Why all HERS®/ERI Index Scores are Increasing Nationwide

It is important to understand the Home Energy Rating System (HERS®) and Energy Rating Index (ERI) are describing the same thing. HERS is a proprietary acronym created by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), so the term ERI has been used for the code language. RESNET is the governing and standard setting body of the home energy rating world. RESNET recently created the ANSI/RESNET/ICC 301-2014 standard that describes how the Index score is developed. Within the 2015 IECC language that used to describe how to develop an ERI score has been replaced in the 2018 IECC with the ANSI 301 standard. In addition, the standard has now been incorporated into every software used to develop a HERS® or ERI Index score.

The ANSI standard change has, and will, cause all HERS/or ERI index scores to increase across the country. Due to this score increase and other fixed mandatory requirements in the ERI pathway, it is unlikely that jurisdictions will see builders using the ERI path for quite some time.

For more information on why this is happening, please refer to the following article: HERS® Energy Rating Index Scores are Going Up!

Software developers have incorporated the new ANSI/RESNET/ICC 301-2014 standard into their systems. As stated before, they are all consistently seeing the HERS/ERI index scores increase. Currently, there are three software systems available:

Ekotrope

REM/Rate™

EnergyGauge®

EnergyLogic is in the process of transitioning to the Ekotrope compliance software which will change the look of the reports but will not affect the content of the reports. Click here to see a sample Ekotrope report. All three software versions have incorporated reference homes to developed code compliance documents for the UA Tradeoff, Simulated Performance, and Energy Rating Index pathways through the energy codes.

What is a reference home?

Imagine your two hands are two homes that are geometric twins of each other. Your left hand, the reference home, is a house built with the energy and aesthetic features defined by the code which uses a quantifiable amount of energy that the code has deemed to be the minimum amount allowed by the jurisdiction.  Your right hand is the home you want to build, the proposed design, with the energy and aesthetic features you believe, are best to achieve whatever goal you have for the home: cost- effectiveness, safety, aesthetic beauty, comfort, durability, efficiency or livability. Your home, the proposed design, on the right, is compared to the code reference home on the left and if your home’s performance is equal to or better than the reference home it complies with the code and can be permitted to be built. The jurisdiction, an approved third-party, or both will inspect, verify, and report that the home was built as proposed in order for the certificate of occupancy to be released. 

For more detailed information, please refer to the following article: Simple Explanation of the IECC

In summary, changes and upgrades to software systems are inevitable. The creation of the ANSI/RESNET/ICC 301-2014 standard was the most impactful, but every version upgrade affects something. As a result, RESNET has developed a standard that governs when Energy Raters must transition to the most recent version of a software.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the following article: Important RESNET® Amendment on Rating Software Changes (Persistence)

 

Robby Schwarz (faked)

Who to Contact:

Robby Schwarz
Principal, Director of Builder Relations

Email Robby
720-838-0677

Important RESNET® Amendment on Rating Software Changes (Persistence)

RESNET Adopts Standard Amendment on Persistence of the Use of Previous Versions of HERS Software When Standards Change

The latest release of Rating software, represented by the new ANSI/RESNET/ICC 301-2014, has dramatically demonstrated an issue that has been apparent for quite some time. To further expand on how various software versions impact changes to HERS Index scores, and how the recently adopted amendment, effective February 16, 2017, applies, please review the following:

  • When standards and software are updated, the HERS Index score can change.  In the case of ANSI/RESNET/ICC 301-2014 the score change is dramatic.
  • As the HERS Index continues to grow in our national vocabulary, consistency of the scoring system becomes increasingly important.

As the standards are currently written, homes in a community with a buildout of twenty years can use old software because software does not have to be updated due to the notion of “Persistence”. If left open to interpretation, one Projected Rating could be applied to multiple building permits in production housing, allowing “Persistence” based on a Projected Rating to extend the use of older software versions to 5, 10, or even 20 years.

After the RESNET Standard Public Review and Comment process, the RESNET Standards Management Board has adopted Amendment #2017-01.

  • The amendment requires that “Confirmed or Sampled Ratings on homes with a building permit date that is on or after the six-month anniversary of the release of the software must utilize the newly released software.
  • Homes with a building permit date before the six-month anniversary of the release of the software will be allowed to complete a Confirmed or Sampled Rating based on the previous version of the software that was utilized for the Projected Rating.”

The amendment also allows the RESNET Board of Directors to stipulate a timeframe other than the six-month anniversary of the building permit date.  The RESNET Board of Directors has not used this clause to date.

The adopted amendment is posted at RESNET Standard Amendment #2017-01

The amendment goes into effect on February 16, 2017.

Link to related article: HERS® Rating Scores Going Up

Robby Schwarz

 

Who to Contact:

Robby Schwarz
Principal, Director of Builder Relations

Email Robby
720-838-0677

HERS® Energy Rating Index Scores are Going Up!

In July of 2015, EnergyLogic began informing you about upcoming software changes.  As a reminder, the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) began to align the energy rating reference home to the 2006 IECC almost two years ago.  The reference home, which currently reflects the 2004 IECC supplemental code, is what your home is compared to in order to create the HERS Index score.  RESNET has gone through a process of taking the rule set for how to develop the HERS Index score through the ANSI process in order to create the ANSI/RESNET/ICC 301-2014 Standard for the Calculation and Labeling of the Energy Performance of Low-Rise Residential Buildings using an Energy Rating Index.  The main impetus for this ANSI Standard arose from the desire to use the Index Score for code compliance and the adoption of the Energy Rating Index (ERI), a HERS path, as a compliance matrix for the 2015 IECC.

Effects

The alignment with the 2006 IECC has three primary effects on the HERS reference home.

  • First, the updated 2006 IECC reference home infiltration rate became tighter to better reflect the improved tightness levels of newly constructed homes.
  • Second, the updated 2006 IECC reference home window solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) went from 0.55 in climate zones 4 through 8 to a SHGC of 0.40 in those climate zones. This updated value reflects the market penetration of improvements in basic window technology and is in alignment with the 2006 IECC.
  • Lastly, revised mechanical ventilation requirements are used in the HERS reference home which are now aligned with the ASHRAE 62.2-2013 ventilation standard.

Scores to Increase by 2 to 6 Points

Philip Fairey, Deputy Director of the Florida Solar Energy Center and a consultant for RESNET, performed research on the impact of these changes on the HERS Index values of rated homes in all eight climate zones. His research has demonstrated that the HERS Index values will increase across all climate zones by a range of 2 to 6 points due to the reference home alignment with the 2006 IECC that occurred through the creation of the ANSI/RESNET 301-2014 Standard.  EnergyLogic has been working with the newly released software, and we are seeing results that are consistently on the high end of the range (3-8 HERS Index points) when comparing homes that were rated with software developed prior to the ANSI standard adoption.  RESNET is mandating that HERS providers begin using the new software on January 1, 2017.  EnergyLogic has worked with RESNET to find ways to reduce the impact of the implementation of the ANSI standard software. A few things are, or have been, changed but the impact of the score increase will remain significant, affecting every home across the country.

Incorporating Water Heating

The development of the ANSI standard has also given RESNET the opportunity to include additional features related to water heating.  This is specific to energy use related to hot water distribution and does not take into account water conservation.  RESNET is working on a Water Index score that will address water conservation. The ANSI standard addendum allows the HERS Index score to quantify the efficiency or loss of energy through; pipe runs from the water heater to the farthest fixture, hot water pipes that are insulated, on-demand recirculation systems, high-efficiency low flow fixtures, and drain water heat recovery systems.  If all of these systems are deployed in a home, the technologies can provide builders approximately 1-3 point reduction in the HERS Index.

It is important to also understand that if a builder is currently utilizing a water delivery system that is not delivering the hot water efficiently then the HERS Index would be penalized.  For example, if you are currently using a timer or continuous recirculation loop to deliver hot water, your home’s HERS Index will be penalized. This will result in a higher score than the normal transition to the ANSI approved software.  So, in this example, if the transitioning to the ANSI approved software took a HERS Index from 60 to 65, the inefficient hot water circulation system could add another 5-10 points, taking the score to 70 or 75. It is important to evaluate your current specifications and choose the most efficient water distribution systems, such as an on-demand hot water recirculation system, or stop installing them all together.

Summary: All Homes will Be Affected

These changes will affect every home that is rated but should have minimal impact on the use of the Index score for demonstrating compliance with programs such as EnergyStar, as the program’s energy Index target will fluctuate in unison with the home that is being rated. In the same way, these changes should have minimal effects on code compliance when utilizing the Simulated Performance path as the code reference home is separate from the HERS reference home. For those few builders utilizing the 2015 IECC Energy Rating Index path (ERI), these changes will be significant.  Lastly, builders utilizing the Index score in their marketing efforts will need to update HERS related marketing collaterals.

Robby Schwarz (faked)

 

Robby Schwarz

Principal / Director of Builder Relations

EnergyLogic, Inc.

720-838-0677

Contact Robby Schwarz

Field Fusion: Learning How to Sell the Benefits of High-Performance Homes

Get in the Game by Selling High Performance 

Field-Fusion-LogoDate: November 16, 2016
3:00 – 7:00 PM

Cost: None

Location: Tavern Tech Center (Upstairs) 
5336 DTC Blvd
Greenwood Village, CO 80111

Please RSVP here

Event Logistics:

3:00 – 5:00 PM 

Presenter: Todd Gamboa, President of Building Trust LLC

Issue: New construction is on the rise again. However, the real estate market is still dominated by older homes as they represent over 85% of sales. Homebuilders, HERS® Raters, trade partners, suppliers, and manufacturers have a significant impact on the way new homes are designed, built, and sold.
 
Objective:  Converting prospective buyers to new construction is a team effort. Leveraging your knowledge of building science, energy efficiency, and consumer trends and behavior, is the most effective way to create opportunities. Get in the game by learning how to demonstrate and sell the benefits of high-performance homes, services, and products. You will increase your sales, improve your profitability, and differentiate your brand!

5:00 – 7:00 PM 

EnergyLogic’s Mixer and networking

Drinks & hors d’oeuvres provided!

Todd Gamboa

todd-gamboa

Todd Gamboa, President of Building Trust LLC, has been in the building industry for over 30 years, managing private and public companies. As a homebuilder, he has been responsible for the creation of thousands of homes. As a building science consultant, public speaker, and host of “New Home Solutions Radio”, he educates homebuilders, contractors, architects, appraisers, and realtors all over the country about the value and benefits of buying new construction. Mr Gamboa has launched and managed several, energy efficiency and “market transformation” programs for utility providers; home builder and realtor associations; and  state and federal government agencies throughout the U.S. His fast-paced, fun, and informative sales training have been described as “Info-tainment” by attendees.

 

This Field Fusion event is generously supported by Tyvek.

 

Get to know our new Field Services Manager & Software Technical Liaison, Steve Eagleburger

steve-eagleburger-serious-for-ela

EnergyLogic is proud to announce some exciting changes to our team! Get to know our new Field Services Manager & Software Technical Liaison, Steve Eagleburger.

Q&A: Learn more about Steve, his comprehensive background, and credentials!

What was your first job in the residential construction industry?

I’ve been involved in construction most of my life. I started as a painter/faux finisher around 30 years ago. I moved on to handyman work and eventually became a General Contractor around 2003.

How and when did you first become interested in high-performance homes and energy efficiency?

I’ve always been interested in environmental construction and design. I built the one and only Compressed Earth Block home in Denver and currently live there. It’s imperative that the construction industry realizes the impact it has on this planet and its inhabitants and take steps to move toward more efficient, cleaner and safer homes.

What insights did you gain in your time working as a general contractor?

Contractors can change the way we build homes and by making that change we can create longer- lasting, more comfortable, better performing homes. We often are focused on the bottom line when we should step back and look at the big picture. Success comes when we meet a triple bottom line -Economic Value, Environmental Sustainability and Social Responsibility. This is what drove me as a G.C. and eventually what lead me to work at Energylogic.

You’ve been with EnergyLogic since 2010 and have worked at a number of different roles.  What are some things you can share about your background in residential energy consulting?

You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it and as soon as you know it you need to share it. This is a constantly evolving industry and as raters and builders, we have to stay informed. Codes and programs evolve over time. It’s our responsibility as energy consultants to keep our clients informed and be as pre-emptive as possible when change is coming. Nobody likes surprises!

What are some of the common design mistakes or misconceptions builders should watch out for?

Demand a detailed set of drawings from your architect and engineer before you start to build and make sure those drawing specify local codes and builder program details! Refresh your plan set to include updated codes or details that were missed originally so you don’t keep repeating the same mistakes. So many failures and re-inspections can be avoided by having a knee wall framing detail somewhere in your plan set, or air barrier detail drawn for double framed walls, or by making sure there’s room between the stairs and foundation wall to add insulation, etc. These details allow everyone to do their job better, from estimators to installers.

Little things do matter. Even though we don’t like to delay construction schedules over minor issues, small improvements on a national scale can make an impact. We call these things out to help you build a better product, not to be obstructive. The building code and national programs such as Energy Star and DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes exist to help you build a better product and get to that triple bottom line. Embrace it and accept the future of construction!

What do you like to do in your free time?

When I’m not working you’ll find me hiking or camping with my wife and dog, but nothing too extreme. We like the quiet places.  Or maybe I’m down at the local brewery for a pint of cask-conditioned English ale.  Once a week you’ll find me at Zenko Kyudojo in Boulder, practicing Japanese archery.