Homeowner Consumer Information

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Reasons to Save Energy

Energy efficiency is the cost effective use of energy relative to the size of a building. It is calculated in thousands of BTU’s (British Thermal Units) per square foot of conditioned floor area per year. This definition allows homes of different sizes, in different climate zones, with different types of systems and different energy features to be compared to each other.

Heating, cooling and water heating energy use is calculated for one year converted to Btu’s and divided by the conditioned floor area of the home. The lower the number, the more energy efficient the home is.

Having energy efficient buildings:

  • Reduces energy costs
  • Increases reliability and availability of electricity
  • Improves building occupant comfort and reduces impact to the environment

Energy efficiency requires substantial initial investment in order to realize future savings. Without mandatory measures, and energy efficiency standards, buildings would most likely not be built with energy efficiency in mind


Energy efficiency is a good investment

  • An initial investment in energy features can pay for itself in a relatively short period of time and continues to realize a return on investment for many years.
  • Few other financial investments are as good
  • Energy efficient buildings cost less to operate
  • This savings is reflected in a stronger more stable economy on a personal and statewide level.


  • The use of energy causes oil spills, acid rain, smog, habitat destruction and other forms of environmental pollution
  • Reducing energy consumption reduces these negative environmental impacts.


Some side benefits of most energy efficient features in a building are that the building is more comfortable, quiet and clean.

Types of Buildings Covered

The energy codes apply to most residential and nonresidential buildings that are conditioned for the purposes of human comfort. The residential energy code only applies to low-rise residential buildings which include all single family and two-family dwellings of any number of stories and multi-family dwellings of three or fewer stories.

Building Systems Covered

  • Heating
  • Cooling
  • Water heating
  • Lighting

Home Energy Rating System

Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is a process of administering diagnostic analysis to determine and produce data that provides a method of evaluation for a home energy efficiency rating, which establishes a benchmark of a home’s energy use and identification of necessary upgrades.

The Rating

A HERS rating is performed by a certified rater who administers various tests and then calculates the results on the house to be rated. The data is usually gathered by the HERS rater on location, at the site being tested. The testing and information gathered can vary depending on the particular HERS test(s). A HERS rating may be required for:

  • new home construction
  • an alteration to an existing home
  • an energy efficient mortgage
  • an energy audit

Regardless of the type of HERS rating, upon determination that verification is required then there are two basic approaches:

  • Approach #1: verify every house (a procedure of testing each individual house)
  • Approach #2: use a “sampling” (a process by which a group of houses can all be deemed to pass when one house in that group has been randomly selected and verified by a HERS rater and it passes)

There are a series of forms that the HERS rater must use in order to correctly document that the appropriate test(s) have been performed and recorded. The forms are listed below:

2013 Code 2008 Code What it covers.
Permits with a date AFTER 07-01-2014 Permits with a date BEFORE 07-01-2014
The CF-1R The CF-1R – specifies what is required in order to meet Title 24.
The CF-2R The CF-6R – indicates what the installer did to the house.
The CF-3R The CF-4R – indicates that the HERS rater verified the necessary features.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) supplies forms that are generic to any kind of construction that is to be tested – from large construction to simple alterations. In order to streamline the process, CalCERTS, Inc. has designed a unique version of all of the forms (approved by the CEC) for small alterations. The CEC forms are recommended for new construction and the CalCERTS, Inc. forms should be used for alterations.

The Tests

The process to test duct leakage is fairly simple: seal off the registers, pressurize the system and record the test readings. A Duct Blaster device is used to measure and quantify leakage in a duct system by determining how many Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) it takes to maintain a certain pressure inside a duct system that has all of its supply registers and return grilles sealed off. The leakier a system is, the more air it will take to maintain a particular pressure. The Duct Blaster gear consists of a calibrated fan, a flow controller, a connector duct and a meter that reads both pressure inside the duct system and flow of the fan. The allowable leakage for a new system is <6% of nominal fan flow, and <15% for existing systems.

Tests used only in New Construction:

  • Ducts in conditioned places
  • Reduced Duct Surface Area
  • Ducts Buried in Insulation
  • Verification of Duct Design
  • Adequate Airflow
  • Air Handler Fan Watt Draw
  • Maximum Cooling Capacity
  • Building Envelope Sealing
  • High Quality Insulation Installation

Tests used only in Alterations:Duct Leakage

TXV/Refrigerant Charge
High EER

Tests for New Construction and Alterations:

Duct Leakage Test
Thermostatic Expansion Valve (TXV)
Refrigerant charge and Airflow
High EER

The CalCERTS, Inc. Registry

Data that is accumulated during the testing process may be recorded manually onto the forms or directly online using a laptop in the field. If the HERS rater used a manual form then he has the responsibility to enter the information into the computerized web based data registry. The information that the HERS rater enters is essential in order for the property to be officially certified. The certification information remains in the CalCERTS, Inc. data base and is accessible for verification by the CEC. Additionally, after all of the information has been entered by the HERS rater and certification is verified, a certificate can be printed up to present to their customer.

Issuing Certificates

The following reports and certificates can be output from the CalCERTS, Inc. registry:
CF1R (2013) and CF-4R (2008) Certificate(s) of Compliance
Energy Star Certificate
Federal Tax Credit Certificate
CF-4R-PV Certificate of Compliance for New Solar Home Partnership Rebates
Certificate for Compliance with Prescriptive Package
Special Certificates may be customized by raters

Compliance and Registry Support

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