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  • Hi Everyone Happy to be here with all of you and looking forward to listening in on many of the other very enlightening sessions happening today. I hope that I can provide some information that may be valuable towards reaching near-zero energy for retrofitting California's 13 million existing homes. Asignificant challenge that must be addressed to achieve California’s efficiency and climate goals. We know that with new residential buildings, energy consumption can be reduced 70% to 80 % compared with conventional practices. But with existing buildings, achieving similar energy reduction is difficult but doableA reasonable target is to reduce energy use by 30% to 60% and even higher with homes that start out with very poor performance. What about Renewable energy systems? They’re great but should be considered only after the building envelope and mechanical systems have been addressed
  • Before I go into our case study project I’d like to give a little background as to what motivated us to launch the ZENERGY House project.Since 2006, our firms have providedEnergy Efficiency Services that include three different specialty areas. We are the only LA based BPI Building Performance Institute Training Affiliate our Train to Sustain Program provides Home Performance training and BPI certificationResidential Energy Assessment Services or REAS performs comprehensive multi-family diagnostic energy audits and energy consulting and modelingAnd our Green Home Evaluation division focuses on Home Performance energy audits for Single Family Homes, retrofit services and quality assurance quality control verifications
  • Existing building are challenging and can be expensive but it is possible with home performancescience +testing =KnowledgeWhat makes this field exciting is that every existing home and building is like a thumb print. Unique.House as a systems looking at the inter connection and the variables like location due to our micro-climates, construction type, existing materials, mechanical systems and occupant use play an important factor in the final recommendations and scope of work.Because we cannot typically see beyond the architectural barriers (walls, floors so on) or air movement we use diagnostic tools to quantify how the structure and systems are actually performing. There are any where from 10 to 15 diagnostic tests and 100’s of visual observations That we perform during a single audit.
  • Using Home Performance techniques we created a case study home. Zenergy House was conceived as a “living lab” and educational tool for the average person to learn about EE & green products/materials, see what works, and inspire others to incorporate greener elements into their home environment. Its goal is to attain a level of near-zero energy consumption.Located in Studio City, the housewas selected because it reflects the current average square footage of homes in America and reflects the Southern California lifestyle.The one-story home was originally built in 1950 and includes 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,450 sq. ft. of living space, and a pool.
  • We looked at all the areas for improvement just as we would for any client. The opportunities listed here are typical of the homes that we have tested throughout Southern CaliforniaThe Zenergy House has had a number of seminars and tours to architects, builders, government officials, realtors, homeowners since the opening. We have folks take off their shoes or use shoe covers to educate that you can reduce your indoor pollutants by 40% by just taking your shoes off when you get home. Public restroom -ecoli Large shoe closet near the front door made from variety of sustainable and 100% recyclable post-consumer by products from a San Diego based company named ECOR
  • When we started the project it was obvious that the home had tremendous opportunity. We found roof leaks which we do find in other homes that we test and insist that repairs are made prior to insulation installation. Loosefill Cellulose insulation holds moisture and can become so heavy that it can bring down an entire ceiling not to mention a perfect scenario for mold growth.After diagnostic testing and evaluating the home we quickly determined that the HVAC system was oversized by at least 200% and the ducts were leaking 15%. The previous owner was “an electrician” which explained the excessive recessed lights and the house was very leaky because of the can lights, crawlspace, old windows and construction deficiencies.
  • The original oversized HVAC system was a two- 3 ton a/c units & two furnaces. It was replaced/recycled with one 3 ton a/c unit and a combined hydronic heating system.  The a/c unit (efficient split system water cooled condenser) has a cooling efficiency which is unmatched in the industry. Air Cooled Condensers can lose 20% of their capacity as outdoor temperature increases from 70°F to 100+°F compared to only about 4% for a Freus™ system.The inefficient hot water heater was replaced with a high output 99.1% efficient sealed combustion water heating tank connected to a variable speed air handler to serve dual heating purposes. Domestic hot water and space heating.Distribution inefficiencies were improved as the original ducts were replaced with new insulated ducts that were tested with a duct blaster at 2.5% leakage, which is extremely tight. The system was designed for optimum air distribution and the ducts were installed in the cleaned crawl space. All hot water pipes were insulated because we know that the result is the ability to limit heat loss which allows a lower temperature setting of about 4 degreesThe programmable thermostat automatically adjust temperature settings during the day, evening and weekends to save energy and can be controlled remotely with a smart phone or through the internet
  • Here are the majority of the upgrades that we performedTwo small attics were airsealed and insulated with encapsulated fiberglass and loose-fill cellulose. Non-toxic 100% silicone and water based caulks were used to properly seal the envelope. Based on calculations for minimum ventilation requirements based on ASHRAE we add mechanical ventilation rated for continuous use and put them on 30 minute timers to insure healthy indoor air quality after shell improvements (Final blower door 1620 cfm5o / 24.5 = 66.12 cfmnat or 15 cfm per person x 4 =60 cfm) w volume ceilingsThe leaky roof was repaired with new underlayment and the existing concrete tiles were reused.The number of recessed lights were reduced by 35%and replaced by IC rated airtight sealed CFL only cans (pin type). LED lighting technology is also used in some areas of the house as well as increased natural daylighting and photo cells for all exterior lights.The pool is solar heated and does not use any natural gas or additional electricity as it works in partnership with the pool's efficient filter pump. Water saving techniques include engineered faucets, dual flush toilets and drought tolerant landscaping and a “smart controller for irrigationAfter the upgrades were installed an initial small Solar PV array of 2.4 kilowatts (12 panels Sharp 198) was installed to generate electricity. We are monitoring our needs with a real time energy monitor the “Eco View” which tracks electricity usage. We have found that we will need to add a few more panels to truly get to net-zero for electricity. We are also monitoring gas usage. Once the data is complete based on EE upgrades only we will install solar thermal to preheat the water for and track the savings based on total cost.The Zenergy House represents that the benefits of energy audits and retrofits go way beyond lower utility bills. An energy upgrade can provide greater comfort levels, improved indoor air quality and durability. Higher resale value as wellThe biggest challenges werecost and skilled labor. For a virtual tour and a complete listing of materials and beautiful green products/art/textiles and technologies used in the home please visit:
  • There are some similarities based on building science in assessing Single & Multi-family buildings. A Multi-family retrofit should begin with a comprehensive + diagnostic energy auditand consulting that includes full energy simulation modeling and a financial analysis report to assist owners and agencies in lowering operational and maintenance costs.
  • Deep energy retrofits must take into account building location/ local codes/AQMD and occupant safety and comfort and of course cost effectiveness in other words a thoughtful loading order that’s a road map to highest opportunity to efficiency.Savvy owners that understand the concept of a high-performance building are the ones that are becoming more profitable. Energy modeling software allows us to breakdown the individual upgrades and determine the annual saving in dollars and energy When we look at entire portfolio’s we assess which is the least efficient using benchmarking and start there.We like to say that if it gets measured it gets managed the auditing process inspects for problem areas in the building structure or systems operation. MFBA’s can provide the same assessment as retro commissioning agents. The building analyst process is even more comprehensive in terms of ventilation, indoor air quality and comfort issues. To gain the maximum benefit, a “building as a system” approach is necessary tofindings & recommending solutions to reduce waste. .
  • Duplicating the Zenergy House is possible thorough gov’t and utility supportIn the very near future, we see homeowners utilizing the tax credits and incentives to lower the cost of the retrofit. When financing the retrofit is necessary, the monthly savings on the homeowners electric and gas bills may often be greater than their monthly loan amount. This would mean an instant cash flow and a true market transformation.
  • Now is the time and the game changers our new policies and programs being rolled out to do just that.We have a small window of opportunity to take full advantage of using current technology to revitalize the existing building stock through deep energy retrofits. This will allow homeowners and multifamily building owners to reinvest their savings from energy efficiency upgrades into renewable technology to get to net-zero energy.
  • Even with incentives our focus is to first build the infrastructure of highly trained technicians and contractors that are certified.When we eliminate the opportunity for fly by night, took the weekend course "green" consultants whoadvertise cheap clipboard energy audits with a prescriptive list we protect the public from fraud and unsafe practices One of the more common recommendations is to control the air leakage.By sealing the uncontrolled air leakage we can improve indoor air quality as well by keeping outdoor pollutants like dust, pollen and microbiological organisms to a minimum. Here's the problem, when you properly air-seal your home and add insulation you are decreasing the amount of ventilation. Should you have any combustion gases leaking or backdrafting you can become very sick from carbon monoxide poisoning or worse. Combustion safety testing during an energy audit is mandatory. 
  • Which one has it all?They are all Stepping stones and we need to close the gaps in all the various approaches And decipher- What is just marketing and what really works?The DOE (dept of energy) is compiling information as we speak from orgs like Resnet and BPI to put together a national best practices protocols for EE retrofits. It’s Very excitingWe also know that there is a gap between the current design-based rating systems that chase points for bragging rightsand comprehensive performance testing to achieve near zero or net energy targets. So far BPI with National technical standards for home performance industry is the front runner as many of the utility existing home incentives are requiring BPI Certification.
  • It’s important to understand that there is no magic bullet, that everyhome has a history , a specific location and various types of occupant use and that we have no time to guess or make assumptions we must test to quantify and find the optimal solutions.Let’s get our heating and cooling load down to at least 15 to 20 cents a sq foot by proper sizing and quality installation, airseal as many holes as we can and insulate and find individualized solutions to help homeowners reduce their base load as lifestyle is a key component to the recommendations in our reports.With well trained field experienced energy auditors making safety and indoor air quality number one while using diagnostic tools and a common sense approach we can reach our goals and create high performance homes. When energy loads are brought low enough renewable energy systems makes sense.By utilizing current technology we can transform our existing housing stock and achieve net-zero-energy homes.


  • 1. Residential Retrofits
    Near Zero Energy Opportunities
    Tammy Schwolsky,
    LEED AP; HERS; GPR; BPI Instructor
  • 2. The Three Legs of Our Stool
    • Energy Auditor Training
    • 3. Comprehensive Diagnostic Energy Audits and Consulting
    • 4. Energy Efficiency Retrofit Construction
  • What is Home Performance?
    • “House as a System” approach
    • 5. Building Science as a foundation
    • 6. Identify opportunities with visual and diagnostic assessment
    • 7. Comfort; Durability; Health/Safety; Energy Efficiency
    • 8. Quantifiable results
    • 9. Q/A + Q/C
    don’t guess…..test!
  • 10. Single Family Case Study
  • 11. Opportunitiesmajor improvements addressed:
  • Before
    Two oversized furnaces
    Two 3-ton AC units
    Old inefficient natural drafting water heater
    Poorly installed insulation
    Old metal framed single pane windows, some broken
    Leaky recessed incandescent lighting
    Inefficient pool pump
    Water pipes leaking in crawl space
    Mold and termite damage
    Typical Southern California landscaping with the majority being turf
  • 23. AfterAC & Combined Space & Water Heating
    3-ton ultra high efficiency AC unit
    (water cooled condenser)
    Sealed combustion high efficiency water heater with variable speed air handler
  • 24. Air sealed & improved insulation
    Vapor barrier in crawl space
    New dual pane low e windows
    Low sone exhaust ventilation
    IC rated CFL only cans
    LED lights
    New high efficient pool equipment & salt water conversion
    Solar pool heating
    Plumbing re-pipe; insulated hot water pipes
    3 dual flush toilets
    New Energy Star appliances
    Drought tolerant landscape
    Smart irrigation
    2.4 kWh Solar PV array
    Real Time Energy Management System
    … and more
  • 25. Multi-family Performance Testing
  • 26. Multi-family Building Analysts - MFBA
    comprehensive energy inspections
    recommendations achieve deep energy reductions + performance targets
    yield the highest economic return for owners and organizations
  • 27. Government and Utility Support
  • 28. DRIVERSTowards Market Transformation
    Home Star
    Gold Star
    Silver Star
    Energy Upgrade California
    Los Angeles County Energy Program (LACEP)
    San Diego Green Building Incentive Program
    Local Utilities
    Whole House Home Performance Program (WHHP)
    Prescriptive Whole House Retrofit Program (PWHRP)
  • 29. Workforce Development Training
    prevent fraud and assure quality
    incentive programs require appropriate licensing and certification for all participating contractors
    percentage of all jobs will be inspected by a third party upon completion to verify proper installation
  • 30. Certification Confusion?
  • 31. A Better Approach
  • 32. questions
  • 33. Thank you!
    Tammy Schwolsky,
    LEED AP; HERS; GPR and BPI Affiliate Instructor
    REAS, Inc.