Many Builders are Getting Away with Vague Statements
Many builders use the term “energy-efficient” to describe their homes when in fact they include very limited energy efficiency features or appliances. Don’t be fooled. Get a builder who takes energy-efficiency beyond the typical bare minimum by using holistic energy saving techniques at every stage of home design and construction. From the foundation to the roof, ensure your builder gives customers the benefit of one of the most comprehensive standard features lists that include unmatched energy efficient elements to deliver high energy efficiency and lower utility bills.
Make Sure Your Home is Efficient
A good energy efficient home has energy efficiency built in from the ground up. Wider exterior walls and attics sealed with spray foam or cellulose insulation, argon filled windows, hybrid water heaters and LED lights are just some of the features that should be included to achieve the highest energy efficiencies possible. In a nutshell, every aspect of the design and construction places a premium on energy efficiency.
Most builders provide the bare minimum when it comes to energy efficiency and home designs, so don’t be fooled by their elaborate display of standard stuff. If you are using a decent energy efficient builder, it should be the cornerstone of everything they do. A quick comparison of Standard Features from a good energy efficient homebuilder to those of the typical new home builder should show the difference.
Also, if the builder is truly looking to go all the way with it and takes it one step farther by offering the option for Net-Zero Energy Homes that can produce as much energy as they consume, solar will be an option. Achieving this requires a combination of:
- Energy-saving home designs
- Holistic Energy saving techniques at every stage of the construction process
- Energy-efficient appliances
- An integrated Solar Voltaic power system
The result is a home that costs less to operate while being Eco-Friendly for a truly Green Lifestyle.
How to Verify Builder HERS Ratings for New Homes
Buyers of new homes serious about energy efficiency should look for HERS ratings when considering purchasing or building with a builder. The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is the nationally recognized scoring system for measuring a home’s energy performance. A HERS Index score can be determined for any home, newly constructed or existing, based on the results and analysis conducted by an authorized RESNET Home Energy Rater. The rater uses highly specialized equipment to measure the energy efficiency based on established guidelines to determine the score. It is an intensive process and a bit costly but the expense is easily offset by the energy savings for homes that achieve better scores.
On the HERS rating scale, the lower the score the more energy efficient the home. A score of 0 means the house achieves Net-Zero producing as much energy as it consumes through superior energy efficient design and construction, and some form of energy generation (typically an Integrated Photovoltaic Solar System.)
A HERS rating is specific to the house. Even though a builder may construct a home from the same plans, location, variables in materials and construction conditions, and other factors create unique conditions. It’s important for buyers of new homes interested in energy efficiency to confirm their builder obtains a HERS rating for every home they construct. Some may obtain a HERS rating for one home built from a plan offering and use that HERS rating for others constructed. This does not provide a true HERS Rating Score.
You should make sure your builder conducts a HERS Rating Score for every home it builds. Buyers should be provided a copy of the report that clearly shows it is for the specific house they are buying. In most cases, the basic Energy Efficient home should have a HERS rating lower than the standard non-energy efficient new home from most builders. Adding a Solar System to a highly energy-efficient design and construction, can take the score to ZERO for the ultimate in energy-efficiency: a Net-Zero Home.
The best way to know the energy efficiency for a specific house is to ask for a specific HERS Rating Score.
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David WB Parker is a principal of Parker Associates of Jacksonville, Florida, marketing consultants to the real estate industry; President of PTC Computer Solutions, IT Specialist, and an active real estate sales professional with Barclay’s Real Estate Group based in Jacksonville, FL. He can be reached at 904-607-8763 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.