A recent report published by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) found that a majority of utility new homes programs rely on the Home Energy Rating System (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 percent 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:

  • Alabama Power
  • Alliant Energy - Iowa
  • Ameren Missouri
  • Baltimore Gas and Electric Company
  • Berkshire Gas
  • Cape Light Compact
  • Columbia Gas of Massachusetts
  • Columbia Gas of Ohio
  • Connecticut Natural Gas
  • Duke Energy
  • Efficiency Vermont
  • Eversource - Eastern Massachusetts
  • Eversource - New Hampshire
  • Eversource - Western Massachusetts
  • Georgia Power
  • Gulf Power
  • Liberty Utilities
  • 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
  • PECO
  • Questar Gas - Utah
  • Questar Gas - Wyoming
  • Salt River Project
  • Southwest Gas - Arizona
  • Unitil - New Hampshire
  • Vermont Gas
  • Xcel Energy

The Consortium for Energy Efficiency is the U.S. 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.

For more information go to 2017 RESNET Building Performance Conference

Publication date: 3/8/2017

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