Get a Jump on Air Source Heat Pumps!

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing & High Performance Building EcoFellow

In New England, heating our homes can become a lifestyle, whether it be chopping wood to stoke the fire, or incessantly monitoring the thermostat – we care about how much energy we use and know we’ve done well when we can see the change on our utility bills. That’s why Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) could be a great option for you! ASHPs are not necessarily new, they’ve been certified with EnergyStar since 1995, but as technological advancements continue to improve their efficiency, they have become the cutting edge of heating AND cooling. That’s right – they can do both!

Can you find the ASHP in this modern home? They are discrete enough to hide in plain sight! Home by Jeremy Levine Design

What are Air Source Heat Pumps?

Air Source Heat Pumps are highly efficient heating and cooling devices that run on electricity. They work by taking heat from the outside air and moving it into the home in times of cold weather, but with a flip of a switch they can remove heat from your home and channel it outside. This is different than most heating systems, which have to generate heat before it’s able to be used, as ASHPs only move heat.

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High Performance Building: Project Highlight

By Aliza Heeren, Marketing and High Performance Building Fellow

Photo courtesy of Valley CDC http://valleycdc.com/affordable-housing-development/

CET’s High Performance Building team works with many different builders, contractors and nonprofits to help each make their new construction projects more energy efficient through HERS ratings, plan review, diagnostic testing, and more. Recently CET’s building scientist, Mark Newey, has been working with Valley CDC on the redevelopment of the former Northampton lumber yard into a four-story, 55-unit affordable housing property.

The Valley CDC is a nonprofit organization that works to empower low and moderate income communities to improve the quality of their lives through the development of affordable housing, providing economic opportunities, and encouraging community leadership.

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Leyden Woods High Performance Building Case Study

By Aliza Heeren, Marketing and High Performance Building Fellow

Our High Performance Building team recently worked with The Community Builders (TCB) on the remodeling of their Leyden Woods Affordable Housing Development. For this project, CET provided 200 Home Energy Ratings and assisted throughout the construction process to ensure energy efficiency on all levels. We also provided guidance and certification services to help the project achieve ENERGY STAR for Homes Certification. Finally, CET helped TCB meet the guidelines to receive Mass Save Residential New Construction incentives that reflect the energy savings achieved in design and construction.

To learn more about this project and CET’s involvement throughout, watch our video case study:

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CET’s Expanding Commercial Efficiency Services

By Aliza Heeren, Marketing and High Performance Building Fellow

The Center for EcoTechnology has been providing practical solutions for 40 years that save energy, materials and money and have a positive impact on our environment and community. CET has provided technical assistance, energy modeling, inspection services, energy code compliance testing, and green building certifications to over 2,000 projects throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Hampshire. In 2004, CET participated in the first LEED for Homes pilot, and since then has completed dozens of LEED for Homes, LEED Multifamily Low-Rise, and LEED Multifamily Mid-Rise projects. Since 2005 CET has worked with dozens of homebuilders participating in the ENERGY STAR Homes program and has certified over 1,400 ENERGY STAR Homes. Our team also conducts Energy Star certification for modular building plants in accordance with the SBRA requirements. CET’s technicians have completed thousands of diagnostic tests for envelope and duct tightness and advised hundreds of builders on leakage reduction techniques. Finally, to educate the construction industry about changes to the Massachusetts energy codes and the Stretch Energy Code, CET has provided approximately 75 energy code trainings across Massachusetts both independently and through the Massachusetts Department of Energy Services.

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Meeting the Stretch Energy Code

By Aliza Heeren, Marketing and High Performance Building Fellow

This January, the Massachusetts stretch energy code updated their energy efficiency standards from the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) to the 2015 IECC, and the Center for EcoTechnology’s high performance building team is here to help you navigate the updates. These changes will require builders working in any of the 180 stretch code towns in Massachusetts to meet much stricter energy standards; such as reducing the envelope leakage down to 3.0 air changes per hour, and building an energy efficient home with a Home Energy (HERS) index that is 55 or less. To learn more about the specific changes in the new code, you can visit our blog or attend one of our energy code trainings. Once you have a grasp on the changes made, it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to meet the changes in your upcoming projects.

We spoke with one of our home energy raters, John Saveson, to learn more about his experience so far helping builders meet the new code. John commented, “recently I’ve had a couple of houses that are subject to the updated stretch code, and in both cases they are going to have to make some energy efficiency upgrades compared to what they thought they were going to be doing.” Building homes to comply with the new stretch energy code is going to be a stretch for any builder who is not already focusing on high efficiency. In the past two years alone, CET’s high performance building team has worked with about 65 homes that would not meet the new stretch code because their HERS index was above 55, and about 45 homes that would not meet it because they were over three air changes per hour.

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