Long Island, New York Community Requires HERS Index of 70 as Minimum Code for New Homes – Model for the Rest of Nation

July 21st, 2011 - Posted by RESNET under RESNET Notes, RESNET Notes - July 2011

The market attraction of builders using the RESNET HERS Index to easily explain to homebuyers the energy performance is growing dramatically.  On another angle, local governments are beginning to base their energy codes on a HERS Index target.

The latest community to do this is Brookhaven, New York.  The town has shifted from having their code based on ENERGY STAR to the RESNET HERS Index.

The town’s new energy code requires that any new single-family dwelling, multiple-family dwelling, Planned Retirement Community (PRC) or Planned Retirement Congregate Housing Community (PRCHC) in buildings containing four units or less, not more than three stories in height must be built to achieve a HERS Index of 70 or less as verified by the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) promulgated by the Residential Energy Service Network (RESNET).

Prior to the issuance of a building permit for any new home, a builder must  certify compliance with town’s energy conservation requirements by submitting a NYS HERS compliance certificate from an independent certified HERS Rater indicating that the building was designed to meet the required HERS index of 70.

Prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the builder is required to demonstrate compliance to the code by submitting a final HERS rating performed by a RESNET certified HERS rater. The HERS rater shall attest that the subject dwelling complies with the following requirements:

1)   Achieves a rating of 70 or lower on the HERS Index.

2)   Meets the ventilation requirements of subsection C(1) of this section.

3)   Passes combustion safety testing.

4)   Ducts within the subject dwelling have been subjected to an HVAC Duct Leakage test and achieved the standards required by the code.

5)   An ACCA Manual J has been performed for the subject dwelling as defined by the Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State.

6)   All HVAC ducts not completely inside the subject dwelling’s thermal envelope are insulated as required by the State of New York.

7)   A permanent certificate, which includes the Building’s HERS index, in a format approved by the city has been affixed on or in the electrical distribution panel.

Brookhaven is located in Suffolk County, New York and has a population of 448,248.

The community’s energy code can serve as a model for other communities interested in sustainable development.  Raters should take the time and meet with their city council members and codes department and introduce them to the Brookhaven model.  For a listing of the new regulation, e-mail Steve Baden at sbaden@resnet.us

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  • David Maschke

    Brookhaven is only one of more than a dozen jurisdictions in NY that require a HERS index for energy code compliance. Most of the codes’ wording is very similar to that of Brookhaven, however a few have a tiered system where larger homes require a lower index.

  • Rick Wertheim

    This is a great example of a municipality connecting the dots between energy compliance and a benchmarking tool that is bulletproof (HERS index) and future proof.

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