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New Actions by RESNET in Meeting the COVID-19 Pandemic

Apr 13, 2020

Revised Procedures for Remote Inspections, Sampling of HERS® Ratings, Testing Alternatives, Rater Candidate Certification and Re-Certification and Entering 45L Federal Tax Credits Into the RESNET National Registry

From the Desk of RESNET Executive Director Steve Baden
April 1, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our day to day business and personal lives.

This communication is to inform the RESNET community on the latest emergency measures that RESNET has adopted to protect the health and safety of our network of Rating Providers, certified RESNET HERS Raters and Rating Field Inspectors (RFIs) while meeting the needs of our clients.

With the temporary emergency powers granted to me by the RESNET Board Executive Committee, I will be implementing the following changes to procedures identified as hindering the ability to meet the goal of protecting the health and safety of the industry during this public health crisis. The changes will address:

• Alternatives to HERS Ratings Field Inspections and Testing
• HERS Rater Candidate Certification and HERS Raters and Rating Field Inspectors (RFIs) Re-Certification

I. Alternatives to HERS Ratings Field Inspections and Testing

A growing number of state and local governments across the nation have issued proclamations severely limiting social and business interactions. Many governments have initiated stay at home provisions. To track these proclamations visit your state and local public health web sites.

RESNET urges that Rating Providers and HERS Rating Companies restrict to the extent possible their certified RESNET HERS Raters and RFIs going into the field to inspect and test homes.

For the viability of the HERS Industry during this national emergency, I have adopted the following temporary policies allowing the remote inspection and testing by HERS Raters and RFIs, Note that RESNET is coordinating closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the application of these alternatives in their program, and you can expect to see specific guidance from EPA related to ENERGY STAR shortly.

Allowing Remote Rating Inspections

Effective immediately, Rating Providers may, at their discretion, allow the use of remote inspections by HERS Raters/RFIs for HERS Ratings.

This interim policy is allowed for a period of 90 days beginning on March 31, 2020 but may be revisited by RESNET as necessary in light of developments with the COVID-19 pandemic.

When remote verification is used, HERS Raters shall ensure that documentation (e.g., photos or video screenshots) is collected according to RESNET’s Interim Remote Verification Protocol and shall provide a signed copy of RESNET’s Interim Remote Verification Disclosure Form to the builder or developer. This Form will be distributed soon to the RESNET Industry.

HERS Raters shall collect video and photo documentation for remote inspections as needed for file QA review. Rating Providers shall also track and include in their annual QA reporting, the counts and specific addresses where remote inspections and/or diagnostic testing alternatives were used.

Sampling of HERS Ratings

RESNET recognizes that some Rating Providers may wish to include the use of sampling protocols to reduce the number of site visits necessary.

Effective immediately, the application fee will be waived for a Rating Provider to become a Rating Sampling Provider during the COVID-19 emergency.

All other sampling requirements within MINHERS Standards will still apply. The Sampling Provider Accreditation Application itself is still required.

This interim policy is allowed for a period of 90 days beginning on March 31, 2020 but may be revisited by RESNET as necessary in light of developments with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sampling Provider accreditation under this policy is temporary.  Regular application process and fees would apply for Providers after the expiration of this temporary policy.

Diagnostic Testing Alternatives

In addition to the emergency provisions listed above, it is RESNET’s intent to allow an alternative path to field diagnostic testing. In order to implement this, an emergency interim standard amendment is being sought to the RESNET MINHERS standards.

The following is what will be proposed in the emergency standard amendment:

The following Testing Alternatives are allowed in lieu of rater-measured test values. This interim policy will be in effect for 120 days after the adoption of the interim amendment.

• Ventilation Airflow Rate Defaults

o Installer-measured and documented ventilation airflow rate -OR-

o HVI Rated equipment airflow rates

• Duct Leakage to Outside Defaults

o RESNET-defined Default Values based on statistical analysis by Climate Zone may be used -OR

o RESNET determined Default Value for the builder by TMY weather stations based on past (120 days) performance

• Infiltration Defaults

o RESNET-defined Default Values based on statistical analysis by Climate Zone may be used -OR-

o RESNET determined Default Valule for the builder by TMY weather stations based on past (120 days) performance

Raters shall supply supporting documentation for applicable diagnostic testing alternatives and this documentation is subject to file QA review.

The interim standard amendment will contain the default values for duct leakage to outside and infiltration testing.

Once the interim standard amendment is adopted, I will be issuing an official policy notice that will include effective dates.

RESNET will be hosting a webinar on April 15, 2020, on the above measures relating to the temporary remote inspections, sampling and diagnostic testing alternatives emergency policies. This webinar will feature RESNET Quality Assurance Staff presenting on how the new policies will be implemented and answering your questions. To register for the webinar go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5701372816206418444

II.  HERS Rater Candidate Certification and HERS Rater and RFI Recertification

RESNET is also adopting the following emergency policies:

HERS Rater Candidate Certification

Currently, the RESNET MINHERS requires:

206.2.2.4  A HERS Rater Candidate who does not complete, to the satisfaction of a Quality Assurance Provider, a minimum of three (3) of the five (5) required probationary ratings within fifteen (15) months of passing the National RESNET HERS series of tests as defined in 205.2.3.1, or otherwise does not achieve certification within the allowed fifteen-month timeframe, must at a minimum, complete the original requirements and do the following in order to maintain eligibility for certification:

206.2.2.4.1  Pass the RESNET National Rater Test again; and

206.2.2.4.2   Complete three (3) additional probationary ratings. One of the three (3) additional probationary ratings shall be accomplished using field verification of all rated features of the home in accordance with Section 303.8 and Chapter 8, with the exception that the work is not being performed by a currently Certified Rater and shall be completed in the presence of a RESNET certified Candidate Field Assessor. Probationary ratings shall not be considered Confirmed Ratings.

Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic and the declaration of a National Emergency, I have adopted the following temporary revised policy to extend the above 15-month time limit for HERS Rater Candidates.

This interim policy is allowed for a period of 90 days beginning on March 31, 2020 but may be revisited by RESNET as necessary in light of developments with the COVID-19 pandemic.

HERS Raters and Rating Field Inspectors Recertification

Currently, the RESNET MINHERS states:

207.1.1  Rating Field Inspectors

Pass the RESNET graded field evaluation overseen by a RESNET certified Candidate Field Assessor once in a three year period.

207.1.2  Certified Home Energy Raters

207.1.2.1  Attend a RESNET approved conference once every three years OR

207.1.2.2  Complete 18 hours of RESNET approved professional development from a RESNET Accredited Training Provider every three years

207.1.2.3  Certified Home Energy Raters who have not completed any Confirmed, Sampled, or Threshold ratings within the three-year certification period shall successfully complete one RESNET graded-field evaluation, in addition to satisfying either 207.1.2.1 or 207.1.2.2

Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the declaration of a National Emergency, I have adopted the following temporary revised policy to extend the above requirement for rater and RFI recertification:

Effective immediately, the recertification time limit for HERS Raters and Rating Field Inspectors shall be extended for a period of 90 days. 

 

III.  Entering 45L Federal Tax Credits Into the RESNET National Registry

Currently, the RESNET MINHERS states:

102.1.4.9  Rating and Tax Credit Verification record-keeping. QA Providers and/or their certified Raters shall maintain the Quality Assurance Date File for each rating and tax credit verification for the time frame specified in Section 904.9.8.3.

904.9.8  Maintenance of QA Records for all ratings and tax credit verifications shall include:

904.9.8.1  The Quality Assurance Data File for each home that receives QA review at a minimum containing the information required by Section 903.4.1.3.

904.9.8.2  A database of results of all QA reviews for each Rater, including, at a minimum, for each home reviewed.

904.9.8.2.1  Rater name;

904.9.8.2.2  Home address or Registry ID;

904.9.8.2.3  Date rated;

904.9.8.2.4  Date QA reviewed;

904.9.8.2.5  Name of QA Designee or Delegate;

904.9.8.2.6  Whether the review was a file or field review as defined by these Standards;

904.9.8.2.7  The result, including HERS Index variance for field QA, and any action taken by the QA Designee.

904.9.8.3  The QA Record for each home shall be maintained for a minimum of three (3) years.

904.9.8.4  Upon RESNET’s request, a QA Provider shall submit to RESNET the QA Records for the specified time period, and the number of homes for which ratings and tax credit verifications were provided for the specified time period. The ratings and tax credit verifications shall be identified by type (to include projected and confirmed ratings for new and existing homes and the number of homes verified for tax credits).To the extent RESNET makes this information public; it will do so only in an aggregated form.

To reduce administrative and quality assurance burdens during the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the declaration of a National Emergency, I have adopted the following temporary revised policy

Effective immediately, the requirements for 45L Federal Tax Credits for non-HERS rated homes will be waived through December 31, 2020.

This interim policy is allowed for a period of 90 days beginning on March 31, 2020 but may be revisited by RESNET as necessary in light of developments with the COVID-19 pandemic.

To keep the HERS community up-to-date on developments addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, RESNET has posted a new webpage, RESNET COVID-19 Updates. The webpage contains RESNET COVID-19 Announcements, Resources for the Rating Industry on the COVID-19 Pandemic and General Resources on the COVID-19 Pandemic. The page is frequently updated, therefore RESNET professionals are urged to check it daily.

We are all in this pandemic crisis and by working together we will recover and be more united and stronger than ever.