Homebuilder associations here are promoting a voluntary energy conservation program for their members which they say will meet or surpass current national and local requirements for insulation, windows, doors, caulking and other conservation measures.
The so-called "E7 program" was begun two years ago by the Suburban Maryland Home Builders Association and was adopted last year by builder associations in the District and Northern Virginia.
More than 30 building firms here are now believed to be adhering to the program in 58 subdivisions, said Cecil Boyer, president of the Northern Virginia association. He said the E7 program is cost-efficient and is based on a seven-year payback for money spent on energy conservation procedures.
Developed by adapting guidelines prepared by the research arm of the National Association of Home Builders to this area's climatic conditions, the E7 program was originated under the leadership of Martin Poretsky, then president of the suburban Maryland group.
He said the voluntary approach offers assurance to home buyers that E7-labeled houses meet basic standards "without the need for expensive bureaucratic control and additionally burdensome regulations."
Requirements for participation in the E7 program are spelled out in a 33-page booklet. Detailed requirements are laid out in sections devoted to insulation, windows and doors, sealants and caulking, heating and air conditioning equipment and systems and domestic hot water and water flow conservation.
Insulation, for instance, is required in ceilings over conditioned spaces, on side walls surrounding conditioned space, around concrete slab perimeters and in side walls or undersides of floor of unvented crawl spaces. It is also required for exposed basement walls and band joists, interior walls separating conditioned spaces from unconditioned spaces (such as a garage) and on ceilings of unconditioned spaces separting conditioned spaces.
The guide states: "All spaces shall be considered conditioned spaces when they have a heat source capable of maintaining at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit."
In addition to qualifying for display of the E7 logo on their houses, participating builders also may qualify for energy-saving "star" for exceeding normal program requirements. Stars are given for each 30 points. For instance, R-16 insulation or greater in exterior walls rates 30 points; clock thermostats used in conjunction with fossil fuels rate 15 points; solar hot water heaters rate 30 points and solar space heating 60 points. Triple window glazing is awarded 30 points as are fireplaces with outside air sources and glass doors.