Code changes drive New Homes incentive changes in 2018

Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC) was updated on October 1, 2017, to reflect 2017 code standards which will be required for all new homes constructed after January 1, 2018. Due to the code update, the 2018 Whole Home EPS incentive structure and offerings will change on January 1, 2018.

In October, we previewed potential changes to some EPS pathways for which Energy Trust requested cost-effectiveness exceptions from the Oregon Public Utility Commission. On November 7, 2017, the OPUC approved these exception requests. As a result, Energy Trust will maintain incentives for EPS Pathway 1 and 2 for electrically heated homes and Pathway 4 for gas-heated homes.

As a builder, here is what you need to know:

How will these changes affect incentives?

The 2018 incentive structure for EPS homes will be similar to 2017. It uses a sliding scale that starts at $600 for a home built 10 percent above code and caps at $4,720 for a home built at least 40 percent above code. We anticipate that a home submitted by a builder in 2017 will see a six to nine percent reduction in its energy improvement above the new code. This variance depends on upgrades the builder chooses to make, but for a home built 20 percent above code, there should be minimal incentive changes.

Builders can work with their verifier and review the Incentive Overview for Oregon Builders to identify which upgrades will best benefit each home.

How will code updates affect participation in the Energy Trust Whole Home EPS program?

The Oregon Building Codes Division (BCD) adopted the latest ORSC on October 1, 2017. Following a 90-day implementation period, all permits pulled on or after January 1, 2018, will be required to meet updated code.

Energy Trust is working with the Oregon Home Builders Association to offer code update training at the Trade Ally Forums in November. Attendees may be eligible for continuing education credits from the Oregon CCB.

Code training will be held at the following Trade Ally Forums:

  • Grants Pass, November 3 – Bethany Presbyterian Church, 741 NW 4th St
  • Portland, November 14 – Sheraton at Portland Airport, 8235 NE Airport Way
  • Bend, November 16 – Riverhouse on the Deschutes, 3075 N Hwy 97

Builders can also learn more about the new code on the Building Codes Division website.

What key dates should I be aware of?

On December 1, 2017, Energy Trust New Homes will share a new modeling guideline on the verifier website, with user-defined reference homes.

The AXIS database will be updated to reflect the 2018 program and incentive design structure in mid-December. At that time, verifiers can input homes under the new program structure with the adjusted incentives and new code baseline to better understand the impact of code changes.

Homes can be submitted under the new 2018 incentive structure starting January 1, 2018. Processing of homes submitted under the new 2018 structure will begin on February 1, 2018.

The deadline for submitting homes under 2017 program standards is March 31, 2018. Starting April 1, 2018, all newly built homes must be entered into the database using the 2018 incentive structure.

For more information about incentive updates and effective dates, contact your New Homes trade ally coordinator at 1.877.283.0698.