Councilwoman Kepert Brings Brookhaven to the Forefront of Energy Conservation

Helps Homeowners Save Money and Create Green Jobs

Councilwoman Kepert moved forward legislation that will bring the Town to the forefront of energy conservation for home construction. The legislation decouples Energy Star Homes requirements from the codes and replaces them with a requirement to achieve Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index. The legislation received the full support of the board as has been praised by the building industry and environmental activists.

“I commend the hard work of the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College for their extensive research. This initiative will result in significant energy conservation, which will further reduce the carbon footprint of households. It also benefits the economy by reducing the cost of energy bills. Finally, both Energy Star, and Green Homes Legislation have resulted in the creation of a whole new industry of green jobs on Long Island,” said Councilwoman Kepert.

Neal Lewis, Executive Director of the Sustainability Institute at Molly College stated, “Brookhaven's actions in adopting this amendment to the local building code that was introduced by Councilwoman Connie Kepert, builds upon the tremendous success story that began in 2006 with adoption of the Energy Star Homes Law. That law has helped protect the environment by eliminating wasted energy, has saved homeowners money from reduced energy bills, it has reduced our reliance on foreign sources of oil, has created local green jobs, and the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College estimates, that it has also kept more than $1.25 million in the Long Island economy.

These new changes to this historic law will provide leadership and keep Long Island on the forefront of building performance science. We hope all Long Island towns will adopt these changes to their residential building codes."

Mitch Pally, the Chief Executive of the Long Island Builders Institute (LIBI), who came before the board during the public hearing and made comment in support of the legislation stated, “LIBI is very appreciative of the work of Councilwoman Connie Kepert and the entire Town Board for modifying the energy efficiency regulations to make them more acceptable and flexible which will allow for greater energy efficiency on the Town of Brookhaven.”

Long Island, New York Community Requires HERS Index of 70 as Minimum Code for New Homes – Model for the Rest of Nation

by RESNET on July 21, 2011

The market attraction of builders using the RESNET HERS Index to easily explain to homebuyers the energy performance is growing dramatically.  On another angle, local governments are beginning to base their energy codes on a HERS Index target.

The latest community to do this is Brookhaven, New York.  The town has shifted from having their code based on ENERGY STAR to the RESNET HERS Index.

The town’s new energy code requires that any new single-family dwelling, multiple-family dwelling, Planned Retirement Community (PRC) or Planned Retirement Congregate Housing Community (PRCHC) in buildings containing four units or less, not more than three stories in height must be built to achieve a HERS Index of 70 or less as verified by the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) promulgated by the Residential Energy Service Network (RESNET).

Prior to the issuance of a building permit for any new home, a builder must  certify compliance with town’s energy conservation requirements by submitting a NYS HERS compliance certificate from an independent certified HERS Rater indicating that the building was designed to meet the required HERS index of 70.

Prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the builder is required to demonstrate compliance to the code by submitting a final HERS rating performed by a RESNET certified HERS rater. The HERS rater shall attest that the subject dwelling complies with the following requirements:

1)   Achieves a rating of 70 or lower on the HERS Index.

2)   Meets the ventilation requirements of subsection C(1) of this section.

3)   Passes combustion safety testing.

4)   Ducts within the subject dwelling have been subjected to an HVAC Duct Leakage test and achieved the standards required by the code.

5)   An ACCA Manual J has been performed for the subject dwelling as defined by the Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State.

6)   All HVAC ducts not completely inside the subject dwelling’s thermal envelope are insulated as required by the State of New York.

7)   A permanent certificate, which includes the Building’s HERS index, in a format approved by the city has been affixed on or in the electrical distribution panel.

Brookhaven is located in Suffolk County, New York and has a population of 448,248.

The community’s energy code can serve as a model for other communities interested in sustainable development.  Raters should take the time and meet with their city council members and codes department and introduce them to the Brookhaven model.  For a listing of the new regulation, e-mail Steve Baden at sbaden@resnet.us