM ET Once a home is as good as ENERGY STAR, the modest added “lift” to bring a home up to DOE’s Zero Energy Ready specs unleashes a wave of powerful value messages. DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes live better, work better, and last better — and give leading builders a U.S. Department of Energy brand to tell the incredible story of the homes they build. You don’t have to say “trust me”– along with every other builder in your market – you have a US DOE–labeled, 3rd party–verified home built to exacting standards for efficiency and performance. In this session you’ll hear from Sam Rashkin of US DOE on the market trends, business case, and technical strategies that are making US DOE Zero Energy Ready Home a powerful tool for builders and their teams.

Why CAZ Requirements for Certified RESNET HERS Raters

This is part of a continuing communication on why CAZ training and testing is being required for all RESNET HERS Raters by December 31, 2014.  This document addresses two issues:

  1. Adding CAZ Certification to RESNET HERS Raters requirements enables RESNET HERS Raters to participate in proposed federal legislation
  2. End the confusion and frustration over too many RESNET Certifications

Proposed Federal Tax Credit for Improving the Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes

Currently there is legislation in Congress to create a performance based federal tax credit of up to $5,000 to homeowners who improve the energy efficiency of their existing homes by a minimum of 20%.  The legislation requires a test out by certified raters.  This creates an exciting opportunity for RESNET HERS Raters to expand into the existing homes market.  By completing the required CAZ training and testing, HERS Raters will now be eligible to perform the required testing out without needing any other certification.

Resolving Confusion and Frustration Over Too Many RESNET Rater & Auditor Certifications

Previously RESNET had a growing number of certifications for raters and energy auditors.   Are you a Rating Field Inspector, HERS Rater, Comprehensive HERS Rater, Home Energy Survey Professional or a Building Performance Auditor?

What do you need to be?

Not only did this create confusion for you but also consumers and program managers.  It was a difficulty in working with Congressional staff on crafting the federal tax credit for retrofits.

In 2012 the RESNET Training and Education Committee grappled with this issue and took it straight on.  The committee decided to stop the proliferation of RESNET certifications and to recognize that HERS Raters were the central certification that can address both new and existing homes.  The committee proposed a standard amendment that combined the Comprehensive HERS Rater and Building Performance Auditor into the HERS Rater certification.  This required that HERS Raters be trained and tested in conducting CAZ testing.  The amendment went through a consensus based public review and comment process and was adopted by the RESNET Board of Directors in 2013.

Raters can sign up for the RESNET CAZ tests through an accredited Rater Training Provider. To find out more, contact RESNET’s Customer Service Representative Stephanie DeZee at stephanie@resnet.us

Please note that RESNET and Interplay staff will be holiday schedules after Thanksgiving.  This means that access to staff support on the tests will be limited during the holidays.  It would be wise to complete the required CAZ testing and training before Thanksgiving.

The Energy Conservatory Launches New Website

In case you missed it, TEC launched a new website a few days ago!  One of the features of the new site is a blog, where you’ll be able to find technical articles, among many others.  Another new feature is online tech support!  This section houses all of their product manuals, quick guides, and other tips and tricks.  If you have a technical question they encourage you to still call them, however you can also submit your tech support request online.  In addition, there is an online forum where you can ask questions, post comments and have discussions with others in the industry.  It’s very similar to their LinkedIn Group.  However, they encourage you to post your comments and questions on their new online tech support forum going forward.  (They will continue to monitor their LinkedIn Group as well.)  Hope you like their new site and find it to be useful.  Feedback is welcome!

What is Utility Customer Engagement Worth to You?

Quality engagement with customers is a requirement for any successful utility business.

…utility customers who engage with their utility on energy efficiency and conservation have a much more positive overall brand impression of their utility than non-participating customers”.
~ JD Power, 2014 Utilities Consumer Engagement Study

It takes a customer-centric approach to collaborate with your customers, build trust, and improve stakeholder value.

iEnergyHome Delivers Value Through Engagement:

  • Provide personalized, actionable energy and program information to your customers
  • Provide an easy way for customers to find utility rebates and programs
  • Create and drive online customer communities through gamification and social media
  • Deliver increased energy savings in a highly cost-effective way
  • Leverage valuable data to drive customer insights that inform planning, program design, and overall customer service results
Educate | Engage | Empower
Learn how 
iEnergy Home will drive customer engagement for your utility programs.

2nd Quarter Results Are In!

The ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Program has continued to see strong participation in the second quarter of 2014!  EPA is pleased to announce that over 20,000 ENERGY STAR certified homes were reported in Q2.  During that same period, 158 new builder and developer partners and 13 new Rater partners from all over the country joined the ENERGY STAR program.