The new Florida Building Code, V. 6 goes into effect for all homes permitted after December 31, 2017. We ran some simulations to see the impact natural gas could have on helping a builder meet the Florida Energy Code Compliance, as well as the impacts on the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) score.
The HERS score is a national standard builders use to market their energy efficient homes. Here is the impact bringing natural gas to your home or development can do. Here are the top three findings to this research.
1. Natural Gas Can Lower the E Ratio Score
The Florida Energy Code considers the impact of heating, cooling, and water heating. To meet the Florida Energy Code, there is a weighted average of these three energy users that must equal 1.00. Any equipment added to the home that is better than the code requires will lower the E Ratio score, helping the builder meet the code. To be clear, a standard electric or gas water heater will have an e ratio of 1.00, with a lower number being better.
A natural gas standard tankless water heater with an efficiency of 82% lowers the e ratio score to 0.58. A natural gas high-efficiency tankless water heater with an efficiency of 96% lowers the e ratio score to 0.32. This may be one of the lowest cost methods for a builder to impact this score.
2. Natural Gas Can Lower The HERS Score
A second benefit, for those builders who use the HERS score to market their homes, which is a growing national trend. The standard code-built home will have a HERS score of 74. Every point on the HERS score represents either one percent efficiency gain or loss with a lower score being more efficient. The lower the score, the better.
A standard natural gas tankless water heater will lower the HERS score by four points. The high-efficiency natural gas tankless water heater will lower the HERS score by five points. It is difficult to find that large of a reduction in energy use as economically as this improvement.
3. Natural Gas Can Lower The Total Annual Energy Costs For Your Home
One last feature to add is the software also calculates total energy cost to operate the home on an annual basis based on average electric and natural gas costs. With the upgrade to natural gas tankless water heaters, your home will cost over two-hundred dollars less to operate annually.
About the author:
Scott Ranck is one of Florida Public Utilities Energy Experts. He is a RESNET Energy Rater, a Certified Energy Manager and a Certified Energy Auditor. Mr. Ranck also serves on the Energy Technical Advisory Committee for the Florida Building Commission.