Your Energy Efficient Home Checklist

Claudette Reichel  |  7/2/2008 7:47:22 PM




__ Certified ENERGY STAR Home

Design for the Climate

Landscaping for energy savings:

__ Deciduous trees shade W, SW, E and SE sides of house

__ Large shrubs or trellis with vines on W side

__ Ground cover, mulch near house to reduce reflected heat

__ Little unshaded pavement near house, none under windows

__ Evergreen shrubs and trees grouped as windbreak on N side

Overall house design:

__ Compact building layout to minimize total surface area

__ Open planning, min. corridor area (space-efficient design)

__ Kitchen, laundry rooms are not on W side

__ Living areas, kitchen have N or S windows

__ Porches, patios, etc. on N & S sides (unconditioned living space)

House design elements to minimize solar heat gain:

__ More wall area faces within 20° of due S and N

__ W facing glass <2% of floor area

__ E facing glass < 3% of floor area

__ 2-ft. or larger overhangs

__ All W, E and S glass shaded

__ Garage/carport on W or E side of house (blocking sun)

__ No skylights (except light tubes)

__ Reflective roofing (min. 0.25 solar reflectance)

__ Light color brick or siding

Design elements for passive solar winter benefits:

__ S overhangs sized or louvered for summer shade and winter sun

__ Thermal mass flooring along S glass

__ S facing sunroom with mass floor, walls

House design elements for mild seasons:

__ Operable windows placed for cross ventilation

__ Porch open on three sides or in breezeway


__ ENERGY STAR or NFRC labeled windows, whole units rated at:

__ < 0.40 SHGC (solar heat gain coefficient)

__ < 0.30 AL; prefer 0.20 (air leakage)

__ < 0.65 U-factor in climate zone 2.; 0.40 in climate zone 3 (heat   

__ > 0.50 VT (visible light transmittance)

__ Or, spectrally selective, southern climate low-e, insulated units

__ All W and E glass has 0.40 SHGC or shade screens

__ If passive solar, S facing glass is high solar gain low-e

__ For daylighting, 0.80 VT on N, and S if shaded

Tight Construction (Air Sealing)

Continuous air barrier surrounding conditioned space via:

__ Exterior air barrier.

__ Airtight Drywall Approach interior air barrier

__ Sealed, airtight floor system

__ All hidden bypasses sealed from attic and crawl space air

__ Bottom plate of exterior walls sealed to foundation

__ Band joists between floors sealed

__ All penetrations in building envelope sealed

__ Airtight electrical boxes (or sealed by hand)

__ Low infiltration windows and doors

__ Fireplace: sealed from attic, outside air duct, tight damper, glass

__ Weatherstripped, insulated attic access (or in unconditioned area)

__ No recessed lights, or only ICAT used

__ Tight dampers, sealed housings on exhaust and inlet vents (exhaust
     not vented into attic)

Insulation Systems with Good “Whole Wall” R-Values

__ Continuous insulation surrounding all conditioned space (except
     slab floor)

Recommended Insulation Material R-values:

__ Attic: R 30-38 in climate zone 2; 38-49 in zone 3

__ Cathedral ceiling: R 30-38 in zone 2. R 38 in zone 3.

__ Wood frame walls: R 13-19 in zone 2.; R 18-19 in zone 3

__ Concrete or masonry walls: R 13

__ Band joist: R 13-19

__ Floor over unconditioned space: R 13-19 in zone 2; R-19-25 in zone

__ Steel frame: R 19-32 walls; R-49 attic, R-19-25 raised floor (must
     include exterior insulating sheathing)

Elements of Insulation System:

__ Insulation installed without gaps, voids and compressions

__ Radiant barrier under roof decking (if a/c ducts HVAC in attic and
    non-reflective roofing)

__ Building/insulation system with continuous coverage (thermal

__ Insulation type with extra advantages (see Ref. Guide)

__ Insulated window and door headers

__ Insulated corners and T-wall intersections

__ Insulated attic access door (R 19)

__ All insulated doors (R 5-15)

__ All glass low-e insulated; nonconductive framing

HVAC - Efficient Cooling and Heating

ENERGY STAR labeled cooling and heating equipment:

__ Air conditioner: > SEER 14 system

__ Gas furnace: > AFUE 0.90 (0.80 may suffice in climate zone 2)

__ Heat Pump (air source): > SEER 14, > HSPF 8.2

__ Geothermal heat pump (closed loop): EER 14.1, COP 3.3

__ Equipment is performance tested

Alternatives with special advantages

__ Geothermal heat pump with water heating

__ Variable speed air conditioner or heat pump

__ Integrated gas space and water heating system

__ Manual J sizing (not oversized )

__ Sensible Heat Ratio < 0.70 SHR (min. 30% dehumidification)

__ Zoned heating/cooling (zone control system or multiple units)

__ Programmable thermostats

__ Outdoor thermostat on heat pump

__ Heat pump has gas back-up heat

__ Compressor on N or E side of house

Minimized duct losses:

__ Ducts and air handler (AH) within conditioned space (inside
     insulation “envelope”:

    __ In sealed soffit or dropped ceiling, AH in closet

    __ Or, in cathedralized (semi-conditioned) attic

    __ Or, in insulated, sealed enclosure above ceiling

__ Supply ducts, AH and all connections correctly sealed with code
     approved mastic

__ Duct insulation (R 8 if not in conditioned space)

__ Sealed return plenum or duct

__ Manual D duct and return design

__ Airflow measured and balanced with air flow hood

__ Central supply trunk (not octopus layout)

__ Duct runs and registers not extended to exterior walls

__ Air returns, transfer grilles or transoms for all BR’s

__ Tested duct leakage < 5%

Other Efficient HVAC equipment (see Healthy/IAQ for Ventilation):

__ ENERGY STAR dehumidifier (if needed)

__ ENERGY STAR ceiling fans in often-used areas

__ ENERGY STAR quiet, outside exhaust fans (< 1.5 sones)

Appliances with Low Life-Cycle Cost

__ ENERGY STAR refrigerator, clothes washer, dishwasher

__ ENERGY STAR electronics

__ Efficient dryer, oven, etc. (compare EnergyGuide labels)

__ If well or pool is present, efficient pump

Efficient water-heating system options:

__ Integrated with geothermal heat pump

__ Heat recovery unit on air conditioner compressor

__ Solar water heater, certified

__ Heat pump water heater

__ Tankless gas water heater

__ >0.62 EF gas water heater

__ >0.92 EF electric water heater

__ Insulated hot water pipes and tank

__ Central location of water heater

Lighting with Fewer Watts, Less Heat

__ High color, low wattage lighting throughout house

__ Fluorescent tubes, electronic ballast in attractive built-ins

__ EnergyStar fixtures

__ Compact fluorescents

__ LED fixtures

__ High-efficiency outdoor lighting

__ Photovoltaic lights

__ Outdoor fluorescents

__ High-pressure sodium or metal halide

__ Controlled, diffuse daylighting

__ 0.8 VT N and shaded S glass

__ Light tubes

__ Light color scheme interiors

__ Motion or photo sensors

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