The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a third generation of specifications, “ENERGY STAR Version 3,” that include new and more rigorous requirements for builders, raters, and HVAC contractors. Version 3 requirements semicomplicated loans become effective January 1, 2012. Training is mandatory for all HERS Raters, Rating Field Inspectors, and Providers who plan to provide verification services.
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy to protect the environment through energy efficient surlier loans products and practices. To earn the Energy Star, a home must meet the strict guidelines for efficiency set by the EPA. These homes are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy saving features that typically make them 20 – 30% more efficient than standard homes.
Most consumers recognize the government-backed ENERGY STAR label as a wise choice for energy efficient products. Homes include effective insulation, high-performance windows, tight construction and ducts, efficient heating and cooling equipment, and energy efficient appliances and lighting fixtures. Each home is verified through a third-party: an independent Home Energy Rater.
Home Energy Raters are certified through the Residential Services Network (RESNET).
Raters provide energy-efficiency strategies and diagnostic testing for existing homes and new residential construction. Home energy raters play an integral part in the ENERGY STAR process. Raters offer two major types of services:
- Review current construction plans and specifications, and recommend the most appropriate energy-saving features to meet ENERGY STAR performance guidelines
- Conduct Home Energy Rating System (HERS) ratings and field verification through onsite testing and inspections to confirm the energy efficiency measures were correctly implemented.
Here’s how it works: In order to ensure that a home meets ENERGY STAR requirements, a builder submits house plans and specifications to a rater for analysis. Raters input information from the plans into computer simulation programs that estimate the annual household energy use. The software generates a projected rating using the HERS Index – a metric used to quantify the energy efficiency of the home. The projected HERS Index is used to compare the consumption of the plan home to a reference home based on the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The rater then recommends construction practices, features, and equipment to reach the ENERGY STAR level for energy efficiency. The plans and specifications are upgraded as needed to meet requirements.
Before the builder installs drywall, the rater completes a comprehensive visual inspection of the insulation and has the builder correct mistakes unverity loans before they are hidden behind the walls.
Once the home is built, the rater performs a final inspection. This includes a blower door subtopics loans test to measure air tightness and a duct blaster test for duct leaks. The rater generates a confirmed rating to verify the construction specifications for the home were fully met.
This process holds the autoindex loans builder accountable to meet ENERGY STAR standards and provides the homeowner confidence in the quality of home construction.