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ACCA 12 QH Is THE Home Performance Standard

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I was sitting in a learning lab at ACCA 2014 this past March; the presentation title was Home Performance is Ours. Neat. As I sat there listening, I was impressed at how the two presenters (both HVAC contractors) had developed independent, yet similar, business models to position their companies to provide comprehensive home evaluation and performance improvement to their clients.

But I was also surprised by another aspect of their businesses: both companies essentially comply with the contents of the ACCA 12 QH Standard. And they didn’t even know it!

What Is QH?
Quality Homes. The ANSI/ACCA 12 QH (Home Evaluation and Performance Improvement) Standard became an American National Standard in 2011. It contains the minimum requirements for identifying existing deficiencies (the audit), evaluating and comparing the improvement possibilities, presenting same to the client, developing the work scope, performing the agreed-upon work, and ensuring that the performance improvement objectives were met.

Like ACCA’s other quality standards, any contractor can use the QH Standard as a how-to guide to ensure that they are delivering quality work to their clients.

One of the best aspects of the QH Standard is that it covers the entirety of a home performance project. If a contractor has the in-house ability to do the whole project, following it is like following a checklist.

But if any portion of the work is subcontracted out, well at least you still have one document that everyone is working from. That means that subcontractors know exactly how their portion of the project fits in with the others. For projects as complicated as improving the overall performance of a home, having everyone on the same page is indispensable.

Our Ongoing Commitment
ACCA’s consensus standards establish the minimum core capabilities and competencies required of indoor environment and energy efficiency professionals. We’re committed to ensuring that our standards continue to reflect sound industry practices. It’s the guiding principle behind the entire Quality Initiative.

After obtaining initial ANSI approval, we received suggestions from industry stakeholders to improve the standard so that it could be better implemented. So, beginning in December 2012, ACCA worked closely with a committee of 25 experts from throughout the home performance industry on the first revision of the QH Standard. The QH Advisory Committee members reviewed the initial stakeholder input, as well as provided their own comments on how to improve the existing standard.

The revision focused on the following:

  • Ensuring that the normative portion of the standard contained only the minimum requirements,
  • Identification and reference of proper industry-recognized practices and procedures,
  • Testing tolerances were adequate for in-field implementation.

Revision Complete
In total, the QH Standard underwent three public reviews, in which reviewers offered comments to improve the draft even further. Each individual comment was reviewed and commenters were engaged for clarification. Many proposed changes merited inclusion.

What does the improved ACCA 12 QH contain? The basics steps to completing a home performance improvement project are still present, but some of the bigger changes are the following:

The content of normative Appendix A (Building Auditing Procedures) has been reshuffled in order to better align with the flow of the procedures in Section 3 (Comprehensive Performance Audit);

All referenced procedures were evaluated to ensure that they are still acceptable – some were removed, while some new ones were added;

Various original requirements were found to be beyond minimum requirements, and were thus moved to the informative Appendix B (Additional Elements for Home Audits);

The Pertinent Bibliography and Resources was updated to provide current information.

Make It Your Standard
HVAC contractors’ close and trusted relationships with their clients mean that they are well-positioned to enter the home performance market. All you need is a little help, and that’s why ACCA is here. In addition to providing you with the industry standard for evaluating and improving the performance of a home (free download at, ACCA offers a building performance track at our annual conference, a dedicated council (Building Performance Council,, and an annual forum (Building Performance Forum,

I encourage anyone interested in offering this type of service to their clients and community to check out the resources we have available for you. That way you can truly make home performance yours.

Luis Escobar

Posted In: ACCA Now, Technical Tips

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