Energy Star and Priority Energy

Have questions about the Energy Star Residential New Construction program? 
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Energy Star Residential New Construction and the 45L Tax Credit

Single-family and multi-family home builders can rely on Priority Energy to make the Energy Star construction and certification process as simple as possible.  As an Energy Star Partner and HERS Rating Provider we have helped countless builders and developers throughout the Midwest construct energy efficient dwellings that meet the strict performance standards of the EPA's residential new construction program.

Priority Energy’s experienced HERS Raters have years of experience and have certified homes ranging from custom estates to affordable housing projects. We offer bundled service packages to save you money and provide assurance that all Energy Star certification and 45L tax credit requirements have been verified. Bundled packages include plan reviews, energy modeling, mechanical design and equipment selection, testing and verification documents.

The following is an overview of the design requirements that pertain to both single family (SFNC) and multifamily (MFNC) new construction.

Energy Star Residential New Construction Design Requirements

Energy Star compliance (currently Version 3.1, version 11) must be determined at the Design stage using Energy Modeling software. The certification process provides flexibility to select a custom combination of measures that are equivalent in performance to the minimum requirements of the ENERGY STAR Reference Design Home. Our software will determine the ENERGY STAR Energy Rating Index (ERI) Target, which is the highest ERI value that each rated home may achieve to earn ENERGY STAR.  Additionally, certain mandatory requirements apply. 

Note: These requirements pertain to CZ 5 and the greater Chicagoland area. Design requirements vary by Climate Zone (CZ). 

  • Builders are required to sign an ENERGY STAR Partnership Agreement and complete the online Version 3 Builder Orientation, which can be found at http://www.energystar.gov/homesPA
  • Building design must include fully aligned air barriers, reduced thermal bridging and air sealing that meets the Energy Star specifications. Specs can be found on the National Rater Field Checklist. (Priority Energy can provide this and review it with Builder.)
  • Builders must have HVAC Design Reports to include Manual J/D/S. (Priority Energy can prepare the HVAC design reports.)
  • Insulation must meet IECC 2012 levels (or state code requirement) and installation must meet RESNET’s defined Grade I. (Illinois is following the IECC 2018 code, which are stricter.)
  • Windows:  U-value .027 for CZ 5, no SHGC minimum.
  • Heating Equipment:  
    • Gas-Fueled Furnaces must have AFUE 95% at minimum.
    • Filtration with at least a MERV 6 filter and the filter access panel should be sealed by an HVAC contractor.
    • Boilers or Heat Pumps must have a minimum CZ 5: 9.25 HSPF/15 SEER/12 EER, air-source w/electric or dual-fuel backup. 
  • Cooling Equipment: AC must have a minimum rating of SEER 13.
  • Ventilation: A Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation system must be installed. Ventilation must meet the current ASHRAE standard required by applicable energy code.
  • Local Exhaust: Kitchen exhaust must vent outdoors at ≤ 100 cfm., and Bath exhaust fans at ≤ 50 cfm.
  • Blower Door/Infiltration Rates: 3 ACH50 in CZ 5.  (2018 IECC Illinois code is also 4 ACH50).
  • Ductwork: All ducts and air handlers should be modeled within conditioned space. 
  • Water Heater: Energy Factor (EF) for CZ 5 should be 40-gallon gas .61 EF or 50-gallon gas .59 EF (minimum requirement).
  • Lighting and Appliances: Dwellings must use Energy Star appliances and high efficiency light bulbs (i.e., LEDs, CFLs).

Energy Star New Construction Verification Requirements

There are three on-site inspections the HERS Rater must perform to complete the Energy Star certification process.

  1. Site Visit One - The Rough Inspection Before Insulation
    • Verify that windows meet levels specified.
    • Verify air barriers are fully aligned.
    • Verify reduced thermal bridging.
    • Verify air sealing meets Energy Star specifications.

  2. Site Visit Two - The Insulation Inspection Before Drywall
    • Confirm Grade I insulation installation and check additional design-specified insulation levels.
    • Verify that HVAC equipment and duct installation match design.
    • Verify and measure whole house ventilation equipment.
    • Verify duct quality installation and complete duct testing using one of the following two options:  a.) Rough-in:  The greater of ≤ 4 CFM25 per 100 sq. ft. of conditioned floor area (CFA), with air handler & all ducts installed.  b.) Final:  ≤ 8 CFM25 per 100 sq. ft. of CFA with the air handler & all ducts installed

  3. Site Visit Three - The Final inspection when the home is Finished
  • Conduct a blower door or air tightness test on the dwelling.
  • Conduct pressure balance testing in all bedrooms (achieve pressure differential ≤ 3 pascals).
  • Complete the Single-Family New Construction (SFNC) or Multifamily New Construction (MFNC) Energy Star Checklists.
  • Ensure the builder has met Energy Star’s National Water Mgmt. System Builder Requirements and complete the required checklist. (Priority Energy can help with design compliance).

Priority Energy is proud to provide rating services to certify new homes and apartments for the ENERGY STAR® label. The ENERGY STAR label on a home or apartment means that it has been designed and built to standards well above other homes in the market today. It means better quality, better comfort, and better durability. It also means that the home is a better value for today, and a better investment for tomorrow. The ENERGY STAR label gives homeowners and building owners the peace of mind that their home has undergone a better process for inspections, testing, and verification to ensure that it meets strict requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Learn more about ENERGY STAR certified new homes and apartments at www.energystar.gov/newhomes.

 

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      Anonymous
    • I just wanted to send this message to all you and say GREAT JOB!  We had a rough inspection today and passed for the Woodward Ave. house. The inspector told us "if every house I inspected looked like this one I would be out a job".

      Anonymous Builder
    • We were so impressed with the amount of information the Priority Energy technicians gave us during our ENERGY AUDIT.  If you are buying a house, I would strongly recommend having them do an energy audit on it, in addition to your usual home inspection.

      P.I.
    • Thanks for a super intelligent and deep seminar expertly handled by a staff which was a pleasure to be around. Lunch was superbly and subtly handled.

      A.S. Architect
    • I wanted to thank you for all of your extra time and energy during our BPI training over the last few weeks. You really helped put things in perspective. You are an awesome crew and your facility is a valuable resource for students and the community

      BPI Student, L.E.
    • There is much less dust in the house and the monthly gas and electric charges have been reduced by 10 to 15%.....I'm sure I will see greater savings over a twelve month period......thanks again.

      Aeroseal Client, R.N.
    • Just completed my BPI Field exam for my Quality Control Inspector (QCI) certification renewal at Priority Energy.
      Such a convenient and well-set-up training and test center with caring and knowledgeable staff and proctors! Thanks folks!

       

      P.R., Ottawa, IL
    • It's been cold here for the past few days and I really feel the difference in heating since the building was Aerosealed! My apartment is so much warmer now. Thank you Priority Energy!

       

      Miruna; Tenant at Country Manor Apartments, Peru, IL
    • Anytime I can be a reference for all the great work on my (new) house, please let me know.  Priority Energy is outstanding at what they do!

      Executive at Medline Industries, IL
    • I have a two story home built in the mid seventies. Lots of temperature fluctuation between the floors. The Aeroseal process dramatically increased the air flow to the second floor. Good experience. The company was very informative, answered a lot of questions.

      Vince from Oakbrook, IL
    • "It's been cold here for the past few days and I really feel the difference in heating since the Aeroseal, my apartment is so much warmer now. Thank you!"  

      MP from Peru, IL
    • Thank You so much for the super-fast turn around of our Manual J, D and S reprt for the Village of Glen Ellyn. Our original Manual J kept getting kicked back to us for corrections but your calculations/report got approved instantly-no questions asked and no more permit delays!

      Kim, Glen Ellyn, IL
    • Thank you. Truly. I appreciate you taking the time to clarify things for me and then going above and beyond to ensure that my CEUs are handled for our current RESNET cycle. You’ve always been kind to me and this is another shining example of that.

      Craig, HERS Rater, Batavia, IL
    • (Aeroseal) is a GREAT Product! Really made our townhouse more comfortable!

      Gordon; Chicago, IL
    • We are having less ice on roof since the Aeroseal duct sealing! Thanks!

      Bill; Downers Grove, IL
    • Duct sealing (with Aeroseal) was the smartest thing I ever did! Our home is sooooo much more comfortable! We were so very pleased with Priority Energy and their technicians!

      Richard; Lake Forest, IL
    • On to the Radon issue - Excellent results with Aeroseal!  From 5 + to a .4.  Before sealing like we discussed, I had warm air coming out of the sump basket with the furnace running. Even with the furnace running, it is still pulling air in now.

      Bill; Belvidere, IL
    • Pat was awesome and super helpful! We are experiencing weak air flow in the duct system of our 1950''s home and Pat gave us great recommendations to fix the problem when we do our remodel.

      David; Arlington Heights, IL
    • Already the house seems more balanced (since Aeroseal duct sealing yesterday) .. far end of house is getting more warm air flow!

      Bryan, November 2019, Chicago, IL
    • Priority Energy did a great job with an Aeroseal project for my home. The rooms are more comfortable and even throughout the house, including the far registers which never used to get significant airflow. Very honest and trustworthy

      Bryan, December 2019, Chicago, IL
    • I hired Priority to seal the ducts and air seal my home.  I have been very pleased with

      the results.  The personnel from this company are professional and quite competent.  I have literally saved

      Nelson, Lake Forest
    • Priority Energy did a great job with an Aeroseal project for my home. The rooms are more comfortable and even throughout the house, including the far registers which never used to get significant airflow.

      B. L., Chicago, IL Feb. 2020
    • Used Priority Energy to help insulate (Aeroseal) a property we purchased and could not have been happier.
      R. M., Lake Bluff, IL April 2020
    • Very knowledgeable and professional (Aeroseal) staff. I definitely highly recommend and would use again in the future for other services!

      D.F., Chicago, IL Feb. 2020
    • Employees were all very helpful and professional! Came out in a timely manner (to do our Duct Test). Would highly recommend this company!

      J. R. New Lenox, IL April 2020
    • I had Priority Energy analyze my older home for indoor air quality and comfort because I was having difficulty maintaining temperatures. They came out and discussed our options. We ended up sealing our ducts and installing a whole-house dehumidifier.

      D. L, Lake Zurich, IL Feb. 2019
    • Priority Energy did an aeroseal for our home. We have had issues with air flow in our kitchen (cold in the winter) and one bedroom upstairs (hot in the summer). After they were complete, there is such a stronger air flow from the vents, that it really makes a difference.

      J.J. Chicago, IL - November 2020
    • Excellent Service and Company to work with - highly recommended and professional!

      T. B. Chicago, IL - July 2020
    • Before we sealed our ductwork the rooms farthest from the furnace were always hotter or colder than the rest of the house. We felt an improvement in air flow to the kids rooms right away. 98% duct leak reduction!

      S. H. Glenview, IL - October 2020
    • The Energy Audit you did on last home was so helpful; we referred to it for years when we made home improvements. I'd like to have you do an audit on my new home now. B. A.

      B. A. Lake Forest Homeowner
    • "We were impressed with how well your technicians answered our questions and how quickly and neatly they performed our Aeroseal service. Our rooms are much warmer now that the duct leaks have been sealed! You have a great team."

      D.F. Palatine, IL
    • "You have a great Aeroseal team. We were impressed with how well they answered our questions and how quickly and neatly they performed our service. Our rooms are much warmer now that the duct leaks have been sealed!"  

      D.F., Homeowner in Palatine, IL
    • "We enjoyed meeting Dave, our Energy Auditor.  He was interesting, knowledgeable, and professional.  We appreciated all his time and effort." 

      S.B., Homeowner in Prospect Heights, IL
    • Priority Energy is an A+ company! I've been having issues with my house staying warm in the winter so I called them up and they came out right away. Kurt was so helpful and professional! He explained everything that was going on in my house and gave me  peace of mind.

      M.I., Homeowner in Norridge, IL
    • "The employees that showed up were friendly and took care to make sure they kept the house clean while performing the aeroseal job. They explained the procedure thoroughly, I would recommend this company A+."

      T.B., Elgin, IL
    • Excellent service and quality! (excerpt)

      R.N., Inverness, IL
    • "I had Priority energy clean and then aeroseal my supply ducts; what a great experience! Great communication, great technicians, and great overall customer service!

      M.G., Downers Grove, IL
    • The Duct Leakage assessment we had yesterday was extremely informative! I'm glad we had you come to our home.

      D.K. Homeowner, Chicago, IL

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