Over a thousand home performance contractors, weatherization experts, HERS raters, and energy nerds are gathered in Kansas City, Missouri, this week to attend the ACI Home Performance conference (formerly known as the Affordable Comfort conference).
At one well-attended workshop, energy consultant Michael Blasnik and Shaun Hassel of Advanced Energy Corporation shared a roundup of data on the performance of Energy Star homes — data which are unlikely to be happily received at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Among the findings presented by Blasnik and Hassel:
“The Energy Star program started with a low bar,” noted Blasnik. “No one has found that Energy Star homes use 25% less energy than other homes.”
Explaining the findings, Hassel noted, “Baseline homes are not as bad as many models assume, and Energy Star homes are not as good as many models assume.”
More Mandatory Requirements
As codes have become more stringent, the Energy Star program has been struggling to play catch-up. In many states — most notably in California and Florida — Energy Star lost the battle for a while, slipping below minimum code.
At an evening workshop in Kansas City, Sam Rashkin, the national director of the EPA’s Energy Star Homes program, explained the details of the EPA’s latest proposal to raise the bar on requirements for Energy Star homes. Set to be released for public comment within a few days, the proposal is known as the 2011 Specification.
The highlights of the new requirements:
Of course, Energy Star’s proposed 2011 Specification is subject to change after the public comment period. Stay tuned.