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State of Massachusetts Adopts Energy Rating Index Compliance Option to State Energy Code

Oct 25, 2016

The State of Massachusetts has joined the ranks of states and municipal code jurisdictions that have incorporated the Energy Rating Index as a compliance option to their residential energy building codes.

Section 407.6.1.3 of the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency portion of the state’s building code addresses the Energy Rating Index option:

C407.6.1.3 Energy rating index. The Energy Rating Index (ERI) shall be a numerical integer value that is based on a linear scale constructed such that the ERI reference design has an Index value of 100 and a residential building that uses no net purchased energy has an Index value of zero (0). Each integer value on the scale shall represent a one (1) percent change in the total energy use of the rated design relative to the total energy use of the ERI reference design. The ERI shall consider all energy used in the residential building. The RESNET Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index is the approved ERI approach in Massachusetts.

C407.6.1.4 ERI-based compliance. Compliance based on an ERI analysis requires that the rated design be shown to have an ERI less than, or equal to, the appropriate value listed in Table C407.6.1.4, when compared to the ERI reference design prior to issuance of any credit for onsite renewable electric generation.

C407.6.1.4.1 Trade-off for onsite renewable energy systems. New construction following C407.6.1.3, and existing buildings and additions following C501.4 may use any combination of the following renewable trade-offs to increase the maximum allowable HERS rating for each unit separately served by any combination of the following:

1. Solar photovoltaic array, rated at 2.5kW or higher, shall offset 5 HERS points;

2. Clean Biomass Heating System, solar thermal array, or geothermal heat pump, or a combination of these systems, operating as the primary heating system shall offset 5 HERS points; and

3. Solar thermal array for primary domestic hot water heating or Clean Biomass Stove shall offset 2 HERS points. Note: a Clean Biomass Stove

offset may not be combined with a primary heating system offset.

The State of Massachusetts also adopted a RESNET Home Energy Rating System (HERS) as an Approved Alternative Energy Performance Method.  The section reads:

For residential units within a building up to 5 stories above grade plane, and with independent unit-level heating and cooling systems, a HERS rater verified index of 55 or less for the finished units together with a completed and HERS rater verified ENERGY STAR Thermal Enclosure Checklist

To view the new Massachusetts provisions go to Massachusetts ERI

In Massachusetts in 2015 there were 5,693 homes HERS rated and issued a HERS Index Score.  The average HERS Index Score of homes rated in the state was 56.

There are now a total of twelve states that have adopted the Energy Rating Index option as a compliance option to their state energy code.  The states that have incorporated the Energy Rating Index into their energy code are:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont

RESNET and the International Code Council (ICC) conducted a webinar on the Energy Rating Index Option to the 2015 IECC and the opportunities for certified RESNET HERS Raters to be ICC certified Energy Code Inspectors.  To download the webinar go to ICC/RESNET Energy Rating Index Webinar for Code Officials

RESNET and the ICC have produced a video production explaining how HERS can be used to demonstrated compliance to an energy code.  To view the video go to HERS Index and Energy Codes