The Biggest Mistakes in California’s Affordable Development Projects

energy efficiency planning, energy planning in California, energy planning guidance in California, energy planning consultants California, Energy Consulting Services

Some might say that the biggest mistake that a developer could make when it comes to an affordable housing project would be to take the entirety of the funds allocated for the project and bet them on roulette.  Maybe 50/50 odds aren’t that bad?

Now, as far as E3 California is concerned, there are a few more “innocent” planning and building mistakes that are easy to overlook and are likely to hit a budget very hard. You surely won’t lose all of your funds, but they will definitely impact the bottom line – which is a shame considering how easily they can be avoided.

As you may have guessed by the blog you’re visiting, these risks have to do with energy efficiency planning and HERS testing. In this post, we will discuss a few impactful mistakes a developer can make when approaching the energy efficiency design. By the end, you should be reminded of several common pitfalls that a developer can face and the best solution for surpassing these risks.

The plans don’t fit

It is very common for the selected energy systems in the construction documents to be sound in principle, but in practice they are installed in a way that changes the outcome. A great example of this is HVAC systems, where a single duct turn that is not included on the plan set can make the whole system from there on non-compliant. Errors in layout are frequent, so to circumvent this, the layout should be designed in a matter to incorporate contingencies. 

An energy consultant is the perfect solution to this problem; they understand the implementation process of energy systems as well as the energy code that will govern their success. This means that bringing on an energy consultant mitigates this risk. 


Materials and methods

The standards of materials and methods of installation differ depending on the style of building, so what has worked in the past may not work for your current project. This is important to note in order to pass HERS inspections the first time over – if the proper training has not been provided to the installers, they may use methods that are noncompliant which will ultimately incur additional time and material costs plus retest fees for compliance. 


Poorly timed inspections

To begin, knowing which inspections are mandatory and when inspections need to happen are an absolute must for the success of the project. There have been more than a few cases in which the installers are moving quickly and playing catch up to keep to a schedule and as a result construction continued overtop of a system before it had been inspected. The outcome? Drywall gets removed, insulation gets damaged and the entire process has to begin again under the watchful eye of a HERS rater for required inspections.

On top of this, a poorly timed inspection can hold back construction and the project’s schedule. Having a team of subcontractors waiting on an inspection with nothing else to do is a big misstep, and one that can be easily avoided by reviewing the build schedule early with the HERS Rater.

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