Each January and July, RESNET HERS require major changes.
By Rick Dixon
Several major changes that had been planned to take effect in 2021 will now go into effect January 1, 2022. These are the implementation of the 2019 editions of Standards ANSI/RESNET/ICC 301 and ANSI/RESNET/ICC 380 and implementation of the new HVAC grading Standard ANSI/RESNET/ACCA/ICC 310. Software accredited for compliance with Standard 301-2019 must be used for rating units with a building permit date of January 1, 2022, or later.
The changes to HERS ratings are the result of several RESNET initiatives. The most visible are changes resulting from updates to Standard ANSI/RESNET/ICC 301.
Other important changes affecting the HERS industry; training, certification and quality assurance criteria supporting expansions of the RESNET Home Energy Rating System by Standard 301-2019, Standard 380-2019 and Standard 310-2020. They include new training and qualification requirements for HERS Raters and Rating Field Inspector (RFIs) who conduct HVAC grading, and training requirements for the new certified HERS Modelers, Raters and RFIs.
The new year brings change to the WaterSense Labeled Homes program. Effective January 1, 2022, all homes seeking the WaterSense Label through RESNET will be required to certify under version 2.0 of the program. This means homes will have to be rated using HERS H2O and achieve a score of 70 or less; along with meeting a few simple WaterSense requirements.
What these standards changes mean for Raters and RFIs:
RESNET has pursued improving consistency of HERS ratings through a number of initiatives; including improving Rater and RFI competency and accountability and actions that improve the consistency of ratings calculated by RESNET accredited rating software.
In addition, the adoption and implementation of Standard ANSI/RESNET/ICC 301-2019 is the transition point that many rating quality and consistency improvement changes take effect.
Rating consistency is directly impacted by the Rater and RFI knowledge; collecting data and understanding how it works. One of the initiatives the RESNET Board of Directors pursued was creation of the HERS Modeler certification.
The new certification establishes criteria for demonstration of competency in the use of software Raters and RFIs use. This calculates ratings and ensures continued training in software use is part of their professional development requirements. Another development is training requirements for those Raters who offer the service of HVAC system installation quality assessment. Credits for quality installations of HVAC systems is a new component of the HERS system established by Standard 301-2019 and Standard 310-2020.
The other major initiative for improving rating consistency is improving how accredited software calculates ratings. Two major parts of the initiative have been in the works for several years and their impact will be apparent with implementation of Standard 301-2019. The first part of the initiative is the requirement that all accredited software will perform hourly simulations of home energy use.
Previously, software could perform hourly simulations of energy use or use seasonal simulations. The second part was RESNET’s creation and staffing of the Software Consistency Committee which has developed consensus criteria for how simulations for certain systems will be performed and for the tests required for software accreditation.
Implementation of the committee’s first major tranche of criteria for the RESNET HERS was adopted via MINHERS Addendum 53f noted above and via several changes to RESNET Publication 002, Procedures for Verification of RESNET Accredited HERS Software Tools.
Other changes to Standard 301 in the 2019 edition will also impact Rater and RFI practices. The addition of credits for quality installations of HVAC systems is optional but it’s an opportunity for Raters to expand their services.
Major changes include: Expansion of Standard 301’s Scope and criteria to include ratings for multi-family Dwelling Units in buildings over 3 stories, Modification and incorporation of insulation installation grading protocols directly within Standard 301, Appendix A; and, Modification and incorporation of Minimum Rated Feature inspection directly within Standard 301, Appendix B. These three changes are now in Standard 301 but have been a part of the RESNET HERS since 2019 or earlier.
Standard 301-2019 requirements for multifamily will preempt the Guidelines as of January 1, 2022, with the exception of the Guidelines’ criteria for inspections and tests performed for Sampled Ratings. The Guidelines’ criteria for those inspections and tests can be used until the update to MINHERS Chapter 6 (currently underway) is completed.
The MINHERS posted online will have addenda that take effect January 1, 2022 incorporated within it. The new requirements and a summary of the changes of each standard and addendum can be accessed here.
Rick Dixon is the RESNET ANSI Standards Manager.