Time for National Energy Efficiency Program for New Homes

RESNET announces 2 million HERS rated homes

The Consortium for Energy Efficiency adopts residential new construction initiative based on Energy Rating Index.

According to the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), to date, there has been a patchwork of utility, state, and federal offerings aimed at increasing the efficiency of new homes beyond existing building codes. These programs have had varying degrees of success, but in general have had difficulty inducing many builders to climb the efficiency ladder towards zero net energy. This is in large part due to the variance in efficiency standards spanning the multiple jurisdictions that builders serve.

CEE reports that recent developments in the residential new construction market have primed it for nationally coordinated programs that incentivize deep energy savings. One such indicator is the increased adoption of the Home Energy Rating System (HERS), which is used for compliance in many voluntary efficiency programs for new homes and is similar to the system used for compliance with Section 45L tax incentives.

In 2016, roughly 22 percent of new homes received HERS ratings paid for by the builder; the average HERS rating for these homes was 61, which is more efficient than a house built to most local building codes. Another indicator is the adoption of a new compliance path based on ratings, the Energy Rating Index (ERI), into the 2015 and subsequent 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The wide use of ratings and potential for beyond-code construction present a large opportunity for cost-effective savings and market transformation through increased national coordination.

The CEE Board of Directors has adopted a Residential New Construction Initiative that will implement a tiered specification with performance-based levels based upon Energy Rating Index scores that will help drive industry to adopt increasingly efficient new construction practices, support the development and adoption of future building codes that align with program goals, and promote increased stability in a traditionally fragmented market of energy efficiency targets.

The CEEE Residential New Construction Initiative is designed to create a foundation from which member utilities are able to work collaboratively to transform the landscape for newly built homes. CEE expects to achieve the following benefits and market influence through deployment of this Initiative:

  • Grow the United States and Canadian markets for high efficiency systems, equipment, components, and products that contribute to new home performance through the creation of a tiered performance-based specification that is consistently promoted by voluntary programs
  • Bolster the infrastructure of service providers, raters, trade ally networks, and contractors capable of designing and constructing high performing homes
  • Complement and create strategic links with current platforms and federal voluntary programs, augmenting their impact in the market to drive greater uptake and hence increased total energy savings
  • Support increased standardization of definitions, terminology, and building science practices across the United States and Canada to help unify disparate efforts and drive market transformation at scale
  • Influence consumer awareness around the energy and non-energy benefits associated with high performing homes, thereby helping drive demand for adoption of efficient new construction projects
  • Equip the financing, real estate, and appraisal industries with results that demonstrate the benefits of industry partnerships and investments in high performance homes

 

The Energy Rating Index scores must be calculated to comply with the RESNET/ICC ANSI Standard 301. For more information go to Consortium for Energy Efficiency Residential New Construction Initiative. The CEE has 73 member utility programs across the United States and Canada with new homes programs with a collective budget totaling over $100 million.

 

The 2018 RESNET Building Performance Conference will feature the session Consortium for Energy Efficiency – Residential New Construction Initiative with Alice Rosenberg of the CEE and David Goldstein of the Natural Resources Defense Council on Wednesday, February 28th from 8:30-10:00 a.m. Please register for the 2018 RESNET Conference and learn more and understand potential opportunities of the CEE initiative.