October 21, 2020

BetterBuilt NW October 2020 Newsletter


Ductless Heat Pumps: Built for Cold Climates

Proper installation of ductless heat pumps in cold climates is essential. BetterBuiltNW offers resources for installing ductless heat pumps correctly with best practices and additional resources.

Reference the Installer Guide: Ductless Heat Pumps for Cold Climates for installing ductless heating and cooling systems in cold climates to ensure maximum performance and homeowner satisfaction. Research shows that, when properly installed, ductless heat pumps work well for heating homes and saving energy. The Installer Guide provides insight on the best location for ductless heat pumps, tips for installing ductless heat pumps, and more. Top installation considerations for high performance ductless heat pumps include:

  • Avoid any kinks or partial kinks in the lineset
  • Ensure outdoor units stay level
  • Ensure insulation covers the entire lineset including flare fittings
  • Air-seal and insulate the wall penetrations

Learn more about installing ductless heat pumps for cold climates.

Improve Water-Heating Efficiency with Heat Pump Water Heaters

Water heating accounts for roughly 18% of home energy use. Installing heat pump water heaters in above code homes is a best practice to improve water-heating energy efficiency and reduce monthly energy usage. The Heat Pump Water Heater Technical Guide provides considerations regarding installing standard-tank water heaters, such as: condensate management, selecting the best location to enhance performance, and more. Key benefits and features of heat pump water heaters include:

  • Reduce energy consumption and operating costs by up to 60% compared to standard electric water heaters
  • Minimum 10-year manufacturer warranty on tanks and parts
  • Achieve more hot water delivery capacity than standard electric resistance tanks
  • The Builders and Buyers of HERS® Rated Homes

Oregon builders can reference Hot Water Solutions for information on the Oregon Residential Water Heater Installer license.

Learn more about best practices for installing heat pump water heaters.

Programs in the News

Every month BetterBuiltNW highlights different programs in the news to keep builders and Raters/Verifiers informed about key updates, program changes, and features. This month’s Programs in the News features updates from:

The Builders and Buyers of HERS® Rated Homes

Builder published its yearly report of the top 200 builders of 2019. RESNET and a Freddie Mac study analyzed which builders are constructing HERS-rated homes and how the homes perform in comparison to unrated homes. The Freddie Mac study found that HERS rated homes are sold for, on average, 2.7% more than comparable unrated homes. Additionally, homes with lower HERS Index Scores are sold for 3-5% more than homes with higher HERS Index Scores.

  • Of the 376,000+ homes reviewed, 39% received a RESNET HERS Index Score
  • 145 of the 200 builders chose to have their homes HERS Rated (compared to 140 in 2018)
  • 85 of the top 100 builders chose to have their homes HERS Rated (compared to 80 in 2018)

Read the full Builder report and Freddie Mac study to see how new construction homes are performing.

COVID-19 Resources


PHIUS Hootenannies and Design Awards

Virtual Event – October 26-30

Passive House Institute US, in partnership with New York State Energy Research & Development, will host the Hootenannies and Design Awards with three sessions that gather leading professionals for an open discussion centered on themes like builders, educators, architects, policymakers/developers and more.

Register for the 2020 PHIUS Hootenannies.

EPA Virtual 2020 ENERGY STAR Products Partner Meeting

Virtual Meeting – October 27-29

Join EPA at the Virtual 2020 ENERGY STAR Products Partner meeting for three days of exciting content, working meetings and facilitated and unstructured partner networking. Learn about ENERGY STAR basics, technology and grid, appliances, lighting, smart home and more.

Register today for the EPA Virtual 2020 ENERGY STAR Products Partner meeting.

Duct Leakage Testing Webinar with Paul Morin

Webinar – November 5 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join Paul Morin of The Energy Conservatory for a one-hour webinar on duct leakage testing. This session will cover total duct leakage and duct leakage to outside, pressurization and depressurization testing, proper ways of setting up the house and equipment for accurate, repeatable results, easy efficient ways to generate a report, code compliance testing, calibration and recommended field calibration checks of equipment and methods of finding duct leaks.

Register for the Duct Leakage Testing webinar.

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