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February 9, 2017
New Study Finds That HERS Drive a Majority of U.S. and Canadian Utility New Homes Programs
A recent report published by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) found that a majority of utility new homes programs rely on HERS ratings for compliance verification. The CEE's "The Overview of Residential New Homes Programs in the United States and Canada" summarizes currently active voluntary programs for the construction of new homes. The report is based on 71 utility programs located in 36 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces.
The CEE study reported that new homes energy efficiency programs typically provide financial incentives to builders or consumers; the incentives vary greatly based on specific measures taken and other details. These new homes programs establish various guidelines for energy efficiency through a combination of measures, such as insulation, windows, ducts, heating and cooling equipment, lighting, and appliances. Through the application of either comprehensive performance approaches or prescriptive single end use specifications, voluntary programs are generally designed to deliver residential buildings that are more energy efficient than homes built to the local building codes.
The study reported that 55% of the utilities included relied on HERS raters for their new homes program verification.
The report also looked at HERS Index scores that utilities based their programs on. A large majority of programs used an HERS Index score of 65 or lower.
The following utilities were reported on having their new home’s using the HERS Index threshold:
Alliant Energy - Iowa
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company
Cape Light Compact
Columbia Gas of Massachusetts
Columbia Gas of Ohio
Connecticut Natural Gas
Eversource - Eastern Massachusetts
Eversource - New Hampshire
Eversource - Western Massachusetts
MidAmerican Energy - Iowa
National Grid - Massachusetts
National Grid - Rhode Island
New Hampshire Electric Co-op
New Jersey Natural Gas
New Jersey's Clean Energy Program
Questar Gas - Utah
Questar Gas - Wyoming
Salt River Project
Southwest Gas - Arizona
Unitil - New Hampshire
The Consortium for Energy Efficiency is the US and Canadian consortium of gas and electric efficiency program administrators. They work together to accelerate the development and availability of energy efficient products and services for lasting public benefit.
To download the report go to The Overview of Residential New Homes Programs in the United States and Canada
There will be an open forum at the 2017 RESNET Building Performance Conference on "Utilities and HERS Software Programs - A Dialog" in which utility program sponsors, HERS software developers and HERS raters will discuss how to more effectively link HERS ratings and utility efficiency programs.
RESNET has posted the listing of core conference sessions along with a description of each session and each session's presenters. To download the listing of sessions, click on 2017 RESNET Conference Core Conference Sessions
Don't miss this opportunity to catch up on the latest information and network with the leaders of the home energy rating and building performance industry.
Be ALL IN! Register for the conference today at 2017 RESNET Conference Registration
For more information go to 2017 RESNET Building Performance Conference
January 10, 2017
Introducing New Members of RESNET Board of Directors
The results of the 2016 RESNET Board of Directors election are in. RESNET Board members serve on staggered two year terms. Of the six open positions, three new members were elected:
The new members of the RESNET Board elected to two years terms are:
Bremen Energy Auditors, LLC
HERS Rating Company Representative
As a self-employed general contractor for over 15 years, Robert Eipert has led and managed his employees and several subcontractors simultaneously. Bob's experience as a HERS Rater helps create many opportunities to lead and encourage builders and HVAC and insulation contractors to change their current practices to conform to a new more energy efficient way of doing their trade. Frequently, in the past several years, he acted as a liaison between builders, trades, and local code officials. Bob had the opportunity to meet with state decision makers to help Kentucky with the adoption of new energy codes and practices.
Cy Kilborn has led the engineering team at Ekotrope for four years. This has involved direct management of many employees and strategic control of the product and company. He led the effort to develop and accredit Ekotrope's HERS Rating Tool as well as the company's pivot toward the HERS Rating services industry, which involved orchestrating market discovery, defining their strategic value proposition and roadmap, building relationships with industry leaders, and managing expectations of Ekotrope's BOD. Cy has served on several RESNET working groups, including the software QA check development task group, the HIPI software committee, and the HERS Software Consistency Task Group.
HERS Rating Company Representative
As the co-founder and principal of his own company, Abe Kruger is responsible for day-to-day leadership decisions. These skills will provide a solid foundation to build upon as a Board member. Abe is currently a member of the US Green Building Council's Georgia Chapter Branch Leadership Group (BLG). The BLG is responsible for scheduling educational and networking events, setting the strategic vision for the organization, and growing industry impact. From 2011 to 2015 he served on the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association Education Committee. The committee was responsible for identifying and scheduling education events and managing the committee's budget.
Incumbent RESNET Board members that were re-elected to new two year terms are:
NRDC Associate Member Representative
Blue Grass Energy Rater
Nancy St. Hilaire
Home Energy Group Provider Member Representative
September 13, 2016
Insulation Institute Free Guide Shares Research on What Builders Want From HERS Raters
Over the first half of 2016, The Insulation Institute (NAIMA) conducted two rounds of qualitative research with a diverse set of builders who have significant experience working with HERS raters. The results of the research shed light on their perspective of raters, including:
Why builders choose to work with them What frustrates them about working with raters
The value they expect raters to provide What raters can do to exceed builders' expectations and deliver added value To download your copy of this free guide, visit this landing page. For additional information please contact Jordan Doria at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 18, 2016
Surge in New Homes Receiving HERS Ratings in First Half of 2016
HERS Ratings are fast being considered in the mainstream of the U.S. housing market.
In the first half of 2016, 100,286 new homes were HERS rated in accordance with RESNET's standards and issued a HERS Index score. This is a significant increase in the number of homes rated over the same period in 2015. This represents a 15% increase in the demand for HERS ratings in a year.
Not only has the number of homes receiving HERS ratings increased but the energy performance of the rated homes has also improved. In the first half of 2015, the average HERS Index score of homes rated was 63. In the first half of 2016, the average HERS Index score improved to 61.
The growth of homes that are HERS rated tracked greater than the increase in the number of new homes sold. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's "New Homes Sold and For Sale in 2016", in the first half of 2016, 298,000 new homes were sold. This compares to the 270,000 sold in 2015. This represents a 10% growth in the new homes market. The growth of new homes HERS rated was 5% greater than the growth of new homes sold.
For more information on the HERS Index go to RESNET HERS Index.
December 11, 2015
CALL TO ACTION!
Contact Your Congressional Representative on the Importance of Energy Efficiency Tax Credits
Congress is currently negotiating a package of "tax extenders" for the coming year, and they need to hear from the HERS Industry about the importance of extending energy efficiency tax credits.
The tax credit for energy efficient homes (45L) expired on December 31, 2014. For the last couple of years Congress has retroactively extended energy efficiency tax credits. Earlier this year the Senate Finance Committee voted for the extension of the credit to cover 2015 and 2016. The committee also voted to extend the existing homes credit (25C) for the same period of time.
Now the House needs to act. You need to contact your representative to educate him or her on the importance of having the Senate's version of the 45L and 25C extensions included in the final tax extenders package, which is currently in the final stages of negotiation.
Please take a minute to let your voice be heard.
October 27, 2015
RESNET Enters Into Partnership with Touchstone Energy Cooperatives to Expand RESNET HERS Index Coverage in Rural America
In 2014 over 165,000 homes in the U.S. were rated by HERS Raters and issued a RESNET HERS Index, although the more rural communities of the nation have been under served. Rural Americans pay among the highest energy bills in the nation. The procedures and infrastructure that RESNET has developed in the more urban areas of America will not necessarily work for the more rural areas.
An important goal for RESNET in 2016 is to expand RESNET's services to rural America. To achieve this goal, RESNET has developed a partnership with Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. The partnership will work on addressing the barriers that limit RESNET services in rural areas.
On October 14, 2015, RESNET entered into a partnership with Touchstone Energy Cooperative to link the organization's Energy Advisors Training with the RESNET HERS Ratings. Roy Honican of Blue Grass Energy was instrumental in forging the cooperative agreement. Elements of the agreement include:
Touchstone Energy Cooperatives' Level 3 Energy Advisors Being Trained and Certified as RESNET Rating Field Inspectors
Touchstone Energy will develop, with the assistance of RESNET, a training program that will lead to Touchstone Energy member cooperatives staff that are Level 3 Energy Advisors to also being certified as RESNET Rating Field Inspectors.
The training will include inspecting the minimum rated features identified by RESNET standards and conducting air and duct leakage testing. This, in addition to providing member cooperative members with an energy audit, will provide all the information needed to produce a RESNET HERS Rating.
This would create a career path for Energy Advisors to be able to increase their skills and become certified RESNET HERS Raters.
Touchstone Energy and RESNET will Coordinate to Establish a Network of Certified RESNET HERS Raters who can take the data collected by the Level 3 Energy Advisors and Produce HERS Ratings.
Touchstone Energy and RESNET will develop a seamless system by which the data collected by a Level 3 Energy Advisor can be fed to a targeted HERS Rater and produce a HERS Rating. This would provide an infrastructure for every participating cooperative to be able to cost effectively produce HERS Ratings.
RESNET Executive Director Steve Baden commented, "This partnership will provide Americans living in rural communities access to the benefits of the HERS Rating. By working with Touchstone Energy and its member cooperatives we will remove a key barrier to achieving this goal. This will provide momentum for improving the energy performance of homes throughout the nation."
Touchstone Energy composed of more than 750 local, consumer-owned utility cooperatives in 46 of the 50 United States. Touchstone Energy co-ops serve more than 30 million members.
October 22, 2015
RESNET Board Sets Organization's Path to Success for 2016
The RESNET Board of Directors is working hard to secure the success and future of HERS ratings and RESNET's membership.
At its fall 2015 board meeting, the RESNET Board adopted the priorities for the organization in 2016. The priorities are:
Ensure the National Consistency of HERS Index Scores
There is a need to ensure the national consistency in the ways homes are rated and scored. In 2016 RESNET activities will be focused on implementing the new procedures. Activities will focus on:
• Ensuring the qualifications of HERS Raters and Rating Field Inspectors
• Robust quality assurance oversight
• Consistency in the calculation of HERS Index Scores
• Development of quality assurance oversight infrastructure.
Work with the Building Industry, Code Advocates, Rating Industry and Local Code Jurisdictions to Adopt and Implement Energy Rating Index Option in the 2015 International Conservation Code
The International Code Council adopted a home energy rating score option for the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The new option will result in increased energy performance of homes while giving greater flexibility to builders. The emphasis in 2016 will be to assist state and local building jurisdictions in adopting and implementing the 2015 IECC Energy Rating Index option.
Through Dynamic Partnerships with the Housing Industry, Product Suppliers, Utilities and Code Officials Increase the Penetration of the RESNET HERS Index in the Housing Market
In 2016, to educate consumers about the HERS Index so they will ask for the HERS Index Score of the home they are considering to buy, RESNET will enter into dynamic partnerships. It is expected that this momentum will create a market pressure for more builders to have their homes energy rated and that consumers will ask for the HERS Index of homes. This should also affect the existing homes market with the HERS Index becoming the "energy yardstick" of homes for sale.
Develop RESNET Water Efficiency Rating Index for Homes
Water is the new frontier for RESNET and HERS Raters. In many parts of the nation water is fast becoming an ever increasingly expensive commodity. There is clearly a need for a system to rate a home's efficiency in water use. This will allow homebuyers to know how efficiently water is being used in the homes they are considering to buy. It will also provide an opportunity for homebuilders to monetize the efficiency of their homes in the same fashion that the HERS Index plays for energy efficiency.
Advocate for Policy and Legislation to Foster the Financing of the Improved Energy Performance of Homes
A number of initiatives were introduced in Congress including the SAVE Act, extension of the residential energy efficiency tax credits, and a performance based tax credit for improving the energy performance of existing homes. In 2016 RESNET will continue to be effective in working with its strategic allies in advocating the introduction and passage of these initiatives. In addition, RESNET, in partnership with its strategic allies will continue to advocate for effective performance federal tax credits for both new and existing homes.
Expand RESNET's Services to Rural America
Rural Americans pay among the highest energy bills in the nation. The procedures and infrastructure in the more urban areas of America may not always work for the more rural areas. A goal in 2016 is to expand RESNET's services to rural America and has developed partnerships with the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association and Touchstone Energy. The partnerships will work on addressing the barriers limiting RESNET services.
By taking this action the RESNET Board has positioned the organization to accelerate the trend of mainstreaming HERS Index Scores in the housing market while improving the quality and consistency of ratings.
July 16, 2015
Introducing JobWerks- RESNET's Revolutionary Field Education, Mentorship and Assessment Tool!
JobWerks is a cost effective, easy to use, mentorship and performance assessment tool and dynamic hands-on learning platform built in the cloud for today's mobile world. JobWerks rewards people for good job performance. It is used on the job so the job gets done. Currently, JobWerks is offered for HERS Rating Field Inspectors, and is being piloted for insulation installers.
What is JobWerks?
Developed by RESNET and Organic Think, JobWerks is not a multiple choice exam nor is it used in the classroom or lab. The most frustrating aspects of education, assessment and quality assurance didn't even make it to our drawing board. JobWerks is not burdensome or confusing to use. JobWerks is not ugly and doesn't look or act like it was built in the 1990s. JobWerks is not passive.
How does it work?
Mentors observe Candidates complete their job tasks in the field and evaluate their abilities on the spot, building an internally transparent, multimedia record of job performance. JobWerks users learn from the curated library of best practices that includes media and protocols from trusted industry resources. If issues arise in the field that are not addressed within library, users submit questions through the built in building science and technical support ticket system to quickly get their answers. Candidate's job performance records are remotely viewed upstream as a measure of quality assurance. The most notable benefit is revealed when Mentors implement JobWerks High Leverage Practices, our list of teaching methods that stimulate significant advancement in the way Candidates think. Teacher and student share common goals and build rapport through communication leading to improved morale and greater confidence in their job skills. Better work performance in our industry means the improved energy efficiency of homes plus fewer red tags and callbacks.
Candidates earn a RESNET designation upon the successful completion. Currently, JobWerks is available for RESNET Rating Field Inspectors (RFIs).
RESNET has completed a development effort in the Dallas/Ft. Worth housing market with Garland Insulating for insulation installers. It will soon be launching a national pilot effort for insulation installers with Insulate America.
RESNET will be corresponding with RESNET accredited Providers and certified RESNET HERS Raters on using JobWerks for assessing and certifying Rating Field Inspectors.