NORWALK, Conn. — The Benker Residence, a Steven Winter Associates Inc. (SWA) project, has received the award for the lowest Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score with photovoltaics (PV) in the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) 2015 Cross Border Challenge, presented by RESNET and its Canadian counterpart, the Canadian Residential Energy Services Network (CRESNET). Bob Dykins, of Glastonbury Housesmith, the builder of the Benker Residence, was presented the award at the 2015 RESNET Conference in San Diego.

Steven Winter Associates provided consulting services for the award-winning project through its role as Energy Star® rater, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)® for Homes™ provider and rater, and National Green Building Standard (NGBS) verifier. SWA is also guiding the team through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Indoor airPLUS and Water Sense labels, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Home certification, and Connecticut (CT) Zero Energy Home Challenge.

The 2015 challenge offers a total of seven builder awards, of which five are based on homes with the lowest HERS index score in their category. The HERS index is a standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured in the United States and Canada. It is also a system for calculating predicted home energy usage. The index is based on an assessment by a certified HERS rater who evaluates energy efficiency through inspections, performance testing, and an energy model. The lower the home’s HERS index the more energy efficient the home. The challenge is set in place to promote the use of the HERS index and increase energy efficient home building in the U.S. and Canada.

The Benker Residence earned a HERS score of -23, achieving the award for lowest HERS score with PV, while a New York residence won lowest score without PV by earning a HERS score of 26. Some key efficiency measures of the Benker Residence include: tight thermal envelope with geothermal heating and cooling, a heat pump water heater, and an energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system. The home’s efficient appliances include a heat pump clothes dryer. Prior to PV being installed the HERS index was 30; the PV panels mounted on a tracking system is anticipated to supply 22,341 kWh annually, resulting in the final HERS index of -23.

Steven Winter Associates provides energy, sustainability, and accessibility consulting for commercial, residential, and multifamily clients. The firm is headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, and has offices in New York City and Washington, District of Columbia. For more information, visit

For more information about CRESNET, visit

For more information about RESNET, visit

Publication date: 3/2/2015

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!