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Comfort...Your family deserves it.

Comfort Advantage Logo From the beginning, Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association is providing these recommendations for building your new Comfort Advantage Home. You can now enjoy home comfort and save dollars, too. Here's how. Saving Energy Dollars Comfort Advantage Homes include energy-efficient features that work together as a system to ensure quality living. The electric heat pump or geothermal system, combined with a properly designed and sealed duct system, assures even comfort throughout your home. Construction recommendations for insulation, infiltration control and windows will help control energy use without sacrificing comfort. Planning Ahead Planning ahead to include energy-efficient features in your home will save construction dollars as well as energy dollars. Avoiding costly last-minute changes can reduce valuable construction time. Asking the Right Questions Communication with your building contractor, subcontractors or suppliers is critical in building the home you desire. Knowing the right questions to ask about energy-related home products and construction standards will simplify the decision-making process. Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association offers recommendations for home comfort and efficiency.

Recommendations
Heating and Cooling:
New electric air-to-air heat pump or new ground source heat pump, properly sized. Ask about cooling efficiency ratings and heating efficiency ratings. Indoor and outdoor units should be listed as a matching system by ARI (Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute).
Insulation:
Attic (ceiling) R-30 or higher; walls R-13 between studs plus insulated sheathing; floors over unconditioned space R-19 or greater.
Windows and Doors:
Glass area is not to exceed 20 percent of the floor area. Windows are double pane, and doors accessing unconditioned space or outdoors are foam-core insulated type or solid wood. Recommendation: window overhangs.
Water Heater:
Electric water heater. Recommendations: heat traps and heat recovery device; heat pump water heater.
Attic Ventilation:
A balanced and adequate combination of continuous ridge and continuous soffit ventilation, or equivalent.
Air Sealing:
Sealed areas include wiring and plumbing penetrations on exterior walls, floors and attics; shim spaces around exterior windows and doors; sole plate; top plate; band joists between floors; and where building envelope components join. Tightly fitting fireplace damper.
Duct System:
Properly designed, installed and insulated duct system; sealed joints; only limited runs of flex duct. Mastic sealing and R-6 or higher duct insulation are highly recommended.
The Right Questions:
1. How does my air-to-air heat pump rate on efficiency?
Higher efficiency ratings for air-to-air heat pumps indicate lower cost of operation. Approximate ranges are: SEER (cooling efficiency) from 11 to 17; HSPF (heating efficiency) from 6.8 to 9.1.
2. What is the efficiency of my ground source heat pump?
Higher efficiency ratings for ground source heat pumps indicate lower cost of operation. Approximate ranges are: EER (cooling efficiency) from 11 to 17; COP (heating efficiency) from 2.9 to 4.9. EER and Seer are not comparable. Ground source is more efficient.
3. How will the size of my heat pump be determined?
Heat gain/loss calculation should be performed by the dealer according to Manual J standards.
4. How many bags of blown insulation should be in my attic?
The chart on each bag will indicate the number of bags for the square footage of your attic floor (according to R value). See manufacturer's specification sheet, and compare to bag chart during installation. Count bags.
5. What is the energy factor of my water heater?
Standard storage water heaters: .90 energy factor or higher. Heat pump water heaters are more efficient, and geothermal water heaters are most efficient.

Comfort Advantage is a recognized standard for energy-efficient construction and quality products for the home. If you are interested in building a Comfort Advantage home, or would like to have more information on making your existing home more energy-efficient, please give us a call or visit our office.

© 2009 Southwest Mississippi EPA • P.O. Box 5 • Lorman, MS 39096 • (800) 287-8564