The Touchstone Energy Home breakdown: What happens, and who does it

If you’ve spent any time around, you know that the Touchstone Energy Home standards bring a lot of energy efficiency to homes. So much so that they can cut energy bills nearly in half. And we hope you know about all the rebates we offer to support those energy-efficiency standards.

But do you really know what goes into a Touchstone Energy Home? Unless you’ve been through the process, as a homeowner or a contractor, you probably don’t. So we’re here to help. Here’s an overview of what we expect from the various contractors who contribute to your building project:

Electrical contractors need to pay special attention to:

  • Caulking (“If you cut it; caulk it.”)
  • Wiring pulls through studs, top and bottom plates, and perimeter wall corners—seal the holes around the wires.
  • Caulking all electrical boxes to the drywall.
  • Ensuring all can lights are airtight, IC-rated and sealed to drywall with gasket, caulk, or foam.
  • Optional: ENERGY STAR appliances, fixtures and bulbs are preferred but not required.

Plumbing contractors need to pay special attention to:

  • Caulking (“If you cut it; caulk it.”)
  • Insulation and air sealing behind and around tubs and showers.
  • Caulking or foaming the plumbing penetrations through studs, top and bottom plates, and walls.
  • Installing electric tank or electric heat pump water heaters, minimum 40-gallon size and must be located in conditioned space.

HVAC contractors need to pay special attention to:

  • “Build tight; ventilate right.” Following ASHRAE 62.2 standards for calculating proper ventilation.
  • Installing air source or geothermal heat pumps for heating/cooling.
  • Sizing HVAC equipment by using ACCA standards.
  • Geo minimum efficiencies are (per AHRI rating):
    Closed Loop: COP 3.3 and EER 14.1
    Open Loop: COP 3.6 and EER 16.2
  • ASHP minimum efficiencies are (per AHRI rating):
    HSPF 9.25 and 15 SEER
  • Sealing ductwork by using mastic and mesh or UL-181A tape at all joins; it will be tested to ensure leakage of ?4 cfm to outdoors/100 sq ft of conditioned space.
  • Following our specifications about using stud cavities to move air.
  • Installing ducts in conditioned space.
  • Using smooth-walled pipe for kitchen and bath exhaust.

We’re picky about the standards that go into a new home. Not because we’re hard to get along with but because we want our homeowners to have the comfort and lowered energy bills that a Touchstone Energy Home ensures. Skip the details, and you see the effects on your energy bills.

Attention to detail really pays. We’d love to tell you more, whether you’re interested in owning a Touchstone Energy Home or building one. Contact your local electric co-op to find out more.