ENERGY STAR Releases New Caribbean Program Requirements

Sustainability and Green Building
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The ENERGY STAR program recently released Version 3 of its Caribbean Program Requirements, which will be required for ENERGY STAR Certified Homes permitted on or after Jan. 1, 2020, in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Along with the new requirements, ENERGY STAR released updated Rater Field and Rater Design Review checklists. Prior to this final version, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sought feedback to ensure that the documents sufficiently addressed stakeholder concerns regarding a low perceived value of blower-door infiltration testing, as well as challenges with certain building types that are difficult to reflect in modeling software in this geographic region. One major change was that the area called the Tropics is now split into two separate regions: the Pacific (Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands) and the Caribbean (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Additionally, a new requirement proposed during the comment period was that builders must fulfill one of two measures:
  • Either include a solar water heater system with a Solar Fraction of ≥ 87.9% (Measure A), OR
  • Install mini-split ACs or Heat Pumps ≥ 15 SEER with 10 feet of ductwork (Measure B).
NAHB submitted comments, including some language changes to improve clarity, and urged EPA to reconsider Measure B to allow for more flexibility, all of which were addressed in the final version. EPA explained in the revised final program requirements that the measure does not explicitly require a mini-split head in each bedroom, and that an indoor unit can be used to serve one or more bedrooms. NAHB plays an important role in providing feedback on federal voluntary energy programs by submitting public comments that represent the home building industry and suggesting clarifying language on potentially confusing verbiage. For more information about NAHB’s sustainable and green building programs, contact Program Manager Anna Stern. And to stay current on the high-performance residential building sector, follow NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building team on Twitter.

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