October 9th – Energy Code Compliance and Other Strategies for Achieving Greater Efficiency in NH’s Municipal Buildings: Tips for Town Managers, Local Code Officials, and Local Energy Committee Members, as well as interested citizens and professionals
Join the Local Energy Working Group for an informative webinar on building efficiency, the NH Energy Code and overcoming challenges when dealing with existing buildings – on October 9th, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
- Kevin O’Maley (City of Manchester) and Michele Sopher (Town of Rye) will provide a blunt discussion of the challenges encountered within NH cities and towns that prevent cost-effective investment in municipal building efficiency improvements. Kevin and Michele will use specific examples, from projects completed their communities, on how barriers were overcome, projects financed, efficiency measures taken, and savings achieved.
- Jon Osgood (NH Public Utilities Commission Energy Conservation Coordinator) will talk about the specifics of the residential side of the code with reference to the application form to bring participants up to speed with what they should be looking for from their citizens. Jon will also provide some building science background and spend time discussing how energy committees can work with their town fathers and building departments to help increase awareness of the value the energy code and its contributions to communities over time. Information regarding key national energy code objectives will be provided along with a brief summary of the code development process nationally and in the state.
- Scott Albert of GDS Associates will facilitate; answering audience questions, and providing insights into policy and statewide initiatives.
For more information and to register, go here: http://www.nhenergy.org/upcoming-les-trainings.html
“Energy Issues in Existing Homes” Real Estate Class Offered
“Energy Issues in Existing Homes: What Real Estate Professionals Need to Know,” a class approved for 3 credits by the New Hampshire Real Estate Commission, will be offered by the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI) and the Meredith Energy Committee:
Thursday, September 26, 9:30am-12:45pm,
At the Meredith Community Center, Room B, 1 Circle Dr., Meredith, NH 03253
The class is specifically designed to help real estate professionals better serve their clients, and includes topics such as:
• Why some homes use more energy than others
• Finding and listing information on a home’s energy performance
• Resources to help clients solve home energy problems
• The cost-effectiveness of different energy improvements
• Energy financing options and incentives for existing homes
• Marketing a home’s energy performance
The class was developed by Sustainable Energy Resource Group (SERG), a nonprofit educational organization in Thetford, Vermont and the Efficiency Training Program at Lakes Region Community College. Funding from the NH PUC’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Fund has enabled the development of this class.
“This class is invaluable to real estate licensees in informing home buyers and sellers about the importance of home efficiency”, says workshop developer and SERG executive director Bob Walker, who has been teaching energy classes for over a decade and will be presenting this class.
Buff McLaughry, COO of Lang McLaughry Spera, one of New England’s largest real estate firms, and a board member of SERG, said, “With New England’s old housing stock and high energy costs, this class is immensely helpful in educating real estate consumers to make the best possible energy choices.”
The $25 discounted registration fee includes: 3-NHREC credits and continental breakfast. A 144-page Course Materials Booklet will be available for use during the class and available for $15 purchase at the class. Course materials will also be available for free electronic download to all attendees.
For more information on the class contact:
Bob Walker or Andy Duncan
Sustainable Energy Resource Group Lakes Region Community College
For Energy Code Collaborative members and others who might be interested, Bruce Buttrick passed on this information from the ASHRAE Government Affairs update listserv. This is the full update, which is what you would receive if you chose to join the list.
Welcome to ASHRAE’s Government Affairs Update! Along with the Government Affairs webpage, these periodic email updates feature information on government affairs-related activities of interest to ASHRAE members and others interested in the built environment. Archives of previous updates are available from the Government Affairs webpage (www.ashrae.org/government-affairs).
Please pass this information on to interested colleagues who also may subscribe from the ASHRAE Government Affairs webpage. Should you wish to unsubscribe, information appears at the end of this email.
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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 8/9/2013
- DOE Seeks Comments on Building Energy Code Compliance Methodology
- U.S. Senate Delays Consideration of Energy Efficiency Bill – Will Now Begin Debate in September
- U.S. Senate Finance Committee Examines Energy Tax Reform
DOE Seeks Comments on Building Energy Code Compliance Methodology
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a request for public comments on its methodology for assessing compliance with building energy codes at the local, state, and national levels. The Department is seeking feedback on a wide variety of questions, including:
- How should DOE define compliance with energy codes?
- What are the barriers to achieving compliance?
- What metrics should be used for measuring compliance?
- Do residential and commercial compliance evaluation studies require fundamentally different sampling plans and research methodologies?
- How could incentive funding be used to facilitate states to increase energy code adoption and compliance efforts?
- Is there a role DOE could play to support third-party evaluators?
Comments and information may be submitted to DOE on or before September 5, 2013. To view the full request for comments, which includes supplementary information, please visit (PDF) http://ow.ly/nKHW8.
U.S. Senate Delays Consideration of Energy Efficiency Bill – Will Now Begin Debate in September
The winding road of national energy efficiency legislation has taken another turn. The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (also known as Shaheen-Portman for its Senate sponsors) is widely considered to be the most important energy efficiency bill in nearly a decade, and is now scheduled to be debated as a first order of business when the U.S. Senate returns from its August recess in September. The Senate had previously planned to begin debate on this bill prior to their recess, but ran out of time due to fiscal year 2014 funding issues for transportation, housing, and urban development, and the need to confirm appointments to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Labor Relations Board.
Just before leaving, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced a new version of their bill, which is now referenced as S.1392 (it was previously S.761). The new version is largely similar to that which cleared the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with wide bipartisan support. Some of the biggest changes include the deletion of Title II, the Commercial Building Efficiency Financing Initiative, which was taken out to allow the bill to move forward and provide additional time for consensus to develop. Also among the changes was the addition of a new career skills program under Title I, which would provide grants to nonprofit partnerships who provide on-the-job training for obtaining industry-related certifications to install energy efficient buildings technologies.
The building energy codes section of the bill has not been changed.
In addition to the changes incorporated into S.1392, several amendments could be added to the bill, including the following:
- All-of-the-Above Federal Building Energy Conservation Act (S.1199) – Would change fossil fuel energy consumption reduction requirements, and add new energy efficiency provisions for federal buildings.
- Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act (S.717) – Would establish a pilot program to award grants to nonprofit organizations for energy efficiency retrofits.
- Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act (S.1084) – Would establish the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, and local assistance provided to promote the energy retrofitting of schools.
- Better Buildings Act (S.1191) (also known as Tenant Star) – Would build on the success of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR for Buildings program and establish a voluntary new “Tenant Star” program to certify leased spaces in buildings as energy efficient.
While the Senate will begin debate on Shaheen-Portman in September, the chances of completing debate and passing the bill may be slim because of rumors of several controversial amendments that may be offered, and another big factor – time.
When Members of Congress return to Washington, they will have a mere 16 days to complete work on the 12 annual funding bills (none of which have been enacted) before the 2014 fiscal year begins on October 1st, or pass a continuing resolution, which would keep government spending at about current levels. Congress will also be faced with the often highly-charged issue of raising the debt ceiling. Both of these issues trump debate over Shaheen-Portman and could cause significant delays in the bill’s consideration and possible passage.
On the other side of the Capitol, the House has been, and will likely continue waiting for the Senate to act before moving on their version of Shaheen-Portman, known as McKinley-Welch (H.R.1616).
For additional information, please contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE’s Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Senate Finance Committee Examines Energy Tax Reform
Last week the U.S. Senate Finance Committee held a hearing that probed the question – what should the nation’s tax system look like, and what are the principles of energy tax reform that can be used to build consensus?
Buildings and energy efficiency were topics of several witnesses, which included:
- The Honorable Christopher A. Coons, United States Senator, State of Delaware
- The Honorable Jerry Moran, United States Senator, State of Kansas
- Phyllis Cuttino, Director, Clean Energy, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington, DC
- Dan Reicher, Executive Director,Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy, Finance at Stanford University, Professor, Stanford Law School, Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford, CA
- Will Coleman, Partner, OnRamp Capital, San Francisco, CA
- Margo Thorning, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, American Council for Capital Formation, Washington, DC
To view an archived webcast of the hearing and access witness testimony, please visit http://ow.ly/nKHRO
To subscribe see http://www.ashrae.org/advocacy
- Shaheen-Portman: The Little Energy Efficiency Bill That Could. But Will It? (thinkprogress.org.feedsportal.com)
- Top 5 Reasons Why The Shaheen-Portman Efficiency Bill Helps The Economy And The Climate (thinkprogress.org)
- Congress and Energy Efficiency – The Tentative Steps of Shaheen-Portman (legalplanet.wordpress.com)
- Making case for energy efficiency (politico.com)
The meeting dates for the upcoming NH Energy Code Collaborative will be as follows:
- Tuesday February 19th, 1-3pm Note: This is the THIRD Tuesday of the month.
- Tuesday March 26th , 1-3pm
- Tuesday April 16th , 1-3pm 3pm Note: This is the THIRD Tuesday of the month.
- Tuesday May 28th , 1-3pm
- Tuesday June 25th , 1-3pm
We have received confirmation that the Memorial Room at the LGC has been reserved for the remaining 2013 meetings (extending until December). This is a new room that we have not met in yet and will be slightly larger than the room we were in for the January Meeting.
The next meeting of NH Energy Code Collaborative will be held on Tuesday, January 22nd at the Local Government Center. Time: 12 to 2 PM. Agenda forthcoming.
The New Hampshire Energy Code Blog was set up as a part of the New Hampshire Energy Code Challenge in June of 2011. In the past the blog has hosted some posts relating to the Energy Code, The Code Challenge and workshops. The blog is now the perfect place for the New Hampshire Energy Code Collaborative to post information and stay in touch between monthly meetings. The blog will offer a place for Collaborative Members and for anyone following The Collaborative’s efforts to view recent activities, view related documents, and post interesting articles. We hope for the blog to become a centralized location for The Collaborative to share information and advance its message and mission.
For those of you unfamiliar with the New Hampshire Energy Code Collaborative here are the details:
The New Hampshire Energy Code Collaborative is a stakeholder group of diverse professionals and individuals from a broad range of industries including:
- Legislative, Policy, and Regulatory
- Code Officials and Building Inspectors
- Building Professionals, Builders and Contractors
- Architects, Engineers, and Designers
- Real Estate Professionals and Appraisers
- Lenders and Financing Organizations
- Commercial and Industrial Building Owners, Managers, and Operators
- Homeowners, and the General Public
- Equipment Suppliers, Distributors, Manufacturers
- “Hard to Reach” Communities
The Collaborative meets on a monthly basis to discuss, prioritize, and tackle the issues and market barriers critical to overcome in order to achieve the compliance goals set forth in the Mission Statement and the NH Building Energy Code Compliance Roadmap Report.
The New Hampshire Energy Code Collaborative’s Mission Statement is as follows:
“Our Mission is to facilitate compliance with the State’s building energy codes statewide and serve as a reliable and unbiased centralized source of information on building energy codes and code compliance in New Hampshire. We will be successful when building codes are consistently met throughout the state and builders, lenders, appraisers, buyers, and state and local regulators have the knowledge and the tools they need to evaluate and assign value to building energy efficiency. This vision can be achieved through a collaborative effort of identified market actors to better coordinate actions and policies affecting energy code compliance, and to identify and prioritize steps needed to achieve compliance with building energy codes.”
– revised per Collaborative meeting, 9/19/2012
Stay tuned for more great resources and posts from the New Hampshire Energy Code Collaborative!
Question: What’s the deal with duct testing under the IECC 2009 code? How can I make sure I pass the inspection? -Drew, Exeter NH
Many studies have shown that visual inspection of duct seals in residences is not enough. Code now requires a pressure test. Pressure testing ducts as required by the 2009 IECC is far superior to visual inspection and will definitively confirm that duct leakage is kept to a low level. Building Energy Codes Program experts estimate that pressure testing ducts in new residential construction will reduce energy consumption in new homes by up to 10% on average and potentially much more in some homes.
Section 403.2.2 of the 2009 IECC states that the sealing of ducts must be verified by a duct pressure test. This test involves using a fan to force air into the duct system and measuring how much air leaks out through cracks and holes (the registers are taped closed for the test). A duct pressure test is not required if the air handler and all ducts are located inside the building thermal envelope. The requirements for how to seal ducts are given in Section M1601.3 of the International Residential Code, and apply regardless of the location of the ducts.
The code allows considerable flexibility in the required test. It can be conducted by anyone, including the installer or a third party. It can be done either after rough-in of the ducts or at the completion of construction (i.e., after drywall has been installed and finished). There are separate requirements for testing at rough-in, depending on whether the air handler has been installed at the time of the test. The post-construction test can measure either the “total leakage” of the ducts or the “leakage to outdoors” (the fraction of the total that leaks outside the conditioned space).
The allowable leakage rates are expressed in terms of airflow (cubic feet per minute or CFM) per 100 ft² of conditioned floor area, when duct registers or boots are taped/sealed and the duct system is pressurized to 25 Pascals (0.1 inches w.c.). Maximum leakage rates for the various testing options are as follows:
Maximum CFM per 100 ft² @25 Pascals
At rough-in, air handler not installed
At rough-in, air handler installed
Post-construction, leakage to outdoors
Post-construction, total leakage
The drawbacks of rough-in testing include less accuracy as leaks in the boot assembly cannot be fully measured because drywall is not yet installed. Also, it is only possible to measure total leakage whereas leakage specifically to the outdoors can be measured when the house is completed.
Source: “Duct Testing in New Residential Construction – Code Notes”, Building Energy Codes Resource Center, Article 1694, published August 2009. http://resourcecenter.pnl.gov/cocoon/morf/ResourceCenter/article/1694
Some Tips to Ensure Compliance
It is often helpful to imagine that instead of filling the duct system with air, you are filling it with water – and you absolutely don’t want any water to leak out of the system anywhere. Ideally, the same care you would use to seal the ductwork to be water-tight should be used when you are sealing the system to pass an air pressure test.
Some other useful tips:
- Make sure that all supply and return ductwork is tightly sealed with mastic or foil tape, not duct tape. This includes all the seams and anywhere a connection is made.
- Make sure the seams around the air handler unit itself are sealed tightly with foil tape. Also, ensure that the filter slot is gasketed and seals tightly upon closure.
- Use dedicated ductwork for all supply and return lines; i.e. do not use building frame such as wall-stud cavities or floor joist cavities as ductwork.
- Seal all duct boots that penetrate the sub floor to the sub floor with mastic or foil tape.
- If flex-duct is used, ensure that it is not kinked or compressed.
For information on efficient duct systems see the ENERGY STAR® write up: www.energystar.gov/ia/new_homes/features/DuctSystems_062906.pdf
For more information on energy efficiency programs in New Hampshire: http://www.nheconomy.com/business-services/energy-efficiency-programs.aspx