Beginning on January 1, 2012, homes enrolled in the Energy Star Homes program will need to comply with a new specification — dubbed Energy Star Version 3 — that is stricter than the current Version 2 specification.
Version 3 will still offer builders two possible paths to obtaining an Energy Star label: a performance path and a prescriptive path. Since it’s impossible to provide a comprehensive description of Version 3 in a short article, I’ll confine myself to commenting on some of the highlights of the new specification.
By now, Energy Star builders are familiar with the Thermal Bypass Checklist. The Version 3 specification has given the checklist a new name: the Thermal Enclosure System Rater Checklist.
Joining that checklist are three new checklists:
Among the requirements found in the Water Management checklist:
While it’s hard to imagine that builders won’t be tempted to slip in the occasional 2×4 with a spot of mold on it, the checklist probably won’t slow down progress on many building sites, since the entire checklist lacks teeth. The only person required to verify that the builder has complied with the checklist is — drumroll, please — the builder.
Energy Star builders will need to achieve HERS Index targets that are lower (that is, stricter) than the Version 2 HERS targets. Actual HERS targets will depend on the climate zone — in Vermont, most Energy Star homes will need a HERS Index between 60 and 70 — and the size of the home.
That’s right — Version 3 includes a “size adjustment factor.” The bigger the home, the lower (stricter) the HERS target. The Energy Star program deserves credit for this long-overdue innovation.
To calculate the size-adjustment factor, The Energy Star program assumes that
If you plan to build a larger home — for example, a 3-bedroom home measuring 2,600 square feet — then the Energy Star program…