Fixing California's Existing Homes

November/December 2008
A version of this article appears in the November/December 2008 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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November 06, 2008
In 1999, California adopted the first phase of its HERS program. Unlike HERS programs in the rest of the country, which generally focus on whole-house analysis, the California program focuses on field verification and testing of specific features identified in the state’s Title 24 energy code. It is currently limited to new construction, building alterations and additions, and HVAC change-outs. All that is about to change with California HERS Phase II, which is currently undergoing public review by the California Energy Commission (CEC). Old Homes, Bad Homes The CEC is coming to grips with the fact that there are more than 12 million homes in California, over 70% of them built before 1978, the year Title 24 was enacted. The bulk of these older homes have serious deficiencies, things that home performance contractors have known about for a long time—low insulation levels, leaking ducts, single-pane windows, and leaky building envelopes, to name a few. The state is developing a methodology, called HERS Phase II, for evaluating these homes. This methodology will be used to perform a whole-house analysis and assign a California HERS index to the house. This index can be used as the basis for financing an energy-efficient mortgage (EEM), comparing ...

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