Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is the key to increase comfort, save on energy bills, and meet new demand.

It costs about seven cents per kilowatt hour to build the infrastructure and new generating plants to meet the growing demand for energy. By comparison, it only costs about three cents per kilowatt hour to implement the measures necessary to properly conserve energy so that every watt counts. Energy efficiency also complements and supports healthy home building and indoor air quality.

These are some of the steps and features of an energy efficient home that your building department could share with home builders and remodelers:

  • South-facing roof and windows
    • Collect and distribute solar energy for heat in winter
    • Reject solar heat gain in summer
  • Extended overhangs or adjustable canopies

  • Super-insulated walls and air-tightness for maximum R-Value
    • Structural insulated panels (SIPs)
    • Advanced framing (6” studs at 24 vs 16 IOC)
    • All bank and rim joists are insulated and air sealed
    • All plumbing and wiring penetrations are air sealed
    • Blower door test for maximum leakage rate of 5 ACH50
  • High performance windows
    • Maximum U-factor depending on climate zone
    • SHGC ≥ 0.40 for south facing windows
  • Roofing per the Cool Roof Rating Council (see

  • High efficiency furnace (e.g. ≥ 90% AFUE for gas and propane)
    • Properly sized per ACCA Manual S or equivalent
    • Duct system sized, designed and installed per ACCA Manual D
      1. Sealed with mastic
      2. Maximum leakage rate of 6 percent
  • Ductless heat pump
  • Ground source heat pump

  • Energy-Star lighting fixtures
  • No recessed lighting or sealed-can lighting
  • CFL or LED lamps
  • Motion sensors for exterior needs

  • High efficiency water heater (e.g. ≥ 86% for gas storage units > 75,000 Btu/h)
  • Energy Star washer, dishwater and refrigerator

For more information to share with your community, see Planet Clark’s Energy Efficiency Page.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

During and following construction, there are many ways to improve the air quality for the health of occupants. These include:

  • Exterior grilles or fixed mats at building entrances
  • Framing – Less than 19 percent moisture content before drywall
  • HVAC
    • Supply registers covered during construction
    • Equipment properly sized and commissioned per ACCA Manual S
      • Minimum efficiency of 90 percent
      • Duct work sealed with mastic
      • Installed in the conditioned space
      • Heat recovery ventilator (HRV) for fresh air intake
    • Air filter ≥ MERV 8 with verification that system can accommodate the greater pressure drop
    • Ductless heat pump or ground source heat pump
  • Spot ventilation vented to outdoors
    • Bathrooms
    • Clothes dryers
    • Kitchen exhaust units/range hoods
  • Reduced VOC emissions levels in accordance with CDPH 01350 – see
    • Hard surface flooring
    • Wall coverings
    • Insulation formaldehyde
    • Adhesives and sealants
    • Site applied architectural coatings
  • Cabinets – No added formaldehyde and zero to low-VOC finishes
  • Carpeting, including padding and adhesives, has reduced VOC emission levels as certified by a third party such as the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green
  • Label Plus Indoor Air Quality Program
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Central vacuum system
  • Combustion Appliance Zone (CAZ) pressure test
  • Radon control systems
    • Active for EPA Zone 1
    • Passive for EPA Zone 2
  • Garage – detached if possible or tightly sealed and gasketed

For more information:
EPA’s Indoor airPlus