SWA Project is 2015 RESNET Cross Border Challenge Winner

The Benker Residence, a Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) project has received the award for the lowest HERS (Home Energy Rating System) score with photovoltaics (PV) in the RESNET 2015 Cross Border Challenge, presented by RESNET (the Residential Energy Services Network) and its Canadian counterpart, CRESNET (the Canadian Residential Energy Services Network). Bob Dykins, of Glastonbury Housesmith, the builder of the Benker Residence was presented this award at the 2015 RESNET Conference on February 16, 2015 in San Diego.

Steven Winter Associates provided consulting services for the award-winning project through their role as ENERGY STAR® rater, LEED® for Homes™ provider and rater, and National Green Building Standard (NGBS) verifier. SWA is also guiding the team through the EPA Indoor airPLUS and Water Sense labels, DOE Zero Energy Ready Home certification, CT Zero Energy Home Challenge, and nominated the builder for this award.

The 2015 Challenge offers a total of seven builder awards; of which, five are based on homes with the lowest HERS Index Score in their category. The HERS Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured in the US and Canada. It is also the nationally recognized system for calculating home energy predicted home energy usage. The index is based on an assessment by a certified HERS Rater who evaluates the energy efficiency through inspections, performance testing, and an energy model. The lower the home’s HERS Index the more energy efficient the home. The challenge is set in place to promote the utilization of the HERS Index and energy efficient home building in the US and Canada.

The Benker Residence, located in Glastonbury, CT, earned a HERS score of -23, achieving the award for lowest HERS score with PV, while a New York residence won lowest score without PV by earning a HERS score of 26. Some key efficiency measures of the Benker Residence include: aggressive thermal envelope with geothermal heating and cooling, a heat-pump water heater, and an energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system. The home tested < 0.6 ACH50, installed many local, low-VOC materials and efficient appliances including a heat-pump clothes dryer. Prior to PV being installed the HERS Index was 30; the PV panels mounted on a tracking system is anticipated to supply 22,341 kWh annually, resulting in the final HERS Index of -23.

The Canadian Residential Energy Services Network (CRESNET) is a Canadian national, non-profit corporation that was formed in March 2007. After entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with RESNET, CRESNET was given the exclusive right in Canada to use and adapt all the standards of RESNET.

The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) is the independent, national nonprofit organization that homeowners trust to improve home energy efficiency and realize substantial savings on their utility bills. RESNET’s industry-leading standards are recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

About Steven Winter Associates, Inc.
Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) provides research, consulting and advisory services to improve commercial, residential and multifamily built environments for private and public sector clients. The firm specializes in energy, sustainability and accessibility consulting as well as certification, research & development and compliance services. SWA’s engineers and architects have led the way since 1972 in the development of best practices to achieve high performance buildings. For more information, visit

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