Step inside a top-performing EPS home

It’s one thing to build an energy-efficient home. It’s another to earn a standout EPSTM. With more than 13,000 homes receiving an EPS since 2009, this popular rating system from Energy Trust is transforming the market. EPS measures homes based on energy performance—the lower the score, the more efficient the home. What makes these highly efficient EPS homes so special? Let’s peer behind the walls and take a closer look.

  • Advanced framing is a great place to start. For a superior EPS, double-stud walls with at least 8-inch thickness are the standard. Thicker walls allow for continuous insulation, which helps to prevent thermal bridging. They also enable you to make the leap from R-23 to R-30 wall insulation, which can improve your EPS when combined with R-60 ceiling insulation.
  • Pay careful attention to air sealing. A simple design with minimal nooks and crannies decreases air leakage so you won’t waste energy. Air leakage below 2.5 ACH is optimal. Being diligent about plumbing, wiring and framing penetrations in the envelope is another key consideration when it comes to preventing air leakage.
  • While tightly sealed homes are more efficient, they do require ventilation to ensure comfort and good air quality. Top-performing homes handle this balancing act by incorporating heat recovery ventilation to introduce fresh air and improve climate control, while supporting efficient energy use.
  • Tight, well-insulated homes are also ideal for ductless heat pumps. In our mild climate, these high-efficiency zonal heating systems can provide all the heat energy a home needs at a low cost. For heating and cooling systems that require ductwork, it’s best to have ducts inside a conditioned space. This reduces the loss of conditioned air and heat outside of the home’s envelope.
  • Lastly, solar often plays an important role in top-scoring EPS homes to offset energy use. A 3-kilowatt solar electric system can lower a home’s score by approximately 10 points and help homeowners move toward net-zero energy use.

Energy Trust offers incentives and resources to help you achieve the best possible EPS for your homes. Talk to a verifier about EPS or call the Energy Trust trade ally coordinator at 1.877.283.0698 for more information.