ENERGY STAR® Certification
Energy Smart is a nationally accredited Energy Star provider. As such, Energy Smart provides independent plan analysis and inspections services for new homes to qualify under the guidelines of the federal ENERGY STAR Homes Program. Energy Smart evaluates the heating, cooling, and hot water energy use, as well as the home's major appliance loads, and models how these items interact with the new home's building envelope.
New Home features which contribute to improved energy efficiency and homeowner comfort include:
- effective insulation
- high performance windows
- tight construction and ducts
- efficient heating and air conditioning systems
- energy efficient lighting and appliances
- upgraded water-heating equipment
Energy Smart’s experience in providing over 11,000 certified Energy Star Homes, earning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Leadership in Housing Award in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 brings confidence in our firms ability to provide full certification and applicable incentives as available.
By providing ratings for ENERGY STAR qualified homes, Energy Smart is doing its part to help protect the environment while offering consumers new homes that are more comfortable and save money on utility bills. As a result of certifying over 11,000 Energy Star qualified homes more than 52,107,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide has been removed from the atmosphere, which is like:
- Eliminating the emissions of 5500 cars
- Saving 34,089,000 lbs. of coal
- Planting 9200 acres of trees
- • Saving homeowner $4,917,916 on their utility bills
Energy Code Compliance
Energy Smart can provide direct professional support preparing the needed documents to demonstrate that homes meet local municipal permit requirements in a timely manner.
With the nationwide emphasis on enforcement and strengthening of energy codes, Energy Smart provides value based code compliance calculations and reports. New homes can be designed to be both more comfortable and more efficient, cutting heating and cooling costs considerably.
The most cost-effective time to improve the envelope, equipment, and lighting efficiency of new buildings is at the design stage. With existing buildings, the time is when those elements must be replaced or upgraded for new owners or tenants, or due to normal wear and tear.
Energy Smart’s Technical Services team will conduct:
A REScheck® calculation and report is prepared using a computer software program to determine the overall energy efficiency of the home. It uses calculations based on the different components that affect the energy efficiency of a particular home. Those components include walls, ceiling, floors and slabs as well as windows, doors and skylights. The program also considers the climate or area where the home is to be built. Energy Smart can provide REScheck documentation to assist in determining energy code compliance for one & two family residential buildings and multi-family residential buildings three stories or less.
Building Code Officials who receive compliance reports and calculations prepared by Energy Smart confidently view these submissions as meeting jurisdictional energy code requirements and achieving permit compliance package.
Home Energy Rating
A home energy rating assesses the overall energy efficiency of a home using REM/Rate™ software that meets RESNET national standards. REM/Rate™ is user-friendly, yet highly sophisticated, residential energy analysis, code compliance and rating software developed specifically for the needs of HERS providers. The software calculates heating, cooling, hot water, lighting, and appliance energy loads, consumption and costs for new and existing single and multi-family homes. In addition to an energy rating, REM/Rate™ creates the following value-added information:
- energy efficient mortgage report
- energy appraisal addendum
- energy code compliance (MEC, ASHRAE and IECC)
- improvement analysis (existing homes)
- design optimization (new homes)
- heating and cooling equipment sizing
- utility DSM compliance analysis
- U.S. EPA Energy Star Home analysis
HERS Providers throughout the nation use REM/Rate™ software. The software has a User Defined Reference Home feature which enables the HERS provider to create other reference homes (local construction practice, local code) that can be compared to the rated home. It also has an Export Database feature that creates a database of inputs and outputs for statistical analysis, archiving ratings and custom report generation.
Polyseal, Blocking and Insulation Inspections
Proper sealing and insulating the envelope or shell of a home, its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors, and floors is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort. To that end, Energy Smart performs polyseal, blocking and insulation inspections in accordance with the EPA’s thermal bypass guidelines. Conducted prior to drywall, Energy Smart inspectors identify air sealing and insulation challenges, indoor air quality concerns and durability issues before they become inherent problems in construction.
Duct Blaster Testing
Leaks in forced air duct systems are now recognized as a major source of energy waste in both new and existing houses. Studies indicate that duct leakage can account for as much as 25% of total house energy loss, and in many cases has a greater impact on energy use than air infiltration through the building shell. Just as important, duct leakage can prevent heating and cooling systems from doing their job properly, resulting in hot or cold rooms, and humidity problems. Worse yet, duct leaks can create air quality problems by pulling pollutants and irritants directly into the house.
A duct leakage performance test involves depressurizing the duct system with a calibrated fan and simultaneously measuring the air flow through the fan and its effect on the pressure within the duct system. The tighter the duct system, the less air you need from the fan to create a change in duct system pressure. Testing procedures can be set up to measure only duct leaks which are connected to the outside, or to measure total duct leakage (i.e. leaks connected to the outside and inside of the house). Duct leakage measurements are used to diagnose and demonstrate leakage problems, estimate efficiency losses from duct leakage, and certify the quality of duct system installation.
Blower Door Testing
The easiest way to measure building airtightness is with a diagnostic tool called a Blower Door. The Blower Door consists of a powerful, calibrated fan that is temporarily sealed into an exterior doorway. The fan blows air out of the house to create a slight pressure difference between inside and outside. This pressure difference forces air through all holes and penetrations in the building envelope. Blower Door tests are typically performed at a pressure difference of 50 Pascals.
By simultaneously measuring the air flow through the fan and its effect on the air pressure in the building, the Blower Door system measures the airtightness of the entire building envelope. The tighter the building (e.g. fewer holes), the less air you need from the Blower Door fan to create a change in building pressure.
In addition to assessing the overall airtightness level of the building envelope, the Blower Door can be used to estimate the amount of leakage between the conditioned space of the building and attached structural components such as garages, attics and crawlspaces. And because the Blower door forces air through all holes and penetrations, these problem spots are easier to find using chemical smoke, an infrared camera or simply feeling with your hand.
Finally, Blower Door measurements can be used to estimate the natural infiltration rate of houses. While the Blower Door doesn't measure infiltration rates directly, test results can be used along with mathematical models to estimate annual average and design infiltration rates for the purposes of evaluating indoor air quality, the need for mechanical ventilation, and to help with proper sizing of heating and cooling equipment.
An Energy Audit is an inspection of an existing house for the purpose of determining its current energy efficiency and providing recommendations for improvements. Energy Smart has experience assessing the overall energy efficiency of homes through an on-site inspection. The home assessment includes a visual assessment of air infiltration locations, insulation, windows, ventilation, moisture issues, and HVAC systems. Blower door and duct blaster tests are conducted to assess air infiltration and duct leakage. In addition to energy measures, consideration is given to potential problems with indoor air quality. Energy Smart staff provides a report that summarizes the findings with prioritized recommendations for improvement.
Energy Smart offers a unique and invaluable service in infrared scanning. Advanced infrared technology allows for detection and identification of problems invisible to the naked eye. Additionally, infrared scanning provides physical documentation of problems that often go unseen during standard visual inspections.
Infrared thermography can identify a variety of issues and deficiencies:
- Roof Failures
- Comfort Issues
- Moisture Detection
- Heat and Air Issues
- Insulation Verification
- Electrical Damage
- Mechanical Equipment Hot Spots
Infrared thermography is an effective way to ensure stability and longevity of a home and to protect against the greater costs incurred by major building failures.
A thermographic inspection is either an interior or exterior survey. The energy auditor decides which method would give the best results under certain weather conditions. Interior scans are more common, because warm air escaping from a building does not always move through the walls in a straight line. Heat loss detected in one area of the outside wall might originate at some other location on the inside of the wall. Also, it is harder to detect temperature differences on the outside surface of the building during windy weather. Because of this difficulty, interior surveys are generally more accurate because they benefit from reduced air movement.
Thermographic scans are also commonly used with a blower door test running. The blower door helps exaggerate air leaking through defects in the building shell. Such air leaks appear as black streaks in the infrared camera's viewfinder.
Infrared scanning allows energy auditors to check the effectiveness of insulation in a building's construction. The resulting thermograms help auditors determine whether a building needs insulation and where in the building it should go. Because wet insulation conducts heat faster than dry insulation, thermographic scans of roofs can often detect roof leaks.
In addition to using thermography during an energy audit, you should have a scan done before purchasing a house; even new houses can have defects in their thermal envelopes. You may wish to include a clause in the contract requiring a thermographic scan of the house. A thermographic scan performed by a certified technician is usually accurate enough to use as documentation in court proceedings.
HVAC Sizing and Duct Design
Energy Smart offers HVAC (Heating-Ventilation-Air Conditioning) engineering services that include plan analysis, design, layout, and equipment sizing. We design the HVAC system from your construction plans to assess the unique qualities of each home. Energy Smart routinely work with builders and HVAC contractors to determine the appropriate sizing, layout, and room ventilation requirements to maximize home owner comfort and indoor air quality.
Energy Smart utilizes the latest software and technology to analyze and develop proper HVAC system specifications. We use research from national laboratories and manufacturers to improve building performance. Our engineering approach to residential energy efficiency is based on building science principles using building components to determine the optimum HVAC system requirements. We work with builders and contractors to determine the cost and performance feasibility of system upgrades such as fresh air ventilation, humidity control and air flow performance.