Looking for a high performance home (high efficiency home)?
When you are getting started researching high performance homes, these are the acronyms and the terminology that you’ll come across over and over again. Here some brief explanations:
- HERS Rater – Independent 3rd-Party RESNet certified energy inspector. These companies are building science consultants who calculate, measure, and verify energy performance in new construction (like a Home Inspector on steroids).
- HERS Rating – Energy efficiency evaluation and testing of newly constructed homes, which typically consists of three main functions.
- 2.1 From plans computer modeling that incorporates all of the building features involved in construction (insulation, windows, HVAC equipment, air leakage, floor area) and project’s performance prior to construction of the house.
- 2.2 Thermal Bypass Inspection – The HERS Rater does a complete inspection of air barriers, insulation installation to verify that the quality (or grade) of the insulation is functional and installed properly.
- 2.3 Final Inspection when house is complete. This includes a “Blower Door Test” which measures air leakage and energy loss. This information is calculated by computer programs. The result is the HERS Index Score, and Energy Rating Certificate and other documents.
- HERS Index Score – The final measurement of a house’s efficiency. The lower the score, the better. Each point lower than 100 is a percentage of energy saved. (Example – A home with a HERS score of 70 = 30% more energy efficient than building code.)
- RESNet – Residential Energy Services Network – The governing agency which certifies, regulates, and provides quality assurance of HERS Rates and HERS Providers.
- IRC, IBC – International Residential Code and International Building Code. The IRC is used for residential single family and townhome construction. The IBC is used for condominiums and commercial buildings.
- IECC – International Energy Conservation Code. The energy code accompanies the IRC/IBC.
- Building Code – The acceptable construction requirements enforced by a jurisdiction that provides the minimum health and safety standard to occupants and tenants.
- ENERGY STAR – A program created and managed by the US Department of Energy (DOE), and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The DOE certifies consumer products and labels them as energy efficient. The EPA manages the ENERGY STAR New Homes program which certifies houses as energy efficient using HERS Ratings and other testing protocols.
- EnergySmart Builder Program – Program created by RESNET is a designation for builders who utilize the HERS Raters and HERS Index Score to measure their homes. These builders agree to test all of their new homes and share the results with the Customer.
- SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio – The ratio of cooling BTU’s to the energy consumed in Watt-hours. For air conditioning, the higher the SEER, the more efficient the appliance. Typical code is 13 SEER. (Prior to 2006, 10 seer was the standard allowed by code.)
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