Gayathri Vijayakumar Appointed as Chairwoman of the RESNET Standards Development Committee 300

March 8, 2018

The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) Standards Management Board has appointed Gayathri Vijayakumar of Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) to serve as Chairwoman of the RESNET Standards Development Committee 300 (SDC 300). The SDC 300’s primary function is to oversee and amend RESNET’s Mortgage Industry National Home Energy Rating System Standard, as well as provide oversight of the ANSI/RESNET/ICC Standard 301 and the ANSI/RESNET/ICC Standard 380, both of which are cited in the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Collectively, these standards govern how performance tests in homes are conducted and how an Energy Rating Index (ERI) that rates the energy performance of a residence is calculated. Similar to miles per gallon indicating the energy performance of a car, nationally recognized building energy performance standards are needed to ensure that the tests and calculations meet specific requirements for quality and consistency.

The skillset that Gayathri has developed throughout her career at SWA aligns with the specific knowledge necessary to lead this committee. Through SWA’s role as a RESNET Accredited Rating Quality Assurance Provider, Gayathri, a HERS Rater and RESNET QA Designee Delegate, has over twelve years of experience using RESNET standards to evaluate residential and multifamily buildings, with an emphasis on improving energy performance and integrating renewable systems. Gayathri is currently a member of an ASHRAE 62.2 multifamily working group and has also provided technical support to the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Multifamily High Rise Program for the past nine years.

During the onset of her consulting role to the EPA, Gayathri was given an opportunity to lead a RESNET multifamily working group in the development of guidelines tailored to the multifamily sector. Thanks to the hard work by the working group, the RESNET Board of Directors adopted the guidelines for multifamily energy ratings in August 2014, with the intention that they would one day become formal RESNET standards.

In June 2016, RESNET appointed Gayathri as Chairwoman of the SDC 300’s Multifamily Subcommittee and tasked her with that specific goal. As that effort required constant communication with the other subcommittee members, she was invited to join the SDC 300, and subsequently was nominated to serve as the Vice Chairwoman of the SDC 300 in 2017.

Under Gayathri’s current leadership as Chairwoman, the SDC300 will continue to revise and improve upon the technical standards that govern how we rate the performance of homes and apartments. Drawing upon her previous experience, a current priority is to modify those standards so that they better address the multifamily sector, including a significant change that will broaden the scope of these standards to include units in any height building.

“Calculating an energy rating for multifamily has always been like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole,” Gayathri explained. “We really want the current standards to work better for multifamily from all perspectives. The working group and subcommittee members therefore include software developers, raters that understand the implications of making this work in the field, and building scientists, who really understand how complicated multifamily buildings can be.”

The committee has already made great strides toward reaching this goal. In March, RESNET released a draft of the standards that have been updated to better accommodate multifamily. One of the drafts includes the expansion of ANSI/RESNET/ICC 301, which will open the market for HERS Raters to provide services to taller buildings. To learn more about these changes, click here.

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