The New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) requires a third party inspector called a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rater to provide field verification for certain energy efficiency measures and the PV system in a NSHP home.
Energy Efficiency Measures Requiring Field Verification
Eligibility for NSHP incentives requires that residential buildings incorporate measures to meet one of two tiers of energy efficiency:
- Tier I - 15 percent reduction in the residential building's combined space heating, space cooling, and water heating energy compared to the Title 24 Standards in effect on the date the building permit was applied for.
- Tier II - 35 percent reduction in the residential building's combined space heating, space cooling and water heating energy and 40 percent reduction in the residential building's space cooling (air conditioning) energy compared to the 2005 Title 24 Standards.
Typical energy efficiency measures that require field verification or diagnostic testing include high-efficiency air conditioning systems, quality installation of insulation, insulation with a higher R value than that required by California's Building Energy Efficiency Standards, or windows that allow less heat into the home.
PV System Field Verification Requirements
Projects that qualify for NSHP incentives require a HERS rater to verify the new PV system is installed properly and operates consistent with information on your application. The HERS rater will test the PV system and determine if the actual performance matches the estimated performance in your application. The rater will also verify that the actual shading does not exceed the shading characteristics included in the expected performance calculations. This verification process will determine the final NSHP incentive amount.
Field Verification Forms
After completing the field verification of the PV system installation and performance, the HERS rater provides the applicant and HERS provider with a Certificate of Field Verification (CF-4R-PV). The receipt of the CF-4R-PV by the NSHP from the provider's database is one of the final steps in the process that results in an incentive check being issued.
The HERS rater must also verify all measures used to achieve energy efficiency code compliance on a Certificate of Field Verification and Diagnostic Testing (CF-4R), if applicable, for both the NSHP and utility energy efficiency incentives.
Field Verification for Production Homes
For new housing developments, the applicant may choose to have the HERS rater complete field verification using the sampling approach. Under this approach, the HERS rater must verify the energy efficiency measures and/or PV system installation and performance for one home from a group of up to seven units.
HERS raters must be certified and work under the oversight of one of the California Energy Commission's approved HERS providers. To find a HERS rater for your project, click on the links provided:
- CalCERTS - California Certified Energy Rating & Testing Services
- CBPCA - California Building Performance Contractors Association
- CHEERS - California Home Energy Efficiency Rating Services
Identify a HERS rater early in your planning to ensure a smooth process to get both NSHP incentives and energy efficiency incentives available through your utility.
Field verification is a requirement for the NSHP application and a value-added service paid for by the applicant that provides quality control to protect the builder, installer, supplier, homeowner and California as a whole.
For more information:
The procedures for field verification are detailed in The Reference Appendices for the 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Acrobat PDF file, 363 pages, 4.9 mb), Sections RA2 and RA3.