BarrierEnergy – Santa Barbara

New Residential Construction Services

Services: Residential New Construction 

BarrierEnergy is your one-stop-shop for consulting, referrals, and assessments for your construction project. We can help, whether you want to improve the durability of your residential property, reduce energy costs, add value for re-sale, or improve your safety and comfort. 

Title 24 Compliance

Title 24 of the California Energy Commission (CEC) outlines energy efficiency standards for new, altered, and existing buildings in the state of California. California requires a minimum mandatory energy score, as well as mandatory compliance measures. Optional upgrades and tests can translate into compliance points. For more information, visit the CEC website.

HERS Raters

The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is used to test and enforce energy code standards set by the California Energy Commission. HERS Raters are private building inspectors who perform state compliance inspections and functional tests on residential and commercial buildings. Compliance testing has been legally required since 1974, and the codes are updated every couple of years. A HERS Rater is licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an HVACR (Heating, Ventilation, Air conditioning, Cooling, Refrigeration) technician. At BarrierEnergy, our certified HERS Raters are thoroughly trained on all new building codes and regulations.

 

Our Services

Recently, a new code cycle for building compliance in California was set as of 2019. In 2020, these standards go into effect. Our team offers over a decade of experience to help you keep up in a constantly changing work environment. BarrierEnergy’s goal is to keep your construction on schedule and compliant with energy standards. Furthermore, we can help you to decide what solutions will work best for your project and budget. Contact us to discuss your energy solution, assessment, and HERS rating needs.

Benefits

Energy efficiency saves money and resources for homeowners, contractors, and builders alike. As a result, energy bills are lowered, building systems last longer, creature comfort is improved, and construction projects are streamlined. Not to mention, performing these tests can earn you tax credits and rebates from the state. Since the implementation of efficiency, real estate value has improved and California has saved billions of dollars annually. Evidently, this clean energy model is sustainable for the economy as well as the environment.

CF1R

CF1R is the energy design, otherwise known as the “plan-set” for a building. First, the foundation for the energy efficiency requirements of the project must be outlined. Every detail must be planned and approved. Once this portion of a project is done, you will receive a certificate of compliance.

Solar Ready Area (SRA)

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Currently, all new or altered buildings in the state of California must have sufficient space for solar panel installation. A potential solar ready area is a large, relatively flat, empty space on the roof. This law was set as a precursor in the 2016-2019 code cycle. As of 2020, all new buildings will be required to have solar panels installed.

Installer Compliance Document

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After we have received your permit information, we will complete, register, and submit the necessary CF1R-ALT-02 form for your project. When the building inspector receives this, they will know your project is registered with BarrierEnergy as your HERS provider. Then, construction may begin!

E-Project Management

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We offer a simple solution to streamline our compliance process. If you opt in for this service, we will create an account to upload Title 24 data on your behlaf, as required by the state. Typically, CalCerts is our first choice, but Cheers is another alternative. For your convenience, you will not have to figure out how to navigate the software.

We offer that service so you do not have to worry about filing tedious records online. Plus, we pay all of the fees associated with data entry. BarrierEnergy will take care of the paperwork and data entry for your project, from beginning to end!

CF2R

Next, the construction project begins and fixtures are installed. This phase is the CF2R portion. Installation are certified, as our technicians test the quality and efficiency of building features. During this step, we will take care of filling out, signing, and uploading all Title 24 documents.

Building Walk Around

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On new job sites, the our team needs to identify the scope of work. The inspector will obtain information from every aspect of the project to determine what has been accomplished already, versus what needs to be done. The inspector will obtain information on the project through the building’s ‘plan set’, or title 24 report. This report is an energy calculation file with all information relevant to that job site including square footage, number of rooms, etc. The title 24 report is an all-encompassing document listing the features on a building, including all systems.

Existing Conditions

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When a building is still at its “rough” stage, only the foundation and framework has been erected. Before walls are made, wiring is put in, or other systems are installed, inspectors must make sure the framework is free of error. A visual inspection means visiting the job site and verifying that the interior structure has been installed properly, based upon state mandated codes. Some of these inspections include proper space for insulation and checking for gaps, etc.

Duct Leakage Testing At Frame

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Whenever a new HVAC system is installed, technicians must test the internal pressure of the ductwork. According to California’s energy efficiency laws, we have a legal obligation to ensure the duct system is tightly sealed.  If the pressure reading is not within approved guidelines, it is caused by excess air escaping from the ducts. As HERS Raters, this test is our specialty! For more information, visit our duct leakage testing page.

 

Air Flow

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The rate of airflow in ductwork is measured by calculating the output of the vents in cubic feet per minute (CFMs). Our technicians will perform this service with a duct blower. Airflow must be able to accomodate for the size of the building as well as its occupancy load.

Factors that effect airflow include duct size, design, insulation, wattage, and so on.

Electrical Set Up

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In order to optimize energy efficiency, the electrical power distribution system of a property must be carefully designed. Every system must keep in mind voltage requirements, load schedules, and energy metering. Depending on how large the business is, different energy systems have different needs.

So, the goal is to deisgn an efficient, yet cost effective Power Distribution System. We are the experts that will help you do just that, while adhering to California State efficiency requirements.

Lighting

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In order to meet energy efficiency guidelines, lighting systems must adhere to a specific “power allowance”. Using energy-efficient bulbs, such as LED, will allow you to stay within the allotted allowance. Another method of limiting waste is to install lighting controls such as movement detecting lights, automatic shut off schedules, and so on.

This stage is to verify that the  plan-set for lighting matches the installation.

Quality Insulation Inspection

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When a building is at “rough”, before drywall has been installed, it’s important to assure the insulation is installed properly. Firstly, a pre-insulation inspection will help determine the parameters of installation.

Then after installation, another inspection will certify the quality. This visual inspection involved making sure there are no gaps, the proper type of insulation is being used, etc.

Our QII services include a certificate of installation, plus inspections of infiltration sealing, installation, structural insulated panels (SIP), and insulated concrete form (ICF).

QII HERS inspections require much atention to detail. Let us make sure that insulation does not hold up your construction process, by communicating with the installer, builder, and contractor throughout the process.

Fenestration

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Fenestration refers to the arrangement of windows and doors on a building. For this service, a technician will first measure the dimensions. Physical dimensions are used for energy calculations.

California requires compliance with types, locations, numbers, and sizes of widows. Windows are surprising trap in a building project because it is often overlooked. Every wall and window transmits a certain amount of energy, or radiation, known as SHGC. Windows and doors must have specific value of transmission to be considered efficient. Factors in transmission include geothermal placement, reflection effectiveness, window tinting, and thermodynamics. Therefore, different kinds of windows and doors are required depending on the setting.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

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Internal air quality is a quantitative test that measures how much air is flowing in and out of a building. There must be adequate airflow based on how many occupants the building can hold and its size. This will control the levels of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

For this test, a technician will use an airflow meter to measure the flow of air in cubic feet per minute (CFM).

Refrigerant Charge Test

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If your home has a cooling component, i.e. a condenser, this test is required. The technician will determine if there are proper levels of coolant in the condenser itself. If there is less refrigerant than recommended at factory set level, the system is known as undercharged. Conversely, if there is too much refrigerant, the system is known as overcharged. The correct amount of coolant will assure that the cooling unit is functioning properly.

Ventilation Cooling

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If a cooling unit has a condenser, it is legally required to be tested. Using an aerometer, a mass airflow meter, the technician will measure the humidity, pressure, and temperature of the cooling unit. They will measure the volume of air being transferred in cubic feet per minute (CFMs) in order to determine how efficiently the AC unit is working. This service will prevent the cooling mechanism from freezing.

Envelope Air Sealing / Building Leakage

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A building envelope refers to the exterior construction of a building. Building leakage thusly, is how tightly a building is sealed as a whole. Air could be leaking into or out of a building from windows, doors, flooring, roofing, and so on. A tight seal is important because solving the problem will save money, comfort, and energy. At the same time, there must be sufficient ventilation to maintain air quality.

A duct blower is used to determine how much air leakage is coming from a building. If the testing results do not meet efficiency code standards, identitified leakage paths must be be sealed properly.

Space Conditioning Systems

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Heating and cooling systems provide temperature control for buildings. Because heating and cooling typically accounts for around half of a buildings’ entire energy usgae, they have efficiency requirements. Components of these systems include piping, pumps, coils, condensers, thermostats and so on. All these factors must be regulated. Layout, wattage, and airflow requirements ensure the capability of the space conditioning system.

Materials Quantity Variance (MQV)

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An essential part of HERS services is quality assurance. We will perform a materials quantity variance analysis to determine the efficiency of construction. MQV calculates the expected amount/cost of materials to be used for a project versus what is actually used. A large variance would signify some outlying issue, such as low quality materials, damage to materials by workers, improper installation, and so on.

Ducts in Conditioned Space

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Where ductwork is located can be just as important as how tightly it’s sealed, when it comes to efficiency. Often, ductwork is run through non-conditioned spaces, such as attics and other crawlspaces. The problem here is that temperature differences, between the inside and outside of the ducts, creates opportunity for energy waste. Thusly, there are many regulations regarding ductwork that is in conditioned versus non-conditioned space. For example, ductwork must be properly insulated in non-conditioned areas.

Fan Efficacy Verification

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To determine fan efficacy, the technician must first perform a fan watt draw test and an airflow test. FWD is an energy consumption test, in which, a fan watt meter will be attached to the conditioning unit in order to read how much energy it produces. Then using a duct blower, a technician will measure the airflow in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Efficacy is recorded as Watts/CFM. This formula is important because it verifies that the ductwork doesn’t have resistance to airflow.

Rating Equipment

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In order to verify that a piece of equipment is functioning correctly and according the manufacturers standards, it must be tested. Our technicians are certified by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) to do just that! If HVACR or water heating equipment is AHRI certified, you can trust it was installed in accordance with proper California Energy Commission standards.

Hot Water Systems

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Hot water systems must be inspected and serviced to ensure the water heater is working at the proper BTU rate (British Thermal Unit). BTU measures the amount of energy to heat one pound of water by 1 Degree Fahrenheit. Efficiency codes also regulate pipe insulation and water storage volume, among other various components of the HWS.

Return Duct Design

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All ducts have a return vent to balance air vents, or supply registers. Vents expel temperature controlled air into a building. Opposingly, the return vent pulls air from inside the building to take it back to the furnace or conditioner. This keeps air moving cyclically and evenly throughout a building.

It is our job to verify the return vent has been installed properly and the airflow is up to code. Certified HERS Raters will hook a flow hood up to the return vent in order to read the airflow.

Detailed Duct System Design

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If ductwork is not located in a conditioned space, temperature control will lose its potency. There are two ways to increase the efficiency of the heating and cooling system in this situation. Decreasing the duct surface area is one way to make up efficiency. In tandem with the use of insulation, ductwork can meet compliance codes. The effectiveness of insulation is measured by R-value, or how easily heat is able to passe through.

In order to claim compliance credits, the duct design must be listed on the plan-set, approved by proper enforcement, and installation must be certified by a HERS Rater. 

Fan Watt Draw: Energy Consumption Test

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To perfor this service, the technician must locate the air conditioning unit, otherwise known as forced air unit (FAU). It is usually located in either the attic or the basement. A fan watt meter will be attached to the conditioning unit in order to read how much energy it produces. Wattage readings are part of the data technicians need to determine airflow rates and efficiency.

CF3R

Lastly, the CF2R must be authenticated. CF3R is known as the certificate of verification because it verifies the HERS test results. Accordingly, the purpose of CF3R services are to confirm that all of the information from the CF2R is correct, (before or after walls are put in? when the building is at final). This legally binding document ensures consistency between our data files and the actualization of the building plan.

Project Status Report

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A Project Status Report lists the completion status of each necessary HERS component in a project. All pertinent information to the project will be listed, as well as what forms have been completed.  Periodically, we will update the PSR, which will note completed progress with a green dot. Enforcement agencies can access this report at any time, as it will be used by officials to authenticate Title 24 compliance.

Duct Leakage Testing At Final

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Using a duct blower, technicians test the internal pressure of ductwork to make sure it is tightly sealed. Testing ductwork will ensure its structural integrity.

Our technicians will verify the duct leakage test results when the construction project is at final. This will ensure that all the information in the CF3R is correct. For more information, visit our duct leakage testing page.

Air Flow Measurement At Final

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The rate of airflow in ductwork is measured by calculating the output of the vents in cubic feet per minute (CFMs). Airflow must be able to accomodate for the size of the building as well as its occupancy load.

Airflow will be double-checked once the construction project has reached it’s final stages. Once the walls and permanent fixtures have been installed, we want to verify the results of the first airflow test.

Quality Insulation Inspection At Final

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Our QII services include a certificate of installation, plus inspections of infiltration sealing, installation, structural insulated panels (SIP), and insulated concrete form (ICF).

For quality control purposes, the insulation installation will need to be re-verified at final.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) At Final

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Internal air quality is a quantitative test that measures how much air is flowing in and out of a building. There must be a certain amount of airflow based on how many occupants it can hold and the size of the building because of carbon dioxide. For this test, a technician will use an airflow meter to measure the flow of air in cubic feet per minute (CFM).

Our technicians will test IAQ at the beginning stages of a project, and once again at the end.

Materials Quantity Variance (MQV) At Final

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An essential part of HERS services are quality assurance. We will perform a materials quantity variance analysis to determine the efficiency of construction. MQV calculates the expected amount/cost of materials to be used for a project versus what is actually used. A large variance would signify some outlying issue, such as mow quality materials, damage to materials by workers, improper installation, and so on.

This is somethig we will check on during a project, and especially at the end of a project. Performing MQV at final gives an overrall picture of how successful a project was at staying on budget.

Refrigerant Charge Test At Final

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If your home has a cooling component, i.e. a condenser, this test is required. The technician will determine there are proper levels of coolant in the condenser itself. If there is less refrigerant than recommended at factory set level, the system is known as undercharged. Conversely, if there is too much refrigerant, the system is known as overcharged. The correct amount of coolant will assure that the cooling unit is functioning properly.

We will check the condensor at the start of a project, and again when the project is at final. At final, the walls have been errected and permanent fixtures have been installed. We do this to certify the CF2R test results.

Return Duct Design At Final

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All ducts have a return vent to balance air vents, or supply registers. Vents expel temperature controlled into a building. Opposingly, the return vent pulls air from inside the room to take it back to the furnace or conditioner. This keeps air moving cyclically and evenly throughout a building.

It is our job to verify the return vent has been installed properly and the airflow is up to code. Certified HERS Raters will hook a flow hood up to the return vent in order to read the airflow. This test will be performed at final to verify the results from the first test.

Detailed Duct System Design At Final

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If ductwork is not located in a conditioned space, temperature control will lose its potency. There are two ways to increase efficiency of the heating and cooling system in this situation. Decreasing the duct surface area is one way to make up efficiency. In tandem with the use of insulation, ductwork can meet compliance codes. The effectiveness of insulation is measured by R-value, or how easily heat is able to passe through.

In order to claim compliance credits, the duct design must be listed on the plan-set, approved by proper enforcement, and installation must be certified by a HERS Rater. We will perform this service again at the end of the project to authenticate passing results.

Ventilation Cooling At Final

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If a cooling unit has a condenser, it is legally required to be tested. Using an aerometer, a mass airflow meter, the technician will measure the humidity, pressure, and temperature of the cooling unit. They will measure the volume of air being transferred in cubic feet per minute (CFMs) in order to determine how efficiently the AC unit is working. This will prevent the cooling mechanism from freezing.

Our technicians will test again at final, to verify the CF2R test results.

More Services

In addition to compliance related services, we offer other miscellaneous tests and services. Take a look, and get a quote from us today!

Pre-HERS

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Before a Title 24 Report, or an architectural plan is drawn up, we must examine existing conditions. The Pre-HERS contains all the information about the job site before any work is done. Once the Pre-HERS form is filled out, the information is sent to a Title 24 consultant, and the project may be approved for a permit. 

Pre-HERS is an investment in your project, and clients typically save thousands overall. That’s because property values are maximized. We’ll help you to assess your budget and consult you about what you really need, and which upgrades will benefit you the most.

LEED Green Associate

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LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a global system for rating the environmentalism of buildings. As LEED Green Associates, we can get your project certified LEED. This extra level of certification will increase the value and environmental benefits of the property.

Through LEED you can also aquire points and credits for your project. We will help you choose which credits to pursue for the most payback. The amount of points obtained will determine which level of certification you are rewarded: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

Energy Star Certification

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Energy Star is another certification program, run by the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency). Buildings that score a 75 or higher on this scale, can qualify for this additional designation. All that you need is a licensed professional to sign off on your energy rating.

Buildings with the Energy Star stamp have higher market value while saving time and resources in the long run. It’s a great return on investment.

Energy Efficiency Audit

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We are licensed by ASHRAE to perform energy efficiency audits. A licensed technician will analyze all features of a home for efficiency. An energy audit provides and opportunity to assess what improvements could be made to make the building more efficient. After the suggested upgrades are made, you will see huge savings!

Not only will money and resources be saved, but creature comfort will improve. Plus, the value of your home will remain high, as quality will prevent damage. That is why we recommend this test is performed every year. We can identify and prevent major expenses, such as overworked HVAC systems that cause system collapse.

Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM)

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The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers an Energy Efficient Mortgage program to help make green energy upgrades affordable. You can save up to half a percent on your mortgage with certain providers if you pass California State Energy Efficient Mortgage guidelines. An opportunity to save tens of thousands of dollars when purchasing, selling, or refinancing your property is huge! In order to qualify, a HERS test and a building inspection will need to be performed in order to verify basic mandatory upgrades. This option is cost effective and easy

Energy Efficient Mortgages can also be used for upgrading new homes. In this instance, HERS Raters would be conducting a home energy assessment to help determine the cost effectiveness of upgrades. The expected savings from installing efficiency upgrades will offset the cost of the improvements. Based on these findings, the FHA approves an allocated amount towards energy efficient upgrades. Therefore, the FHA can guarantee an energy package loan to cover initial installation fees by lumping it in with the mortgage. Reach out to our experts for more information about this service.

PACE Loan / Special Programs

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PACE is one of the many programs that exist in California to help their residence afford energy-efficienct improvements. PACE loans are offered through government approved third parties. First, a  “special assessment” must be listed on your tax bill.

We know which programs will work best for you. Reach out to our experts today.

Commissioning

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Commissioning is everything involved in the planning process. Designing, documenting, scheduling, testing, adjusting, verifying, and training are all pieces of the Owner’s Project Requirements.

We manage the builders and owners entire project from the title 24 perspective. That begins in the planning stage and continues to the certification of occupancy by the Enforcement Agency.

Energy Efficient Tax Credit

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To incentivise energy efficinecy, the government offers many tax credit oppurtunities and programs.

For example, 45L is a tax credit that encourages the construction of energy efficient residential properties. Contractors may be eligible for a $2,000 tax credit per energy efficient unit. In order to qualify, a certified field technician must verify the efficiency of the dwelling unit(s) meets the programs standards.

To learn more about the special programs and savings you could qualify for, reach out to our expert team today.

Warranty Sign-Off

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If an appliance in your home has a current warranty, and it breaks, you would need a certified inspector to sign-off approval for replacing it. The reason is because warranties are not applicable in certain situations. The inspector would make sure that the appliance was installed properly according to California state law as well as according to the manufactures intructions. That way they can prove that the fault is due to the manufacturer.

Consulting

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An important element of what we do is to make sure your construction project matches the CF1R plan set. Projects go more smoothly when the architect, HERS Rater, and T-24 consultant discuss the project from beginning to end.

Consultations are free to you at any time when you choose BarrierEnergy. Throughout your project, we will advise you on how to keep progress on track. Advice we offer inculdes referrals, Q&A, compliance measures, and brand selection.

Home Inspection

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We are certified by the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) to perform home inspections. Home inspections are typically a part of real estate transactions, for example selling a home. A home inspection is also required to qualify for an Energy Efficiency Mortgage (EEM).

During a home inspection, the inspector will document every part of the home. The data they collect will be supported with picture evidence, and documented through an inpection report.

Miscellaneous Compliance Testing

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State codes enforce basic minimum requirements for efficiency. However, local codes can vary from area to area. There are federal and local special addendums and programs. 

Our technicians will work with the owner and builders to make sure every step of the construction process is done properly, given codes in certain municipalities.

Basic Health and Safety

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a maximum level for every toxin that could be found in a home. Toxins include carbon dioxide, radon, asbestos, mold, etc. Our inspectors will use different meters and atmospheric analyzers to ensure the general safety of the building.

If you are experiencing symptoms of sickness for no apparent reason, it may be a good idea to get this test done. Reach out to an expert at BarrierEnergy; we are here to protect your health.

Testing Solar Panel Installs

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If your building has solar panels they should be tested regularly. It is required to have them inspected upon installation. We can certify that they have been installed properly.

Thermostat Programming

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We offer indoor and outdoor climate control systems integration and programming. All thermostats must be programmed and the program must be known. This system dictates temperature conditions, security alarms, and time settings.

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