ACHRNEWS

CEC Accepts Third-Party HVAC Testing

June 19, 2006
Derek Williams of Gallagher Heating & Air Conditioning, Los Molinos, Calif., connects the outdoor unit to the Enalasys diagnostic system. Enalasys has been approved as a third-party quality control program to ensure adherence with California Title 24 Standards.
At the recent business meeting of the California Energy Commission (CEC), the CBPCA Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Providership and the HomeEnalasys' Third Party Quality Control Program were approved by a unanimous vote of all five commissioners.

The timing of the approvals comes after the recent launching of the single largest conservation and energy efficiency effort for the four investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in California: Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Gas, and Southern California Edison. Over the next three years, these utilities will invest nearly $2 billion dollars in energy-efficiency programs. The energy savings associated with these programs are equivalent to the energy produced by three large (500 megawatt) power plants in California.

The effective date of the implementation of the 2005 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, known to the HVAC industry as Title 24 was Oct. 1, 2005. The standards included a requirement for field verification and/or diagnostic testing by a third-party inspector for new construction and for additions and alterations in residential and qualified nonresidential buildings.

Under standard protocol, a HERS Rater is required to test one in seven installations to ensure compliance with selected or required measures according to the Title 24 Standard.

However, the regulations also contain the recently approved element called the Third Party Quality Control Program, which allows the testing of only one in 30 installations. Randel R. Riedel, managing director, California Building Performance Contractors Association said, "Third-party quality control programs can significantly decrease the overall time and cost of verification for HERS raters, building departments, and contractors. With rising energy costs and increased pressure on peak load demand, this program was obviously designed with California homeowners' pocket books in mind."

The HomeEnalasys Third Party Quality Control Program process collects data (in a tamper-proof system) from wireless sensors deployed throughout the building which measure temperature, humidity, pressure, and airflow. These measurements are then sent to a base station where they are processed and analyzed to make sure all is in adherence with Title 24 Standards.

HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS

The measurements used by the HomeEnalasys Third Party Quality Control Program process are collected wirelessly (in a tamper-proof system) from the sensors deployed throughout the building which measure temperature, humidity, pressure, and airflow.

These measurements are then sent to a base station where they are processed and analyzed to determine if the HVAC equipment and distribution system are properly installed. If they are not, the installer receives the necessary information and guidance via voice commands or from graphs on the screen of the base station to make the proper adjustments in order to optimize the performance of the HVAC equipment and distribution system.

The final measurements of the optimized performance are then autofilled to the compliance documents required by the CEC. These measurements are also uploaded with a click of a button to a central database server. The information can then be securely accessed via passwords by the HERS Provider and raters, contractors, building departments, utilities, and the Energy Commission.

HomeEnalasys is the first, and currently the only, Title 24 automated diagnostic third-party quality control program in the state of California that allows contractors to self-test 29 of 30 installations by using the HomeEnalasys' automated verification system.

"The program really makes it more straight-forward and simpler for the installing contractors to meet the Title 24 compliance measures. Title 24 is basically raising the bar in regard to the energy saved and quality of work performed, measured, and verified, throughout the state," said Luke Hermann, Enalasys' executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Eric Taylor is the CEO of Enalasys Corp. He may be contacted at 760-768-3228 or 760-353-7693.

Derek Williams of Gallagher Heating & Air Conditioning, Los Molinos, Calif., sets up the remote sensors for the Enalasys diagnostic system which has been approved as a third-party quality control program.

Sidebar: Compliance

The following are measures requiring verification and testing for Title 24 Standards compliance in California. The third-party quality control program is required to be more stringent than the data required for showing compliance with the standards.

DUCT MEASURES

  • Duct sealing (residential and nonresidential)

  • Supply duct location, surface area and R-factor

    AIR CONDITIONER MEASURES

  • Improved refrigerant charge

  • Installation of TXV

  • Adequate airflow

  • Air handler fan watt draw

  • High EER

  • Maximum cooling capacity

    BUILDING ENVELOPE MEASURES

  • Building envelope sealing

  • High-quality insulation installation

    The third-party quality control program enables a California contracting company to conduct its own verification and testing of HVAC installations, providing for only one in 30 systems to require inspection by a HERS rater. Otherwise, a contracting firm must have every one of seven installations checked for compliance.

    Publication date: 06/19/2006