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In this Newsletter:

  • Two Upcoming Webinars
  • TECCC & Ambassador Meeting: April 18
  • Save the Date: SPEER's Annual Industry Workshop - Sept. 19-20
  • Heat Pump Training Workshop
  • High-Performance Buildings and Renewable Energy Training
  • FREE Online Demand Flexibility Learning: AESP & DOE
  • The Role of an Energy Rater
  • Noteworthy + Previous Webinar Offerings

Upcoming Webinars

Harnessing Earth’s Power: An Introduction to Residential Geothermal Technology

Let's learn how a geothermal system works and the benefits it has for our homes and the environment. Our expert speaker will guide you through the basics of how geothermal heating and cooling systems work, their environmental impact, cost-effectiveness, and installation processes. Whether you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint, cut down on energy consumption, or simply curious about this renewable energy source, this webinar offers a comprehensive overview of residential geothermal potential. Engage with our specialist during the Q&A session!

When: Tuesday, February 27th, 10:30 AM: 1.5 hours

Register Now

What’s Hot with Heat Pumps

Join us as we focus on heat pump technology, and why it’s ideal in southern markets. Our expert presenter will discuss the evolution of the technology over the years (which has improved dramatically!), cover why an inverter runs continuously, and why that’s a good thing. We will review cost perspective when it comes to homeowners and the life cycle of their equipment as well as any upfront costs and impacts to utility bills. Lastly, we’ll touch on important tax incentives and direction high performance homes are moving.

Speaker: Garrett Smith, Area Sales Manager (Central Texas), Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC

When: Tuesday, March 19th, 10:30 AM

Register Now

TECCC Meeting: Save the Date!

SPEER supports the Texas Energy Code Compliance Collaborative (TECCC), which was launched by SPEER in 2011 in partnership with State Energy Conservation Office (SECO). By facilitating the Collaborative, SPEER connects industry stakeholders to help develop resources and programs that encourage compliance with state and local energy codes. This group of collaborative members meets quarterly and aids with the following efforts:

  • Develop strategies to increase compliance rates
  • Provide and disseminate information to their respective industry stakeholders
  • Participate in the effort to measure and verify the State’s code compliance

Save the date for our upcoming in person TECCC meeting on April 18th! We will be combining this in-person meeting with our Ambassador meeting, which you can learn more about here and we invite you to become a SPEER Energy Code Ambassador.

The meeting will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Austin - Round Rock: 2310 N. IH 35. Please let us know if you plan to join us for both the TECCC and Ambassador meeting: Register here!

SPEER's annual Industry + Policy Workshop will be held September 19-20! We'll cover increasing energy efficiency measures, how demand response programs and heat pumps can reduce peak demand and benefit consumers, the upcoming 89th Texas Legislative session, local governments + resiliency, and more. Browse last year's topics and presentations here. We can't wait to see you there!

Free Heat Pump Training Workshop

Join us for an in-person training workshop on March 5th and expand your knowledge of heat pumps as we redefine the market and the role of modern heat pumps. Heat pumps are vital for improving building efficiency and helping stabilize our energy grid by reducing peak demand and grid stress as well as consumers bills.

Learn from the experts at Mitsubishi Electric Trade HVAC as they cover IRA/IIJA funding opportunities, discuss where is the market going, what is driving the market change, new heat pump technologies, and much more. Big thanks to our generous sponsor Austin Energy! Download our flyer to learn more and save your spot now.

High-Performance Buildings and Renewable Energy Training

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is helping you stay ahead of the game with education and training opportunities focused on on-site renewable energy and high-performance buildings.

Ambitious solar targets and incentives are driving significant solar and energy storage growth nationwide. The permitting and inspection of solar PV and battery energy storage systems is becoming an increasingly large part of an already heavy work load for building officials. To be able to accurately and efficiently review a permit application and conduct a field inspection, understanding what makes a safe installation is critical to interpreting code. Preparing to review or inspect a solar PV system does not have to be complicated. Stay informed and confident as the energy industry transforms.

Invest in your education and training with free educational resources and CEU bearing courses from leading industry organizations:

FREE Online Demand Flexibility Learning with AESP & DOE

Brought to you by AESP and the U.S. Department of Energy, demand flexibility is the heartbeat of our future grid. It is the coordinated manipulation of energy consumption and production across grid devices on a massive scale while maintaining livability and comfort standards. AESP is now offering free, convenient online courses, designed for tomorrow's energy efficiency leaders. 

Elevate your expertise with FLEX's accredited online courses! Dive into demand flexibility, exploring water heaters, lighting, HVAC systems, and cutting-edge distributed energy resources (DERs) like solar, battery storage, and EVSE. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, FLEX FLEX's 3-course series offers flexible learning modules and equips tomorrow's workforce with skills for grid-interactive energy technologies. Whether designing customer offerings or engaging with these resources as grid assets, FLEX is your gateway to mastering the future of energy. Ideal for Energy Efficiency and DER Professionals, Electric Utilities Staff, and more. Seize the opportunity to maximize the value of flexible loads as both a grid asset and a customer asset. Enroll now for a brighter, sustainable future!

The Role of an Energy Rater

Energy Raters, often referred to as Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Raters, are professional’s instrumental in assessing and promoting the energy efficiency of buildings, particularly new home constructions. As sustainable construction and energy conservation have become increasingly important, the role of these raters in the construction process has grown indispensable. They provide an essential service in evaluating the energy performance of residential buildings, offering a comprehensive approach to understanding and improving energy efficiency.

HERS Raters assess a home's energy performance through a series of tests and inspections. They examine insulation levels, air leakage, ductwork efficiency, and the performance of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Using tools like blower doors and thermal imaging cameras, they conduct energy audits to identify inefficiencies and potential energy-saving improvements. Their findings are crucial in pinpointing areas where energy is being wasted and in providing targeted recommendations for enhancement.

The recommendations made by HERS Raters guide homeowners and builders on improving energy efficiency. These suggestions may include adding insulation, sealing air leaks, upgrading HVAC systems, or installing energy-efficient appliances. By implementing these changes, homeowners can significantly increase energy efficiency, reduce utility bills, and enhance the overall comfort and value of their homes.

Understanding the HERS Index is critical in evaluating a home's energy performance. The HERS Index is a scoring system that measures a home's energy efficiency in comparison to a standard reference home. A lower HERS Index score indicates a more energy-efficient home. For example, a home with a HERS Index score of 50 is 50% more energy-efficient than the reference home. This scoring system provides an easy-to-understand metric that helps homeowners and builders gauge the energy performance of a home and see the impact of improvements.

To become a certified HERS Rater, professionals must undergo rigorous training and pass exams to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in building science and energy evaluation. This certification ensures that they are qualified to accurately assess and rate the energy efficiency of homes, providing reliable and valuable insights.

The benefits of hiring a HERS Rater are manifold. Homeowners and builders gain valuable insights into the energy performance of a home, allowing for targeted improvements that increase energy efficiency and reduce utility bills. Improved energy efficiency leads to substantial cost savings over time, enhancing the home's resale value and contributing to a more sustainable environment.

In conclusion, Energy Raters or HERS Raters play a critical role in the energy code compliance and energy efficiency of new home construction. Their expertise and recommendations contribute significantly to constructing more sustainable, efficient, and comfortable homes, supporting broader goals of energy conservation and environmental responsibility.


Where I'm Heading:

  • Texas Panhandle Home Builders Association – Codes and Coffee: Open discussion with Builders to support code compliance and insulation options – Feb 20th from 8-10 AM
  • City of Amarillo – Meeting with the Mayor and local builders for an open discussion on Code enforcement and compliance – Feb 21st at 3:00

What We're Reading:

Great article from Allison Bailes with an overview of heatpump technology. 

Allision discusses what a heat pump does, different types of heat pumps, right sizing of heat pumps, and the efficiency ratings of heat pumps.

For the full article: Heat Pump Basics - Energy Vanguard

Great Prerecorded Webinars:

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Basics and Mechanical Ventilation

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) directly impacts our health and comfort. However, modern building practices, while excellent for energy efficiency, often results in limited natural airflow. This can lead to the accumulation of pollutants indoors, which mechanical ventilation systems effectively mitigate. Let’s look at what makes up bad indoor air quality and how, if designed correctly, the mechanical ventilation system can lower the potential for a sick home.

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