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									You are receiving ENERGY STAR Northwest Home’s Technical E-Update to keep you
informed of technical changes, resources, and events that will support your success as an
ENERGY STAR Verifier or Performance Testing Contractor. If you have questions
about the content in this E-Update, please contact your State Certification Organization
(SCO) Representative:

Idaho: Doug Plourde, IED – 208-287-4903,
Montana: Jim Maunder, NCAT – 406-728-1864,
Oregon: Brady Peeks, ODOE – 503-373-7561,
Washington: Andy Gordon, WSU – 360-956-2000,

For more information, please visit

Technical E-Update Issue # 5 Topics:
   1) Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficient New Homes
   2) Heat Pump Specification Changes
   Verifier Updates:
   3) Lighting Tips
   4) TCO Matrix
   5) RESNET Insurance
   6) Database Improvements
   7) CAZ Testing Exception in Washington
   Performance Testing Contractors Updates:
   8) Heat Pump Commissioning Changes

1) Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficient New Homes
In August, President Bush signed into effect the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Included in
the bill was the allowance of a federal tax credit for new homes acquired by a person
after December 31, 2005 and before January 1, 2008. The bill provides for a $2,000
credit paid to the builder on new homes whose space heating and cooling energy
consumption is 50% below the annual consumption of a home that is constructed to the
standards of the IECC 2003 and its supplements and current federal minimum equipment
requirements. The interpretation is that the home must be 50% more efficient than the
IECC 2004 supplement standards with a 13 SEER air conditioner if cooling equipment is
used. This standard will be higher than the standard for ENERGY STAR qualified new
homes. We will communicate with Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes program
participants as the requirements are clarified through the rule making process. The
Secretary of Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of Energy will develop
implementation rules. The ENERGY STAR Homes Northwest program is involved in
influencing rule making and is keeping abreast of developments to ensure that ENERGY
STAR Home Northwest participants are kept up to date.
2) Heat Pump Specification Change – July 1, 2006
Federal minimum standards on heat pumps are changing as of January 1, 2006. The
minimum standard will move from a 6.8 HSPF/10 SEER to a 7.7 HSPF/13 SEER. In
order to maintain energy savings and performance levels above standard homes, the
ENERGY STAR Homes program will adjust the specification on heat pumps qualifying
for installation in a Northwest ENERGY STAR home. The new program minimum
standard for heat pumps will be a minimum 9.0 HSPF/13 SEER. The new standard will
go in effect as of July 1, 2006. As of this date any new home initiated in the ENERGY
STAR homes Northwest database must include a 9.0 HSPF/13 SEER heat pump or better
when using a heat pump as the heat source. Note: The federal minimum standard on
SEER for heat pumps and air-conditioners is also changing from SEER 10 to SEER 13.
The Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes program will not be changing the current SEER
13 specification in 2006. SEER 13 air-conditioning and heat pump will still meet the
specifications for Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes in 2006.
3) Lighting Tips – Ensuring Builder Compliance and Homeowner
When verifying ENERGY STAR homes for the 50% CFL requirement, pay attention to
the following tips to ensure that builders and homeowners are happy with the energy
efficient lighting in their new home:

1. Make sure that installed CFLs fit the application in their size, wattage and color.
     Size – Mini-twist CFLs, which are readily available in up to a 60 watt equivalent,
     are the same size as incandescent bulbs and provide great light for most
     applications in the home.
     Wattage – Make sure the CFL is the appropriate wattage for the fixture, its
     sockets, and its intended use. In most cases, a mini-twist CFL that replaces a
     60w or 75w bulb will be sufficient.
     Color – Retail CFLs are typically 2700 K, which will match the light color of
     incandescent bulbs. While showrooms and electrical distributors sometimes carry
     CFLs in the 3000K to 3500K range these are actually not well suited for
     residential uses and are better left for commercial or utilitarian applications.

2. CFLs used in a particular fixture, room or circuit of similar fixtures should have a
   consistent look in terms of their color temperature, brightness and size. One way to
   make sure this happens is by using the same bulb model in all of the similar fixtures
   within one room such as in recessed cans or ceiling rounds.

3. Tackle the easy fixtures first to reach the count such as ceiling rounds, sconces,
   closed-bottom pendants, outdoor coach lights, fluorescent under-cabinet, shop lights
   and (if verification goals trump actual savings) pantry or closets. If the count is still
   not met, move on to recessed cans or install covered globe or A-line CFLs in exposed
   fixtures, such as ‘bell’ pendants, chandeliers, bath bars, etc.

4. Some verifiers carry a stock of common CFL’s in their car to help fill in gaps on
   those occasions where a house is missing just one or two bulbs to qualify for the
   ENERGY STAR label. The verifier then bills the builder for the bulb along with the
   cost of their service. This strategy avoids the need for the electrical subcontractor to
   make another house visit and can relieve your builder of the headache of following
   up. However the builder should be notified of the failure to meet the lighting
   requirement so that they can prevent this from happening again. Ultimately the
   subcontractor should be held to doing it right the first time. The most commonly used
   CFLS are the 60 watt equivalent (70%) and the other 30% of the bulbs are the less
   commonly used 75 watt equivalent, globe, and R30.

5. TCP, Sylvania, Maxlite, Satco, and Westinghouse are some common brands that have
   wide commercial distribution in this region. Each product line has some strengths
   and weaknesses, making one solid recommendation nearly impossible. There are
   CFLs that are not ENERGY STAR qualified, so it’s important that builders and their
   subcontractors demand only ENERGY STAR qualified product from their vendors.
4) TCO Matrix

The following table shows which TCOs can be used with which BOPs.

                                              BOP 1.1 Gas     BOP 1.2        BOP 1.3        BOP 2.1
                    TCO                         with AC      Gas no AC      Heat Pump        Zonal
TCO #1 - Perimeter Insulated Crawlspace            x             x               x
TCO #2 - SEER 12 AC                                x                             x
TCO #3 - Advanced Lighting Package                 x              x              x            x
TCO #4 - Gas Hydronic Heating System               x              x
TCO #5 - Electric Hydronic Heating System                                                     x
TCO #6 - U-value Trade Off for BOP 1                x             x             x
TCO #7 - U-Value Trade Off for BOP 2                                                          x
TCO #8 - DHW Efficiency for Uo Trade Off            x             x             x
TCO #9 - Hybrid Gas Unit Heaters with
Electric Resistance Zonal Heating                   x             x
TCO #10 - Hybrid "Ductless Split" Heat Pump
with Electric Resistance Zonal Heating                                          x
TCO #11 - 90 AFUE Propane Furnance                  x             x

5) RESNET Insurance
Several ESHNW verifiers have expressed concern about the availability of liability
insurance for the services they provide. The Residential Energy Services Network
(RESNET) offers both general liability and professional liability insurance to accredited
raters or verifiers (ESHNW verifiers are accredited through their State Certification

General liability insurance is the most basic form of commercial insurance. The coverage
is limited to liability claims of bodily injury or property damage. Coverage is provided
for accidents at your work site or at a customer location. Professional liability insurance
(also called errors and omissions) protects a business from malpractice and errors or
omissions claimed by a customer. Such coverage is needed when the potential damage
can exceed the value of the services being provided.

RESNET approved raters or verifiers are eligible for a business owners policy with an
annual premium averaging $500. This comprehensive package includes both general
liability and property coverage. RESNET members are also eligible for professional
liability insurance at an annual premium averaging $2,700. The premiums can vary
depending on the size of the verification enterprise and the nature of its operations.

More information on the RESNET insurance options is available on the RESNET
6) Certification Database Improvements

The State Certification Database now allows for faster data entry of new homes. The
enhancements reduce the number of trips the database has to make back to the server
while a verifier completes data entry resulting in quicker data entry.

If you encounter difficulties with the database, or simply have a question, please do not
hesitate to contact your State Certification Organization Representative. Or use the
“Report Problems” link to send an email to the Database Administrator. We will get
back to you promptly.
7) CAZ Testing Exception in Washington
The requirements for combustion appliance zone (CAZ) testing in Washington State have
been modified to allow the use of a Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm in lieu of a CAZ test.
The ENERGY STAR Homes Northwest Technical Review Committee approved the
following exception to the CAZ test requirements in sections 2.5 and 3.4.
       Exception: In Washington State only, a UL listed carbon monoxide detector
       may be installed within the heated space in lieu of the CAZ pressure test

As indicated in the language, the exception is only in place in Washington State; the other
State Certification Organizations have indicated that they do not intend to adopt this
For more questions, call Andrew Gordon of WSU Extension Energy Program - (360)
8) New Process for Heat Pump Commissioning Coming Soon
ENERGY STAR Northwest Homes with heat pumps have been required to go through a
commissioning process to assure that the required high efficiency heat pumps will
perform to specifications. The process has required that certified technicians use either
the CheckMe system or the Honeywell Hand Tool to demonstrate that the installation
meets PTCS requirements.

An obstacle in this process has been the requirement to use a super-heat or sub-cooling
test to verifier proper refrigerant charge. The test could only be done in cooling mode
with outdoor temperatures warmer than about 55o F. This meant that system certification
could not be completed until there was warm weather, often delaying the process and
requiring additional follow-up site visits.

Recent research completed in the Northwest aimed at determining the critical factors
affecting heat pump performance in heating mode has led to the development of
additional new procedures for heat pump commissioning. CheckMe and the Hand Tool
will remain as acceptable procedures while the new process will offer a third alternative
which can be completed year round. The new process will qualify the system for
ENERGY STAR labeling and utility incentives where available.

The process is designed to verify all of the existing PTCS specifications but changes the
emphasis from charge verification to controls. The recently completed research indicates
that heat pump performance is affected most significantly by improper control strategies
and failures, followed by inadequate air flow across interior coils, and that charge only
becomes a significant factor when systems are grossly undercharged. As a result the new
process places added emphasis on verification of PTCS control specifications, still
requires a system flow measurement but allows the substitution of a refrigerant weigh-in
procedure in place of super-heat or sub-cooling tests. Refrigerant charge verification
may be completed by documenting new factory charged equipment and adjustments for
line sets with the big advantage that system commissioning can be completed year round.

Forms and testing protocols to support this new process are in final development and
should be available to commission systems this coming heating season. Watch for
announcements this fall for training opportunities to become certified in the new

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