Energy Efficiency, Comfort, and excellent Indoor Air Quality can be designed into a new or renovated home. Thanks to energy modeling software, a home's energy efficiency can be accurately predicted from plans and changes can be made at the design stage of creation.
A HERS Rating is done from architectural plans, which gives the home a projected numerical energy score, anticipated energy consumption, and annual utility costs. Once this energy model is created, changes can be experimented with and their energy consequences quantified. Since we are working with plans, we can do this work together from anywhere in the country.
Architects can also specify construction practices, equipment, and performance standards to ensure that design goals are attained. For example, to ensure that electrical energy is not wasted by conditioning air that is then squandered through leaky air conditioning ducts, HVAC distribution leakage can be specified something like this:
"HVAC system leakage to the outside @ 25 pascals shall not exceed 5% of nominal air handler capacity of 400 CFM/ton. If third-party testing shows that leakage exceeds this figure, HVAC contractor will continue sealing the system until third party testing verifies this design parameter has been met - and HVAC contractor will pay for this additional testing."
At certain stages in construction, or when the house is completed, the house can be measured and tested in a second HERS Rating. This "confirmed rating" tests the contractors' work, verifies design specifications are met, and gives the house a nationally recognized HERS Score. The homeowner is given a HERS Certificate verifying this score, adding to the appraised value of the home.
The HERS Rating is now required in some cities in order to sell a house or get a building permit. It is
also a mandatory part of certifying your projects as ENERGY STAR Homes or Enterprise Green Communities compliant, as well as qualifying for the Energy Efficient Home tax credit.
ARCHITECTS & DESIGNERS
Residential Architects and Designers can design energy efficiency, comfort, combustion gas safety, and excellent indoor air quality into a home from the very beginning.
The energy impact of design decisions can be tested in the modeling software for better decisions.
The energy efficiency of the home can be proven by its HERS Index score.
Architects & Designers can gain increased knowledge of energy efficiency, design truly energy efficient homes, and gain a deserved reputation as green designers.
Your projects can be designed and certified as ENERGY STAR
and Enterprise Green Communities compliant.
As a result, you will be more in-demand as the market for green homes inevitably continues to grow.
1. HERS Rating from Plans
A computer model of the home is created from building plans.
The energy efficiency of the home is summarized in its HERS Score.
Anticipated indoor air and water quality is noted.
Anticipated occupant comfort caused by air temperature, humidity, and flow, by sound, and by light is considered.
2. Consultation with Architect
We meet with you to ...
Convey results of energy modeling, air /water quality concerns, and comfort projections.
Test the impact of these recommendations in the energy model.
Create specifications to ensure this intelligence is built into the home.
Provide on-going assistance throughout the design process.
3. Meeting with Contractors
We meet with the general contractor and key subs to communicate energy efficiency specifications and construction processes that will make the building far more energy efficient than what they are used to.
4. Inspections and Testing
If your project is within our service area, there are several stages in construction when observation and testing should be done. After these stages are passed, sub-par construction work cannot be undone. Verification of work quality includes ...
Pre-insulation Air Leakage Testing - A Blower Door Test reveals both the quantity of outdoor air leaking through the building envelope and the location of leaks. These leaks ("thermal bypasses") - which are usually around doors, plumbing and electrical penetrations, unsealed chases, can lights - can easily be sealed at this stage. Once insulation hides them, they are hard to find.
Pre-drywall Insulation Inspection - This verifies that installed insulation meets specified R-value and achieves Grade I standards.
HVAC System Leakage at Rough-in - A preliminary Duct Blaster Test finds system leaks while they can still be fixed. In a two story house, in which ducts for the first floor are run in a second story floor assembly, air leaks in the duct system are tough to remedy once the ceiling sheetrock is installed.
Final Inspection - When the home is near completion, inspection and testing is done to ...
- Ensure specified equipment has been installed and operates properly.
- Verify HVAC systems meet design
- Complete a HERS Rating on the home as-built
At this stage , we ...
Create a HERS Certificate for the house
"Jon has been an invaluable resource throughout the design/build process. He is quick to respond to questions and always has several options in mind when troubleshooting a project. Jon sat down with me and modeled some houses, modifying one construction feature at a time to show the actual benefit of each product and method we were considering, which not only helped us get the best bang for our buck but increased my overall understanding of building science greatly."
Director of Construction
Habitat for Humanity
St. Tammy Parish