Still have that thirty year old furnace? There is talk that home owners will have to make serious energy efficient changes to their homes before they

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Still have that thirty year old furnace?

There is talk that home owners will have to make serious energy efficient changes to their homes before they are allowed by law to sell it. Furthermore, banks could potentially turn down mortgages applied for by buyers; should the home they are trying to purchase not meet "efficiency codes". I believe that each individual state will monitor and execute these new requirements as soon as 2011. This would potentially not only apply to the house structure, but also to appliances, such as: refrigerators , HVAC units, dishwashers and sprinkler systems.

What is a Home Energy Rating?

A home energy rating involves an analysis of a home’s construction plans and onsite inspections. Based on the home’s plans, the Home Energy Rater uses an energy efficiency software package to perform an energy analysis of the home’s design. This analysis yields a projected, pre-construction HERS Index. Upon completion of the plan review, the rater will work with the builder to identify the energy efficiency improvements needed to ensure the house will meet ENERGY STAR performance guidelines. The rater then conducts onsite inspections, typically including a blower door test (to test the leakiness of the house) and a duct test (to test the leakiness of the ducts). Results of these tests, along with inputs derived from the plan review, are used to generate the HERS Index score for the home.

The HERS Index

The HERS Index is a scoring system established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) in which a home built to the specifications of the HERS Reference Home (based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code) scores a HERS Index of 100, while a net zero energy home scores a HERS Index of 0. The lower a home’s HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is in comparison to the HERS Reference Home.

Each 1-point decrease in the HERS Index corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption compared to the HERS Reference Home. Thus a home with a HERS Index of 85 is 15% more energy efficient than the HERS Reference Home and a home with a HERS Index of 80 is 20% more energy efficient.

Information courtesy of Energy Star, DOE

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Home Energy Survey

A Home Energy Survey is a visual inspection and does not include the use of diagnostic testing equipment. Its purpose is to assess the general energy performance of an existing home including:

Building envelope features (windows, doors, insulation, ducts) and agesHeating, cooling and ventilation equipment types, characteristics and ages Appliance and lighting characteristics Comfort complaintsVisible moisture issuesVisible health and safety issues.

The Home Energy Survey Professional (HESP) will request a review of utility use and billing history to better understand potential opportunities for savings. A report of the complete assessment is provided, including basic recommendations for improving the home's energy efficiency, as well as low-cost do-it yourself tasks. It also includes information on relevant utility-based programs that may incentivize the homeowner to take action. A Home Energy Survey takes approximately one hour to complete.

WHY USE A RESNET-CERTIFIED AUDITOR OR RATER?

While all home energy auditors and raters can be expected to have some degree of skill, RESNET member auditors and raters are committed to the highest level of quality and ethics. When you work with a RESNET member, you are protected by the following:

Objectivity
Choosing a RESNET-certified auditor or rater means that you are selecting someone you can trust to provide an objective energy audit or rating. All RESNET member auditors and raters have pledged to disclose any financial interest they may have in a home that is being audited/rated.

Technical Proficiency
RESNET auditor and rater members are fully trained, have demonstrated a high standard of technical proficiency, and have committed to maintain and improve their knowledge and proficiency through continuing education.

Ethical Standards
RESNET members are committed to conducting energy audits and ratings in accordance with the RESNET Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. RESNET's purpose is to set the standard for quality of home energy audits and ratings, and has developed stringent industry standards to ensure the highest quality of service.

Complaint Resolution Process
RESNET has developed a complaint resolution process for consumers who beliieve that their auditor or rater has acted outside the RESNET Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. When you work with a RESNET member, you have the confidence that RESNET is standing behind you.

Information above courtesy of Resnet

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proSeed's picks: environmental news

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United States Used Less Energy, More Renewables in 2009: Report...read on

A Greener Champagne Bottle - REIMS, France — Deep below a lush landscape of ripening Champagne grapes, Thierry Gasco, the master vintner for Pommery, ran his finger over the shoulders of a dark green bottle that looked just like the thousands of others reposing in his chilly subterranean cellars...read on

NEW U.S. RATINGS SYSTEM PROPOSED FOR VEHICLE EMISSIONS, EFFICIENCY - The Obama administration has proposed adding new labels to showroom vehicles that give letter grades based on their fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions. The new labels, which U.S. officials hope to introduce for 2012 models, would provide consumers with more complete information on efficiency and environmental performance, including associated air pollutants...read on

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proSeed is a journal of environmental finance, owned and operated by DFD Capital. proSeed is a weekly publication which reports on the environmental finance space. In future journals we will continue to provide compelling information, relevant news, interviews with industry professionals, and a whole lot of other interesting material. Please enjoy and feel free to contact me with any comments, questions, or ideas that you may have regarding environmental finance at dd@dfdcapital.com.

Have an idea for a story? Email us at info@dfdcapital.com.

-Daryl Dworkin

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