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Reflecting on the 2016 revised Washington State Energy Code

October 4, 2016News & Info
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As of July 1, 2016 all Washington State home builders are subject to new energy codes that have resulted in state-wide price increases. In a nutshell, builder receives credits when they use energy saving methods in the home construction process. In the past, the number of credits required for a medium dwelling unit (1501 – 5000 sf.) were 1.5 and could be met in a variety of methods. A hybrid hot water tank could get you 1.5 credits and it still can, but the state has moved the proverbial bar higher and now all builders have to get 3.5 credits for medium dwelling units. How we obtain those credits can be either good or bad for both builders and those desiring to build. How so? It’s imperative that you understand what you are building into your home and that the credits the builder is offering is economical for you, not just the builder. Adding these energy saving items is obviously good for you and the environment in the end. Will you have to purchase additional things for your home to make it comfortable? Let us explain.

Some builders are offering standard ductless units on all their homes to obtain 1.0 credit, and then obtaining the other 2.5 in a variety of means. Ductless units by-the-way were invented as demand for cheap A/C and heat were needed for older homes. It is minimally invasive because it literally is like a wall A/C unit that hung out of the window. They are in demand for retro-homes or remodels. Granted, for homes 1500 square feet and smaller, these units with one head for both heat and cooling may indeed be sufficient. We ourselves take this approach for all of our homes 1500 sf. and smaller. However, on a two story or a large rambler, if you want to get cooling and heat in all areas of the home, more heads are needed. Imagine while ordering your home from other builders and you are told that if you want sufficient cooling and heat in other areas of your 2,500 sf. home, you have to pay an additional $2-3-4k more!  Why would the builder offer the home in such a way? Because it’s their least expensive means to obtain the credits needed. This will put the client in an awkward position if you want even heating and cooling in the whole house. How so?  Because the builder will offer you an upgrade for extra heads for the ductless unit or offer the option/upgrade that True Built Home does standard-the furnace and heat pump! True Built Home has taken a completely different approach.

Ductless units have their place. However, on larger single-story homes and two-story homes, they make little sense. In this regard, True Built Home offers a high efficient electric furnace and heat pump system standard on all homes 1500 square feet and larger. This gives us 1.0 credit, just like a ductless unit, without the additional expense to the homeowner of adding more heads to sufficiently cool and heat the rest of the home. Let that sink in a bit. Because, when company personnel sit down to discuss these very things, some companies think, “how can we make more money”, while we always take the approach, “how can we add value to our homes”.

In the end, don’t be fooled by some who say that ductless are the “only” way to go. They indeed do have a purpose, but not when you have to pay more for some that could have simply been addressed the right way to begin with.

True Built Home – How we purpose to meet the new Washington Energy Codes

  1. High efficient electric furnace package along with high efficient heat pump system
  2. Low-flow Moen faucets-rated #1 JD Powers
  3. R38 under the floor
  4. LowE .28 windows
  5. Heat pump (hybrid) electric water heater

*Where natural gas can be substituted, an additional up-charge will apply for additional venting and piping.