Small Change in Software may have a Big Impact on Compliance with the Xcel Energy’s New Homes Program Builder Incentive Payments

The ENERGY STAR® New Homes (ESNH) Program provides incentives for builders to build homes that exceed local energy code requirements for energy efficiency by at least 10%. Homes must be evaluated by a RESNET® accredited Home Energy Rating System (HERS®) Rater. HERS Raters help builders achieve energy savings by providing plan review analysis and on-site verification throughout the construction process.

Software, program, and standard changes are converging in 2018 with a requirement to begin using a new version of the software to demonstrate compliance with the percentage above code requirement for receiving incentive dollars from Xcel Energy.  Codes are advancing and it has already been more difficult to achieve the percentage above code that is required to get an incentive payment.  Now, with the new version of the software, which more accurately models the home’s performance, it will be a little more difficult.  EnergyLogic is expecting fewer homes that we work with to achieve a level that qualifies for a builder incentive.

The Energy Efficiency Business Coalition (EEBC), an intervener in the Public Utility Commission DSM plan, is trying to offer ideas for more relevant builder incentive programs.  The two ideas being floated now are a HERS Index-based program and an a la carte program that could offer builder incentive payments for specific energy specifications installed in a home.  If you would like your voice to be heard in this process contact the EEBC.

If you are interested in having EnergyLogic re-analyze your plans to see if there are specification changes that will help you achieve a more consistent incentive payment, please reach out to or We will be happy to give you peace of mind with these changes.

Furnace Efficiency Rating (FER) Changing in 2019 – Here’s What You Need To Know!

Fans in residential furnaces will be subject to new Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency standards in July of 2019. Specifically, the fan motors will be targeted for change.  Carrier and other manufacturers are ensuring they will be ready to meet the new requirement. Manufacturers are currently planning to phase out older induction motors for newer constant torque ECM motors between March and April of 2019, in order to meet the new DOE Standards.

In July of 2014, the DOE established final standards for residential furnace fans. These standards outlined new technologically feasible energy conservation resulting in significant conservation of energy along with being economically justified.  Rich Bardgett, market manager for Nidec Corp., said, “the fan energy rating (FER) standard is essentially designed to regulate the efficiency of the fan in gas-fired furnaces, but that really means the motor;” hence the move away from induction motors to constant torque ECM motors.

The standard accounts for power consumption in heating, cooling, and constant circulation modes. The DOE predicts the new furnace fans will save approximately 3.99 quads of energy, reduce carbon pollution by up to 34 million metric tons (equivalent to the annual electricity use of 4.7 million homes), and save Americans more than $9 billion in home electricity bills through 2030. Although the savings have an increased initial cost, which is worrisome for many builders, the cost for homeowners is predicted to be dramatically reduced as power consumption of the motor will be reduced by as much as 46%.

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