05

Oct

What has Performance Point learned about COVID 19?

Written By: John Jeppesen

Who knew a microscopic bug would bring the world to its knees? It has devastated everything…how we interact, how we shop, how we work, how we worship, how we play, how we go to school, and most importantly what we are doing about it. And finally, toilet paper is now back on the shelves.

It shut everything down a couple of months ago. Businesses were shuttered, many permanently, costing millions their jobs and livelihoods. Dark days indeed. The good news is our country is slowly and deliberately coming back. Knee jerk reactions could set the progress back to zero if we’re not careful.

The workplace is drastically different. Morning drive times instead of being miles in a car are now a short walk from the kitchen to the home office. Anybody with the foresight to buy Zoom stock is now cashing in big time. Parents with school-age kids may have to share some of their space and time homeschooling their children. It’s a brave new world these days.

So this is what we at Performance Point have been doing. Sam Galphin, the Performance Point president offers some of his insights

“The company has felt the stress of the pandemic, Galphin says: “The biggest stressors for our employees vary depending on if they have kids at home.  For employees with kids who are doing virtual school (as opposed to in-person school) managing schooling at home and childcare is probably their biggest COVID-related stress.  For employees without kids at home, I understand that social isolation has been difficult.  At this point, many people are venturing out into social settings or getting together in small groups in their homes where they can keep a safe distance or be outdoors so that helps alleviate some of the stress from social isolation.”

While some companies were blindsided, Performance was naturally ready for the “new normal.” “We were actually ready for COVID without needing to put special measures into place,” Galphin notes.  “Performance Point has operated with a paperless and distributed workforce since opening the doors in 2008.  It was easy for our office staff to work from home because most of us already did operate from home 1-2 days a week.  We have a large group of office staff that only come into the office once or twice a year; that kind of flexibility has always been a benefit to our office people.  At the very beginning of the pandemic, we did decide to continue operating a minimal staff from the office to help with some tasks that benefit from the physical presence of teammates such as our scheduling/dispatching people.  Our customers benefit from our decision to operate in this way because it allows a real-time response to customer communication.  For example, one person can look up the details on an unpaid invoice while the other person is talking to the customer and scheduling their job – we can give the scheduled date of the job they called in before they are off the phone as opposed to going back and forth.”

The field staff has also adapted. “Our field staff work independently for the most part.  The timing of our inspections on homes requires we are not in a house with other trades working as it is so that never really changed field operations.  We have had to reschedule jobs if other trades are working in the house when we arrive to prevent exposure to COVID, but in many cases, we would have had to reschedule those for other job-related reasons.”

Performance Point has learned a couple of lessons in the process says Galphin: “First, this whole situation has reinforced the understanding that we are all in this (life) together and we as individuals hold the power and responsibility to make our world better or worse.  We can choose to use our individual freedoms and resources to impact climate change, economic opportunity, and COVID for the good or for the worse.  The government isn’t or can’t ever do as much as the people acting for the good of each other.  Taxing and distributing wealth will never be as effective as people giving to the deacon fund at a local church where it can go directly to helping those in need in their local community.  The problem is that people don’t often act in a way that is best for everyone so the government has to do something.

Second, I learned we apparently work at the pleasure of our local government.  I think it is an unfortunate situation when our state and local officials have to force businesses to close for a period of time or at least force them to change their operations.  I’m not suggesting this step was not necessary, it probably was, but I would have preferred to see companies and business owners be proactive and change their operations so the government would not have a need to shut people down for weeks at a time.  I do think some research-based guidance to affected small businesses would have been helpful to prevent a mass shut down as we saw in some places.”

26

Aug

Architects and Interior Designers Warming to Mini Splits

Written By: John Jeppesen

Performance Point has long supported energy conservation and green technologies.
We are always looking for ways to support those initiatives. In fact, we are in the
process of replacing our service vehicles with electric-powered vehicles as existing vans
and escapes age out. We see it as our contribution to clean air.

That said, we featured mini-splits as one technology that can make a difference in our
last blog post. There is a growing trend in that direction, but there’s a sticking point.
Architects and interior don’t like the aesthetics of an air handler on a wall that affects the
“look” of their designs.

The good news is that even those skeptics are coming around and have created ways to
minimize or conceal air handlers in a room.

We talked to Justin Fulford at Fulford HVAC (www.fulfordhvac.com) again. He has
noticed an uptick in architect and interior designer acceptance but there’s still room for
growth. “We’ve talked to architects and interior designers but we also talk to contractors.
If you believe in the product, we’re the ones that bring it to the table as options. Some
people are acceptable to the new technology while others are still on the old
bandwagon and don’t like change and with some houses, there is no other option other
than mini-splits. A lot of people are acceptable to the new technology. I’ve got a
homeowner right now with a house that was built in the mid-sixties and on one floor
there’s no way to run ductwork to it. I proposed mini splits and the builder is old school
minded and is afraid that it might not work, but it will work and he keeps saying: ‘gotta
find a way, gotta find a way to use ductwork.’” Even so, Fulford will continue to propose
this technology to his customers.

Next, we did some digging. We found ideas on how to squeeze air conditioning in
century-old brownstones. This “how-to” provides ideas on ways to incorporate mini splits
in a renovation. Note: you might have to cut and paste this link into your browser.

https://www.brownstoner.com/interiors-renovation/air-conditioning-renovation-ideas-historic-architecture-mini-splits-interior-design/

Jodi Laumer-Giddens is the President of LG Designs, an Atlanta architectural firm, posted a “confession on homeenergysaver.com:

“GUILTY! Once upon a time, I would have scoffed at mechanical engineers and contractors if they’d ask me, as the design architect, for a bigger room to put the HVAC (heating and air conditioning) equipment in.

“Are you crazy? And give up valuable storage space???”

They might have also asked me for dropped soffits and vertical chases to run the ductwork through. To which I would reply:

“What?!?! That’s not consistent with my innovative and beautiful design! The audacity!!!”

OK, so maybe I wasn’t quite THAT oblivious and arrogant, but I was definitely not as aware of the importance of the HVAC systems and integrating them into the design of a home as I am today.

My, how the tables have turned.

I’m still an architect and I’m still designing homes, but I’m also designing, specifying, and integrating the HVAC Systems for those homes. I also design them for homes that other architects or designers have done. Sometimes it’s the architect that hires me, and other times it’s the HVAC contractor or the home’s builder.

No matter who it is, most of the time it’s too late to influence the architecture and interior design to smoothly integrate the equipment and ductwork because the house is already framed up. The HVAC system is typically one of the last things to be installed in a home, just before insulation, drywall, and finishes. Oddly, it’s also one of the last things to be designed, and it’s done on the fly. Too often the architecture and interior design did NOT account for the integration of a mechanical system and its ductwork, so installation becomes a challenge.”

More details follow. You might have to cut and paste this into your browser:

http://homeenergysaver.ning.com/profiles/blogs/why-don-t-architects-and-interior-designers-care-about-hvac-syste

We also found an interior design perspective on mini-splits:

“Ductless mini-splits are the in-thing these days because of their reduced electricity bills and a wider cooling coverage. Maybe, mini-splits were not around when your house was constructed, hence it was not included in your design. But these units are great for reducing electricity bills and cools a wider area.

Build a false beam to surround the unit and you won’t notice the appliance. Combine this with sunken lighting or mount it above the window to make your space look great without sacrificing functionality.

Great spots for mini splits are above the doorway, bookshelves, cabinets, or bed. Housing this in an open shelf integrated into the wall creates a visual interest that harmonizes with your interior design.

Keep the design simple and cheap by matching the color of the wall with the unit. Install a decorative element for a smart and chic accent to enhance the existing decoration.”

https://www.urdesignmag.com/architecture/2019/08/08/why-is-it-important-to-include-your-ac-design-in-your-interior-plan/

So there you have it. Hopefully, this will help architects and interior designers get over the resistance to mini-split systems. They are creative people by nature and all it takes is a bit of creativity to integrate mini-splits into their repertoire.

28

Jul

What are Mini Splits Good For?

Written By: John Jeppesen

The short answer is A lot. Mini Split, also called Ductless HVAC systems have been around since the ’80s but have not been popular until the last five years. At Performance Point, we have discovered several reasons for the increased use.

We talked to Rob Howard, a Charlotte, N.C. Sales Manager at Yandle-Witherspoon Supply, and a Mitsubishi Mini Split dealer. He compared them to conventional central HVAC systems. “It does a good job of keeping a portion of your house comfortable, usually close to the return and where the thermostat is located but the extremities are not as comfortable as you want them to be. It’s not uncommon to see those areas drift three to five degrees off what the thermostat is set to.” He called that “custom comfort.”

Second, he says Mini Splits improve indoor air quality: “Everywhere you have an air handler or a Mini Split you have filtration in that zone because it has a filter built into it.” Central systems have just one filtration point for the whole house.

Then there’s increased efficiency. Most central heat pumps have a mid-range 14 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). Higher efficiency systems can push to 17-20. Mini-Splits can have a 20-30 rating. Contractors and developers use this as a key selling point.

Some builders and developers say Mini Splits are too expensive. Not so says Howard: “While the equipment may be more expensive, it (Mini Split) requires little or no ductwork to install. The labor and materials for installation should be significantly less.”

Justin Fulford, Fulford Heating and Cooling in N.C. has installed Mini Split systems all over the world. He too has noticed a significant uptick in Mini Split systems and agrees with Rob Howard.  He also notes that these systems are significantly more expensive in a total retrofit or remodeling. That said, Mini Split systems can provide air conditioning to older homes with hot water or boiler heating systems. In those situations, they are the most cost-effective, inobtrusive solution to adding air conditioning compared to window units. They make a lot of sense in an addition or bonus room.  Fulford cited his own home: “I put four of them in my house and increased the square footage by 1200 square feet. By increasing footage, putting high-efficiency systems, my power bill went from $270 down to $120.  I went from a small house to a big house and saw a huge drop in my power bill.”

Both Howard and Fulford say their customers are amazed at how quiet Mini Split systems are.” The biggest thing I like to talk about is how quiet they are,” says Fulford. “The indoor unit and the outdoor unit are practically silent. You don’t hear moving parts or compressors. That’s a really good feature for people that have a patio or go outside and they’re tired to hearing a loud unit rattling away.”

It has been noted that some architects and interior designers don’t like the aesthetics of a unit hanging on a wall. Fulford says this about that: “I have several architects that are promoting it (Mini Splits) because there are ways to be creative to hide the indoor units and have a lot of indoor options. They need to find a way to hide the equipment. We’ve got several building high-end beach houses and that’s all they want to put in.”

Commercial buildings are yet another application of this technology. “When you get to the commercial level, they don’t call them Mini Splits, the call them VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow),” says Howard. “You’ve got two levels, VRF heat pumps and true VRF which offers simultaneous heating and cooling. That’s where you get into your highest cost and highest efficiency. This technology takes heat from one part of the building and moves it to another. Maybe you’re in a commercial space where you want cooling in the offices but they want heating in another part of the building. Rather than making the heat, you’re just moving it from one space to another. You’re paying for the cooling and getting the heat for free or vice versa.” Howard shared a Mitsubishi case study on this topic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeEDFVmvtsk

There are a lot of design considerations with ducted and ductless Mini Split systems, especially in low-load new homes or renovations requiring Manual LLH.  Even conventional equipment can benefit tremendously from professional design expertise.  In future articles, we will talk about some of these design considerations!  This is where Performance Point can help. We are fully up to speed on this technology and can consult with your team if you’re considering a Mini Split system or having trouble squeezing conventional ducts into your house plan.

 

Visit our website www.theperformancepoint.com or call 704.563.1030 to get started.

11

Dec

Tips for January 2019 Energy Code Changes

Written By:  Lilly Liang

On January 1st, 2019 NC Energy Code changes will go into effect. The new year is only a few weeks away so it is important to start making changes across the board, now. We noticed a few builders currently struggle to pass code and wanted to make sure everyone is able to pass with the changes impacting North Carolina.  These are key reminders that can impact your duct blaster and blower door results.

Biggest Change in the NC Energy Code are the Duct Leakage Requirements:

  • The Total AND leakage to outside is current required to be 6%. As of Jan 1st, total will need to be 5% AND leakage to outside will need to be 4%.

The energy code changes can be difficult for builders because the code requirements are becoming more stringent. Your leakage to outside is very important to understanding if your conditioned space is leaking to unconditioned space. No one wants to condition the outdoors! That’s just asking for an increase in energy costs for the homeowner. If you are currently struggling to pass code, the changes are only going to make it more difficult. Our building science experts are great at knowing what areas will provide a big impact in lowering those numbers.

We are here to help you. Performance Point team is sharing our TOP 3-4 tips for meeting duct leakage requirements under the new 2018 NC Energy Code in the new year. With the help of ENERGY STAR, we have displayed CORRECT (left) and INCORRECT (right) photos to show how to increase your chances in meeting the new Duct Leakage Requirements.

Tips and Tricks:

Caulk or seal the duct boots to sheetrock or subfloor

Mastic connections in ductwork

Seal any penetrations/seams in the air handler setup with mastic and tape or silicone – like drain lines, linesets, connection points of furnace to evaporative coil, etc.

Overall, the photos display proper practice and implementing our tips will increase your chances in meeting the new Duct Leakage Requirements under the 2018 NC Energy Code. They are intended to assist builders in understanding the requirements of the NC Energy Code. With our help, each builder will have higher chances of getting a good number on their duct blaster and blower door test. Please contact us if you have more questions about the Energy Code changes at info@theperformancepoint.com

11

Oct

Boat Day

Written By:  Lilly Liang

Performance Point, a full-service energy efficiency contractor in the Carolinas, has been an industry leader for 10 years now. In the past couple of years, we’ve had tremendous growth with clients and employees.

Today, we have over 30 employees including field and office staff. We will likely hire more field raters early next year as we continue to grow.  We know it’s important to provide a sense of community within our team – both in the field and the office. For a team bonding event, Susie Redfearn planned our 3rd annual Boat Day . As the Single-Family Account Rep, I was able to join a boat day and get insight on what our team members thought.

Team events are important especially since our field inspectors do not see each other every day. “That’s why getting all of our team members together is so vitally important to the strength of our company. The administration team at Performance Point prides itself on its efforts to provide team building activities for its staff,” says Jeremy Price, Charlotte Regional Manager.

Jeremy has been on the team for over 5 years and offered his boat for our team outing. Thanks to our scheduling team, aka Marcus Byrd, we were able to get the raters’ schedule to fit a Boat Day and still serve our clients. During my Boat Day, I had the chance to ask Jeremey his thoughts on the Boat Day. “The time together, and the conversations among the group were remarkable! I know that I speak for everyone in saying, I cannot wait for our next team building excursion,” he said with a grin on his face.

“Socializing and making friends at work is one of the best ways to increase productivity, communication, and transparency” states Susie, Manager of Strategic Initiatives. She did a great job coordinating the event.  She strategically grouped everyone by location, picked dates that worked well for everyone, and took lead on keeping the team on the same page with details regarding the event.

When I asked the field team their opinions about working at Performance Point; it was a consensus that the flexible hours are their favorite part! “I love the flexible scheduling” said Rodrigo who was recently promoted to Raleigh Regional Manager. Matt Jackson recently joined the team two months ago. He’s already in the field on his own and says he’s always doing something different. In the video below, you can also see a live testimony from Rodrigo and Matt.

For a glimpse into our Boat Day adventures, check out the video below. It’s only one minute long. Thank you to everyone for their hard work and hope you all had a great time cruising on Boat Day 2018.

Performance Point Boat Day 2018 from Lilly Liang on Vimeo.

14

Sep

The Breakdown on ERI

The Breakdown on ERI 

By:  Lilly Liang

The Energy Rating Index (ERI) is one of the many important changes in the construction industry. If you’re panicking and asking yourself, “how does it work?!” Luckily, we are here to break down the facts for you.

 

What are the current compliance options?

  • The Prescriptive Path: If you choose the prescriptive path in the code, you can look at the prescriptive tables in the energy conservation code and install the R-Values listed. For clear majority of new homes in NC, the 2018 NC Energy Conservation Code this will require R-15 walls and R-38 ceiling insulation.
  • Total Building UA Trade-off: This is the methodology REScheck is built on. REScheck is a total UA trade-off software tool used to demonstrate compliance with energy code requirements As the name suggests this only allows tradeoffs to the building envelope R-Values and window U-Values.
  • Energy Cost Compliance Option: This is full energy simulation (REM design, REM rate, Ekotrope, Energy Gauge, and so forth). This works by comparing the simulated energy cost of a code-built home to the simulated energy cost of the as-built home.  If the simulation shows the as-built home will use the same or less energy as the code-built home, then it passes.  This report must then be signed off by a Registered Design Professional.
  • Energy Rating Index (ERI): In the most recent versions of the IECC, there’s another new path, the ERI. The ERI requires the same level of detail as the Energy Cost Compliance Option but can be performed by a HERS Rater instead of a Registered Design Professional.  The ERI works by comparing an Energy Index calculated according to the 2018 NCECC.  One down side of the ERI is that it has an R-Value “backstop” that does not allow you to go any lower than the prescriptive R-Values spelled out in the 2012 NCECC.

How does the ERI benefit me?

Generally speaking, the ERI is less expensive to implement than following the Prescriptive Path for Energy code compliance.  This is true because an average house will cost $400-$600 to upgrade insulation, but the ERI will cost less to perform.

For builders, using spray foam the ERI will not allow you to go as low as R-19 on the roof deck so the Energy Cost Performance Option will be your best bet.

In addition to less cost, the ERI will allow your Energy Rater to generate a HERS index for the home which can be a helpful sales tool.  If your Energy Rater participates with the Assure Performance program you can also get an Energy Cost Index and projected utility costs for the future homeowner.

How do you get an ERI?

Through modeling and inspections done by a third-party verifier (Ahem…Performance Point), you can get an ERI. The ERI option uses appliances, HVAC, and more, in additional to the envelope features.

“When we are all familiar with doing the performance path, and when we do the performance path, then we have our standard reference home and we have our model home. It’s the same thing. When we look at this, we have our ERI reference home. This is the one that if we built it exactly to what the code required, it would use this much energy,” said Shirley Ellis, a member of the ICC Board of Directors.

Energy Rating Index to show the minimum requirements for each climate zone.

 

Who are you going to call? Performance Point!

On January 2019, the 2018 NC Code will go into effect with the 2012 IECC Code standards. That’s only three months away now so lets be ahead of the curve! We can help you avoid cost of the new energy code by doing the ERI instead. ERI is a good option for those who find it difficult to meet the new standard.

Performance Point has been in the industry for over 10 years now and we always stay updated in recent changes. It can be difficult to completely understand the ERI performance path so please contact us if you have any questions – lilly@www.theperformancepoint.com

Additional Resources:

RESNET ERI F.A.Q. – https://www.resnet.us/uploads/documents/RESNET_Energy_Rating_Index_FAQ_Factsheet.pdf

ERI Webinar Transcript – https://www.energycodes.gov/sites/default/files/becu/ERI_Webinar_Video_Transcript.pdf

REScheck – https://www.energycodes.gov/sites/default/files/becu/REScheck%20Basics%20Webinar%20Video%20Transcript.pdf

12

Jul

ANSI, RESNET, and ICC collaborate to publish RESNET 380 for HERS Raters and RFI’s

RESNET, a non-profit organization to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient, requires any building permits given after July 1st, 2018 to be tested to the RESNET 380 Standard. The main goals of 380 include increase flexibility by adding more test options and keeping everything more uniform.

RESNET partners with ANSI after ICC cracks down on the Chapter 8 standard. ANSI, also known as the American National Standard Institute, focuses on creating and governing U.S. standards. It is good for RESNET to partner with ANSI because it provides more legitimacy for the standard.

The most notable changes include differences in what is considered infiltration volume within the envelope space and conducting multipoint blower door test instead of singlepoint testing.

Infiltration Volume – The sum of the Conditioned Space Volume and Unconditioned Space
Volume in the dwelling unit, minus the volume of:
· Floor cavities that have Unconditioned Space Volume both above and below
· Unconditioned wall cavities
· Attics
· Vented crawlspaces
· Garages
· Basements, where the door between the basement and Conditioned Space Volume is closed
during enclosure air leakage testing
· Thermally isolated sunrooms

From this point forward, Crawlspaces, attics, and basements are only included in infiltration volume when there’s an access door or hatch between the adjacent volume and conditioned space are open (if the hatch is vented and interior access) during the Blower Door test.

Crawlspaces – Crawlspaces shall be configured as follows and the position of the crawlspace access doors and hatches shall be recorded. When the access doors and hatches between Conditioned Space Volume and the crawlspace are closed, due to requirements in 3.2.3.1, 3.2.3.2.1, or 3.2.3.2.2, the crawlspace shall be excluded from Infiltration Volume and Conditioned Space Volume.

Attics – Attics shall be configured as follows and the position of the attic access doors and hatches shall be recorded. When the access doors and hatches between the Conditioned Space Volume and the attic are closed, due to requirements in 3.2.4.1 or 3.2.4.2.1, the attic shall be excluded from Infiltration Volume and Conditioned Space Volume.

Multipoint Airtightness Test – With the new multi-point blower door testing protocol, the measurements should represent the average value over at least a 10 second period. For example, raters will need to measure at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 pascals rather than the single-point test at 50 pascals. If the single-point testing is used, then it will result in a 10% penalty.

Overall, the collaboration between ANSI, RESNET and ICC is to provide a great consistency over raters discretion in the field. These changes will insure a more energy efficient and comfortable home for the buyer, and provide a greater value for the single-family and multi-family homes being created.

For more information about the code changes, give Performance Point a call at 704-563-1030 or send me an email me at lilly@www.theperformancepoint.com

Resources:

Retrotec – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0ND6cjnLhM

ResNet – https://www.resnet.us/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/ANSI-RESNET-ICC_380-2016-posted-on-website-6-15-16.pdf

Duke – https://doc-14-50-apps-viewer.googleusercontent.com/viewer/secure/pdf/dsrhfj22v4kncvq89o4mc7ordfp2onv1/0m0st3m2i3m31tn6kgo9b81mr1m12ltc/1530903225000/gmail/02192288236261480595/ACFrOgCoWtbZ7Qx9T3yPfAXIMcGEe1EOYYfTYqdmSdlE45P__6sBlQQ79Azexi-Y33A6PKih_Y-NenNMiYI2aVS3V3Ra6Xkh_p-kMHIY9wz0GchNjy3YTBbku62QhTw=?print=true&nonce=mcmit76cc24ve&user=02192288236261480595&hash=2478j83ger06qtpagcd1tg73ehg0kipt

22

Mar

When Performance Meets Value

High Performance Home In-Field Demonstration Event: When Performance Meets Value

What can you do to improve the performance and value of the homes you build or work with?  Register for this free in-home demonstration event on March 27th at 2pm in Charlotte to find out!

NCBPA welcomes you to register for an in-home demonstration event with member company Performance Point, a leading home energy rating company based in the Charlotte area. Learn from industry experts what it takes to design, install and verify homes to meet energy code minimums and how you can benefit by participating in above-code programs.

This in-home demonstration event is free to attend!  Builders, contractors, realtors, appraisers, lenders, raters, students and all other interested individuals are welcomed!

The demonstration begins at 2pm with an overview of current energy efficiency minimum requirements and a conversation about NC’s new residential energy code taking effect on January 1, 2019.  Learn what changes are coming and how to meet them using cost-effective design and install practices.  After the code discussion, energy raters will speak to the benefits of performance upgrades that builders and homeowners can take on to increase comfort, health, safety, energy efficiency and market value in their homes!

Next, experts will walk attendees through the home to highlight design and installation decisions that impact energy efficiency, performance and value throughout the construction process.  Learn about proper insulation and air barrier installation, air sealing, duct installation, bedroom balancing, ventilation and more.  To complete the walk through, energy raters will demonstrate performance testing methods including duct leakage testing, insulation inspection,

whole-house leakage testing with a blower door and other practices.The demonstration wraps up with a conversation about best practices that all parties can follow to ensure that the homes they build, sell or value receive appraisals and sale prices comparable to the added performance measures and programs achieved.  Prep for this discussion by reading the last section of NCBPA’s new market report that found a 2.8% percent sale price premium for high performance homes sold in the Charlotte market!  Copies will be provided at the event.

Following the field demonstration, register to attend NCBPA’s free industry networking event being held from 5 – 7pm at NoDa Brewing Company!  All industry professionals, students and interested parties are welcomed!

When

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
Add to Calendar

Where

Meet at Sales Center at 6605 Vizcaya Court
6605 Vizcaya Court
Charlotte, NC 28226


Driving Directions

Contact

Ryan Miller
North Carolina Building Performance Association
919-521-3385
ryan@buildingnc.org

12

Dec

There’s an App for That

 

Learn how a mobile app can increase efficiency and make your life a lot easier!

For those of you that mainly work in the field, how do you manage your administrative tasks and stay organized?  Do you get sick of receiving a million emails a day that pile up in your inbox?  I can’t imagine the stress that causes trying to stay on top of every trades schedule, while putting out fires at the same time.  What if we told you we can help you stay organized with Performance Point’s jobs on schedule, avoiding your email inbox?  We created a free mobile app for Iphone devices to help create efficiency and convenience.

What does the App do?

You can see all jobs on schedule with Performance Point directly from the app!  No need to search through emails or worry about who to contact.  This app lets you view all your jobs making it easy  to move a job to the following day or week if something comes up and the job is not ready for inspection.   You don’t have to receive a notification for you to move a job either.  You will get notified the day before your job is scheduled, asking if it’s ready.  If you know it won’t be ready weeks before the day of, you can proactively push it out a week or two.

My company uses Supply Pro, therefore I can’t use that app….

Wrong!  This app is not replacing SupplyPro, BuilderTrend, or any other scheduling tool your company may use.  This is a convenient tool we offer to stay organized and have easy access to view your jobs on schedule.  For example, Builder X adds their 10-day schedule on Supply Pro.  Supply Pro pushes PO’s to our scheduler who then puts those jobs on schedule in our proprietary system called Raterhelper.  Raterhelper and the Performance Point Notification App communicate to each other.  The App sends the Project Manager/Construction Manager assigned to each job a notification the day before the job is on our schedule, asking if it is ready for inspection.  You are then able to say yes or no.  If you select no, it will bring you to the calendar to select another day.  It’s that simple!  It’s easy and saves you time, so why not? And did we mention it’s free!  Go to the App Store and download it today.  The app is called Performance Point_Notification

                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We want your feedback!  Let us know what you think.  This was created for YOU!  Thank you for your partnership and we hope you enjoy our new scheduling tool.

Click on the link below to learn more!

Integrity.  Capacity.  Capability. Proven

17

Aug

HERS RATINGS OR ENERGY STAR?

HERS RATINGS OR ENERGY STAR?

What’s The Difference And Which Is Better?

 

HERS or Energy Star

With energy efficiency becoming more and more popular, a question we often get by builders trying to stay competitive in the market is which is better, HERS Ratings or Energy Star?  What is the difference?

Both HERS Ratings and Energy Star are great programs and provide substantial benefits, it really depends on what is most important to you (the builder) and more importantly what the homebuyer wants.   Who is your competition and what are they doing?  What area are you building in?  Who is your target market?  So many questions that come into play when decided what energy program is best for you.  When it comes to HERS Ratings vs Energy Star, there are many pros and cons to both.  Let’s take a deeper dive into HERS Ratings.

What is a HERS Rating?

HERS stands for Home Energy Rating System.

A HERS Score is an Index used to tell how energy efficient your home is compared to a code built home.  The HERS Rating process is governed by a company called RESNET who oversees standards, training, quality assurance, and a formal complaint resolution process.  You can learn more about RESENT at https://www.resnet.us/  The HERS rating is a building block to many other rating programs, including Energy Star.

The score is basically a measurement that tells you how energy efficient your home is compared to a code built home. The lower the score, the more energy efficient your home is!  It’s based off a linear scale with 100 meaning the rated home has the same energy use as the HERS Reference Home which is based on the 2004/2006 IECC.  A HERS index of 0 means the home has net zero energy usage.  Thus, the home produces as much energy as it uses.  For example, if the HERS index on a home is 65, the home would be 35% more efficient than the Code built home.  See the picture to the left to get a visual perception of how the scale is measured.

How do I get a HERS Rating?

To get a HERS Rating, a Certified HERS Rater, (preferably Performance Point) will inspect your home and gather information to generate a score.  HERS Ratings consider energy usage from all areas of the house including lighting, appliances, framing, insulation, air sealing, water heating, and HVAC. One cool thing about a HERS Rating is you can even accurately estimate annual usage for a house.

What are the benefits of a HERS Rating?

One great aspect of the HERS Index that is important to keep in mind is, it is not pass or fail so it doesn’t hold up construction.  That is huge when it comes to production builders who are on a start schedule to keep up with their goals.   You also don’t have to pay to become certified or worry about finding a HVAC Contractor who is ACCA certified.  A HERS Ratings is a great marketing tool and way to show homebuyers the awesome energy efficient features you have and how it benefits them.  There are also Rebate programs out there for builders based of HERS Ratings.  Santee Cooper for example offers rebates for homes that score 85 or lower and meet specific criteria.  Learn more at https://www.santeecooper.com/residential/reduce-the-use-and-save/rebates.aspx

What is Energy Star?

Energy Star is a widely known energy efficiency program for residential new construction.   It is a trusted, government-backed symbol and program.  It has many benefits for the homeowner.  The Energy Star new homes program has been around since the 1990’s and is currently under version 3.

How do I get my home Energy Star Certified?

To become Energy Star certified, it’s important to partner with an Energy Rater before you start the construction process.  Go to www.theperformancepoint.com to find yours today. The Builder must get Certified through the Energy Star website at  https://www.energystar.gov/.  They have to watch a video and take a short quiz.  The HVAC contractor also has to be ACCA Certified. To learn more, go to https://www.acca.org/home.

What are the Benefits of Energy Star?

One of the major benefits for the homeowner is reduced energy costs.  On average, you save 35% more than the average code built home.  That can be substantial cost savings!  The average annual savings for an Energy Star certified home is $300!

Another value add is a greater ROI.  Energy Star increases the building value and gives you a greater resale value.  It also requires comprehensive air sealing and quality-installed insulation which helps to reduce leaks and drafts.  With less gaps and cracks, you end up having more consistent temperatures, minimizing warm and cold spots and improving comfort in the home.   ES provides a comprehensive water management system, including flashing, moisture barriers, and heavy -duty membranes to protect the home from moisture damage.   They also require fresh air ventilation.  A fresh air system provides a controlled amount of outdoor air combined with a high-performance filter to improve indoor air quality and in return reduces dust, pollen, and other allergens.  It also prevents mold build up from a home becoming too tight.

Crazy to think they want you to air seal and make the home so tight just to bring air back in the home, right?!  That’s what you call building science people.  There is a science to this madness.  And lastly but not least, you are helping save the environment.  Each Energy Star certified home reduces greenhouse gases by 3,700 lbs. per year compared to a code built home.  That is equivalent to 43 trees.    So, with all the benefits mentioned above for Energy Star, why wouldn’t you choose it over a HERS rating?

 Difficulties with Energy Star

Even though Energy Star has a million benefits to the homeowner, it can be a very difficult process.  Energy Star can be somewhat costly for the builder and HVAC contractor.     It is important for the trades involved to know what is required from the start of construction.  Many builders wait until they are about to insulate to ask for their home to be certified and often, it is too late depending on what type of framing they had or if pre-drywall has been hung yet.

Energy Star is pass or fail so if something isn’t done correctly during the process, you can fail your inspection which in turn holds up the next trade until the correction is completed.  Think about that for a minute.  You are building 500 homes in a year, with 20 different trade partners.  One inspection failed because the insulation wasn’t correct and they had gaps and cracks that needed to be air sealed. They fail inspection and can’t fix the items for 2 days.  The items finally get corrected and it passes inspection but now the dry wall contractors are busy and can’t get in for 3 more days which pushes back the next trade.  Now because of one failed inspection, you are weeks behind.  It’s a domino effect so it’s important for things to be done correctly the first time.  For a home to pass Energy Star, there is a checklist based off performance.  If you are building a custom home, the homeowner may prefer a huge fridge and outside shower over energy efficient appliances or LED lighting.  Which goes back to why it is important to know your target market and understand what is required before deciding which program is better for you.

Another huge hurtle we come across as a Third Party Inspector for Energy Star is collecting the checklists from the builders and HVAC contractors.  I can’t stress the importance and headache of this enough.  We are constantly chasing people down to get their checklists complete or correct.  We CANNOT complete the Energy Star Certificate without the checklists from the Rater, Builder, and HVAC Contractor.  So many times the HVAC company doesn’t fill out what is required and homeowner and builders are knocking our doors down for their Certs which makes us look bad.  So one thing I will say is if you choose to certify your homes as Energy Star, make sure you work with builders and trades you can trust to complete the process so you aren’t making promises to homeowners  you can’t keep.

Conclusion

Okay so you could build a home just as tight as an Energy Star home and not get it certified but get a HERS Score?  YES!  But then do you have to worry about your home being too “tight”? I’m so glad you asked… No it is not required to have fresh air ventilation with a HERS Score so you very well could end up making your home too tight.  Therefore, it is so important to consult a building scientist and get the advice you need to build an energy efficient home. There are many benefits to getting a HERS Rating and many benefits to certifying your home to be Energy Star Certified.

To learn more about Performance Point, go to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/energyratersproven/

Click here to see a sample Energy Star Certificate

https://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/bldrs_lenders_raters/downloads/NewHomesCertificate_11.07.13_SAMPLE.Watermark.pdf?c145-7763&597a-7c38