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 Home > Fla Residential > Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about FlaRes and ResFREE

The following frequently asked questions provide general information on Florida Residential EnergyGauge products and their uses. Solutions to technical problems experienced in attempting to install or use the software are not covered on this page but, rather, are covered on our Support page under Software Support. In addition, an extensive glossary of energy-efficiency, economic and real estate terminology may be found on our sister Ratings site.


Contents:

Q. What is FlaRes?

A. FlaRes is Florida's residential energy code compliance software tool. All new residences constructed in Florida must comply with Florida's energy code, which is slightly more restrictive than the national Model Energy Code (MEC). While it is possible to comply with Florida's building codes using forms that are filled out by hand, FlaRes software is the method of choice in Florida by a margin of about 9 to 1.

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Q. What is ResFREE?

A. ResFREE stands for Residential Florida Ratings for Energy Efficiency. ResFREE is the authorized software for Florida's Home Energy Rating System (HERS) and is a companion software to Florida's residential energy code compliance software (FlaRes). Since Florida's building energy rating systems are controlled by Florida Statute and Florida Administrative Code (Rule 9-B60) to be uniform across the state, the only authorized means of obtaining a home energy rating in Florida is through ResFREE software.

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Q. What is a Home Energy Rating?

A. A Home Energy Rating is an evaluation of the energy-efficiency of a home using a uniform method of comparing the Rated home's energy-efficiency with national standards for envelope efficiency and heating, cooling and hot water equipment efficiency. The national standard configuration is called the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Reference Home. Its estimated energy use is used as the basis for comparison with the Rated home's estimated energy use. From this energy comparison a relative score, called the HERS Score is computed. The HERS score scale extends from 0 to 100, with a score of 100 indicating zero purchased energy use. A HERS score of 80 or greater indicates compliance with the 1993 national Model Energy Code (MEC) and a HERS score of 86 indicates qualification for the EPA Energy Star® label.

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Q. Where do I get the free information brochure "Thinking About Buying a New Home"?

A. This free information brochure that describes Florida's Building Energy Rating System is available in multiple copies from the Florida Energy Gauge Support Office. An e-mail message to info@energygauge.com containing your full mailing address and the requested number of copies is sufficient to have the brochures shipped to you. If you only need one or a few copies of the brochure, it is also available below online in Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) suitable for printing on 8-1/2" x 14" legal sized paper. If you do not have Acrobat's free reader you may download it by clicking on the link given below.

Acrobat Portable Document Format  Download "Thinking about Buying a New Home"
  (PDF format)

Get Free Acrobat Reader   Download Acrobat's Free Reader

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Q. Who can purchase FlaRes and ResFree?

A. Anyone can purchase FlaRes. Only certified Florida Raters may purchase ResFree.

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Q. What is the difference between FlaRes and FlaCom?

A. FlaRes computes and provides compliance reports for Florida residential building code compliance and FlaCom computes and provides compliance reports for Florida Commercial building code compliance. They are different software products and must be purchased separately.

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Q. Can I use other software to comply with Florida's energy codes?

A. No, you must use FlaRes for residential building code compliance applications and FlaCom for commercial building code compliance applications. These code compliance softwares have been adopted by Florida Administrative Code (Rule 9-B13) as the only authorized software for code compliance in Florida.

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Q. Must I use the same R-values and efficiencies as in the baseline examples given in the EnergyGauge software?

A. No, absolutely not! Method 600A, which is the method utilized by EnergyGauge software, is performance based. This means that you can use any material R-values, and equipment efficiencies as long as the e-Ratio generated when all inputs are complete is less than or equal to 1.0.

There are however, certain minimum efficiencies which need to be satisfied by the Florida Energy Code. The SEER of the cooling system must be 10.0 or greater and attic insulation must be at least an R-19. The efficiency of the water heating system must meet the minimum requirements for the number of storage gallons. (You can find the water heater requirements in Table 6-12 of the Florida Energy Efficiency Code.)

Use the HELP menu in the software to access the Florida Energy Efficiency Code to find answers to specific requirements necessary to meet the code.

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Q. Must I use windows with a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of 0.40 or less?

A. No, you may use any type of windows you wish as long as your proposed home does not exceed the point total of the baseline home. The baseline home, which is the geometric "twin" to your proposed home, uses windows with a total area equal to 18% of the conditioned floor area that are equally distributed in all orientations with SHGC = 0.40. You may use less efficient windows than this and then "make up for" the efficiency difference elsewhere in your proposed home in many other ways, including: adding roof overhangs to your home design, improving the orientation of your home, increasing the efficiency of other envelope components, providing leak free duct systems, upgrading the heating, cooling or hot water equipment efficiencies beyond the minimum standards, or by using renewable energy resources like solar hot water systems.

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Q. Our company has 4 code compliance specialist with computers. Can they all share one copy of the software?

A. No, I am afraid not. This software is sold with a single-user license. That means that it may be installed legally on only one PC at a time. Multiple people may use that PC, but if the same software purchase is installed on more than one PC at any given time, then the purchaser of the software is in violation of the software's copyright.

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Florida Solar Energy Center
EnergyGauge® is a registered
U.S. Trademark of the
University of Central Florida (UCF)
1679 Clearlake Road
Cocoa, FL 32922-5703
(321) 638-1492
© FSEC, 2012
All rights reserved
Revised: February 16, 2012