Performance vs Prescriptive-Based Energy Code Compliance

home energy efficiency inspection

What is Prescriptive Based Energy Code Compliance?

In a nutshell, builders are given a checklist of energy-related measures to follow. Check off all the boxes in the list and you should be in compliance. Although this pathway meets code requirements and delivers a home with at least average overall energy efficiency, it leaves little room for getting creative. If you really want to drill down to greater energy efficiency and indoor air quality an alternative pathway is needed. 

What is Performance-Based Energy Code Compliance?

This pathway offers builders a more flexible alternative to be in compliance with the energy code. With this pathway, the project’s energy efficiency is looked at as a whole rather than individual measures. For example, if space limitation prevents you from achieving the required insulation R-value in any given cavity then the presumed loss of energy efficiency can be made up for in other ways. You might consider adding additional insulation in other areas or spending additional resources to upgrade your HVAC System. As long as the building meets the overall energy code requirements the means to do so are dynamic. 

Because the Performance-Based Energy Code allows new and sometimes untested pathways to energy performance, builders need to know that they will be in compliance with the energy code before construction begins. This is why energy modeling software used by HERS Raters is so important. 

What is Energy Modeling Software?

HERS Raters and other Energy Specialists use this software as a planning tool in order to accurately predict how a given home will perform in the real world. All this is done before the shovel hits the ground.

How Do HERS Raters Do It? 

Information gathered from building plans is entered into the software and a virtual model of the home is generated. With this software, you can experiment with different energy-saving alternatives allowing users to swap out HVAC equipment, appliances, insulation quantities, and more in order to come up with an optimal solution that meets the needs of the builder and the requirements of the 2021 IECC.

What is the 2021 IECC?

IECC stands for International Energy Conservation Code. The 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC 2021) is the latest version produced by the International Code Council (ICC). This document provides the foundation for many state and city energy codes. The IECC 2021 combined with local jurisdiction amendments form the state codes.

The 2021 IECC addresses energy efficiency on several fronts including cost, energy usage, use of natural resources, and the impact of energy usage on the environment.

Builders take note, the States of Massachusetts and Connecticut have already adopted this latest energy code and the State of Rhode Island is poised to do so this year. 

In Other Related News: 

Whether you’re in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, ask your HERS Rater about the benefits of registering your new construction or major rehab project under the RNC (Residential New Construction) or the R&A (Renovations and Additions) Program. Registering is FREE and you may receive generous rebates and other incentives from the utility company serving your area. 

Bottom Line: Homes today are not constructed the way they were a generation ago. They tend to be more durable, better insulated, have greater indoor air quality and use considerably less energy to operate. Expect this trend to continue as each state grapples with carbon reduction goals and building technology continues to develop.  

Want to Learn More About Home Energy Efficiency?

If you’d like more information on how you can minimize energy consumption and maximize savings while making your home more comfortable all year round, then contact Energy Geeks. Our mission is to provide the most comprehensive and efficient solutions to reduce energy use in your home. 

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the staff at anergy geeks