CEE’s New Homes team recently worked with the Sabathani Community Center to open an energy efficient, affordable senior living apartment building. CEE began work on this project in March 2020, which included reviewing the building plans, creating energy models, and making recommendations to ensure energy efficiency was factored into the building’s design. By making these apartments as energy efficient as possible, monthly utility bills will go down for residents and it will help reduce the building’s emissions.
The New Homes team first reviewed the building plans and made energy efficient recommendations. Recommendations included revisions to insulation levels, air sealing details, and mechanical systems. They also paid special attention to improving the heating and cooling efficiency and ventilation systems in the apartments. The key energy efficiency features recommended for this building included exterior rigid foam insulation on the entire building and a 95% AFUE in-unit heating system. All the revisions were necessary for the building to meet the efficiency requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Residential New Construction program.
Inspecting and Testing
Once the building was complete, the team inspected the units to verify that they met the Energy Star requirements. All units were inspected for quality installation of insulation and air sealing details per Energy Star requirements. To verify, they used blower door tests, duct leakage tests, and performance tests on exhaust and ventilation systems. This step was critical to ensure the building met minimum standards that were consistent with the intended design of the units. The team tested approximately 25% of the units. The tested units were selected based on size, location, and unit type as a representative mix of the building. If any units didn’t initially meet the requirements, the construction partners made necessary corrections and the units were retested.
Once all sample units successfully met ENERGY STAR standards, the team updated the energy models. The results were submitted to a third-party quality assurance provider for final certification approval. At the end of this process, all units were HERS and Energy Star certified with an overall average HERS score of 48. Each unit is predicted to generate an average annual savings of $523.