April 20, 2020

BetterBuilt NW April 2020 Newsletter


Washington Code Change Updates and Resources

The Washington State Energy Code (WSEC 2018), a version of the 2018 IECC with Washington state amendments, was set to go live, applying to homes permitted after July 1, 2020. As of April 2, the Governor’s Office ordered the implementation be delayed until November 1, 2020.

In an effort to support the launch of the code, the Washington State University Energy Extension Program (WSUEEP) is working to provide training, support, and resources for builders, developers, trades, consultants, and programs. As WSUEEP is in the process of developing and delivering trainings for code officials and the construction industry, they are also developing resources that builders can use to ensure they meet the new code.

BetterBuiltNW continues to develop support mechanisms to help builders achieve the upcoming code, primarily through participation in above code programs, and through the investigation of advanced energy efficiency measures. These efforts use utility incentives, federal tax credits, green building certifications, and local government permitting incentives to motivate builders to experiment with advanced measures before they are required. The Governor’s decision to delay the code implementation has brought about challenges for those producing and delivering the resources to meet high pressure timelines, as well as for builders, developers, and trades that must determine how they will meet the new code.

To get updates about changes to the implementation timeline and information about training and support resources for meeting the new energy code, stay tuned into BetterBuiltNW, your local home builders association, the Building Industry Association of Washington, and other stakeholders such as WSUEEP.

Programs in the News

Every month BetterBuiltNW will highlight different programs in the news to keep builders and Raters/Verifiers informed about key updates, program changes, and highlights. This month’s Programs in the News features an update from RESNET about temporary protocols for remote field inspections, an update from ENERGY STAR on temporary remote visual verifications and a National Green Building Standard remote verification update.

Temporary RESNET Protocols for Remote Field Inspections During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to COVID-19, RESNET has updated its protocols to temporarily allow for remote field inspections. This allows for remote inspection by HERS Raters and rating field inspectors. There are numerous on-site equipment requirements for remote field inspections that include, but are not limited to: proper lighting, computer hardware device capable of video streaming or recording, ladder, tape measure, and more.

Remote field inspections are only acceptable in place of visual inspections. Testing for infiltration, duct leakage, ventilation air flow rates, and other non-visual inspections are not included in this policy. The interim policy is in place for 90 days beginning March 31, 2020 and may be reevaluated by RESNET as the COVID-19 pandemic develops.

ENERGY STAR Temporary Remote Visual Verification

The EPA, in coordination with policy from RESNET, is temporarily allowing for visual verification of ENERGY STAR checklist items. The visual verification of minimum-rated features can be performed remotely but does not extend to on-site diagnostic testing. Visual verifications are optional and Raters with questions should contact their Rater’s accredited provider to learn if they qualify for remote inspection.

  • Raters using remote verification must follow specific protocols, including:
  • Ensure documentation is collected according to RESNET’s remote verification policy

Provide a signed copy of RESNET’s Interim Remote Verification Disclosure Form to the builder/developer

Visual verification for ENERGY STAR single-family, multifamily new construction, multifamily high rise and indoor airPLUS programs is permitted through June 30, 2020.

National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Program Temporary Remote Verification

In line with other certification programs, the NGBS program is allowing Raters and Rating Field Inspectors to conduct inspections remotely. Video documentation is required for remote inspection verification.

NGBS requires those looking to perform remote verifications to list the name and title of the on-site videographer on the NGBS signature pages.

Visit the RESNET website, ENERGY STAR website, and the NGBS website for specific details on how Raters can qualify for visual verifications.

COVID-19 Resources


BuildRight 2020: Expanding Sustainable Designs

April 22-23, 2020 – Portland, OR | POSTPONED

Click here to stay up to date for details on the fall conference.

Virtual National Home Performance Conference

April 27-30, 2020 – online | VIRTUAL

Click here to learn more about the conference.

How to Cost Effectively Build Zero Energy Homes

Click here to learn more about the trainings.

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