By Eurihea Speciale
For Raters who are providing verification services for large housing developments or multifamily buildings, using the RESNET Sampling process to provide program verification for energy efficiency programs (EEPs) such as ENERGY STAR®, LEED for Homes®, and others can save both the Rater and builder time and money. The Sampling process, however, remains widely misunderstood. There is confusion by many who believe that Sampling only works for tract housing projects that are all essentially the same. Additionally, there is concern that verification through Sampling results in poor quality and risk of significant project failure. Finally, many Raters fear that the process is too difficult and therefore not worth pursuing except on the very largest of projects. The truth is that Sampling can be fairly simple and accomplished while maintaining a very high level of quality for a diversity of project types.
Sampling is a process by which a large group of homes can receive the same HERS index and be verified under an EEP by testing and modeling a sample of the homes rather than by testing and modeling each individual home. Due to the reduction in field and office work associated with Sampling, it is a cost effective method for certifying large projects, including multifamily and single family developments, and can be used to certify homes under multiple EEPs.
The Sampling process is available for Raters working with builders who are producing at least 50 single-family or multifamily homes in a year within a metropolitan area. Instead of Sampling reducing the value and quality of a project, it can actually improve the verification process by helping identify problems earlier in the construction process, allowing the builder to make adjustments to their workflow and better instruct subcontractors on best practices. This helps a Rater avoid a potential difficult situation, where a either through haste or neglect has gotten ahead of themselves in the project without paying attention to the EEP programmatic requirements and now has multiple failures on multiple homes, leaving the Rater no choice but to make the builder correct a multitude of errors of fail the entire project. Therefore, Sampling not only reduces the cost of verifying the homes in the development, but more importantly helps avoid the much greater cost of correcting construction defects before the project fails to meet the certification requirements of the EEP program.