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Energy Star

Most people today want their home to be "Green"

Most people today want their home to be "Green" but unfortunately there is no recognized definition of what a green home is. There are many different certifications organizations and processes for Green Homes. Many people are familiar with LEED Certifications (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or the NAHB Green Building Program. Both of these programs define “Green Building” differently and require different design, specification and certification processes. However, qualification in either program begins by meeting the NJ Energy Star certification.

Many people ask us how does a QMA NJ Energy Star home differ from a typical home built today that already meets all of the current and newly upgraded energy and building codes:

  • Independent Design Analysis: A NJ Energy Star Engineer reviews our designs and specifications prior to construction beginning to verify that it meets all of the Energy Star requirements. They will prepare a computer simulation model to determine approximately how much energy it will use and will issue a projected HERS rating.
  • Home Energy Rating System (HERS): Most Green homes are first rated using the HERS index. A standard home built to the current building and energy codes will have a HERS index of about 100. A typical existing home may have a HERS index of 150. Each 1 point decrease in the HERS index corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption. Recent QMA Energy Star homes were certified with HERS indexes in the 50s and 60s. This means that they are anticipated to use between 30% and 50% less energy than a “standard house”.
  • High Performance Framing: Changes are made to the way your house is framed to ensure that the building envelope can be properly sealed and that insulation can be placed in a manner that will be most effective.
  • Upgraded Insulation: A NJ energy star home not only has more insulation in the walls, crawl spaces and attic, but the insulation must be installed in a very strict particular manner so that it can achieve its best results.
  • Upgraded rain barrier and flashing systems. Every QMA Energy Star home is wrapped with Tyvek house wrap, an amazing product that creates a windproof and waterproof barrier from the outside but still permits moisture from the inside to permeate and dissipate. The house wrap has all seams taped together and is taped to all window and door flanges ensuring a tight and windproof barrier.
  • Upgraded HVAC Equipment: People most associate Energy Star criteria with more efficient furnaces and air conditioning systems. This is certainly true and we currently use super high efficient furnaces with a 95% efficiency rating and air conditioning condenser systems with a 15 SEER.
  • Better HVAC design & Installation: All NJ Energy Star HVAC systems are sized correctly for your actual home and its orientation. All supply and return air ductwork is sealed with mastic (not duct tape). Mastic provides a long lasting air tight seal to ensure that the energy used to condition the air stays in your house and is not lost to the outside. Where possible we will design your HVAC system so that all of the ductwork resides within the thermal envelope of your house (not in the unheated crawl or attic spaces).
  • Upgraded Water Heaters: Your water heater is one of the largest consumers of energy in your house. That is why we use either a super high efficient condensing Energy Star water heater or an “On-Demand” water heater that only heats the water when you turn a faucet on.
  • Fresh Air Ventilation: Because energy star homes are built much tighter than a normal home, each one includes a special exhaust fan that will operate automatically to ensure that fresh air is drawn into the home as needed 24/7.
  • Appliances: Appliances are another major consumer of energy in your home, especially the refrigerator. All Energy Star homes must use Energy Star rated appliances to maximize your savings.
  • Light Fixtures: We will install all new color balanced compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs throughout your home. In many cases the new generation of these energy efficient bulbs produces more light of a better quality while consuming ¼ of the energy of a standard “Edison” bulb.
  • Testing and Certification: Not only is your new Energy Star home reviewed and analyzed during the design phase, but is then followed up with two very detailed field inspections by an independent engineering company to ensure the quality and energy efficiency of your new home.
  • The first inspection occurs after the insulation has been installed. During this inspection the framing, ductwork and insulation are all inspected to ensure that they are installed correctly and in accordance with the design specifications.
  • Upon completion of the home a second inspection is performed. During this inspection, your completed home will be reviewed to ensure that all of the energy star products have been installed and to perform two blower door tests. The first test is performed to determine how tight the mastic sealed duct work is. The second text is to determine how tight the entire building envelope is.
  • All of the data from the second inspection is then added to the initial design calculations and a final HERS rating is calculated.
  • Comfort and Convenience: Because energy star homes are built with a tighter building envelope and utilize a better HVAC system; they are more thermally stable, have fewer drafts and in general are more comfortable to live in. Also because they are built tighter, dust, mold, pollen etc from the outside is less likely to get inside your home.
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