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2022 Recap: RESNET HERS® Index Builders of the Month

Dec 8, 2022

 

The class of the 2022 RESNET HERS Builder of the Month series includes custom builders averaging a couple of homes per year, to builders averaging over 700 builds, all with HERS ratings. The class covers 11 states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania). In addition, some builders have achieved zero energy and beyond, including one (Wright Builders) with a HERS Score on a recent build of -61.

Jessica Krason of Wright Builders says that as energy prices continue to rise, consumers should expect energy-efficient homes to save money. In addition, she notes that energy-efficient homes are much more comfortable than code-minimum homes, provide improved air quality and longevity, and can achieve a lower carbon footprint.

A HERS Score of course, can provide the homeowner with third-party verification of a home’s energy efficiency. Christian Jaeger of McStain Neighborhoods in CO says, “It provides a way to measure the efficiency of a McStain home against others in the market, so we can provide evidence to back up our efficiency messaging. For builders who aren’t utilizing HERS Index scores, we believe that raises a red flag in the mind of our customers. What are they hiding?”

In addition to a market advantage compared to others, Dan Torrington of Nicholson and Sun builds HERS homes because “At our core, Nicholson and Sun were formed to address our planet’s relationship with the sun. We are not a building company that adds on green features, we are a “green company” that has chosen to build homes because that is where we think our talents can have the greatest impact in helping curb climate change.”

Changing climates is an important factor to many of our featured Builders of the Month, both on a global and local level. Rachel Sabo of Allen Edwin Homes serving Michigan and Indiana explains, “As a home builder in the Midwest, our climate changes from cold winters to warm summers. The cost to heat and cool a home can become a big variable when looking to purchase a used home versus a new home. We educate our homeowners on the importance of understanding the total cost of homeownership when comparing homes. A HERS-rated home gives our buyers the confidence and understanding to know that the steps we take to ensure energy efficiency are going to be in their new Allen Edwin Home.”

Charlotte Little of Pennsylvania’s Musser Homes agrees. “We feel the long-term cost of home ownership is of more importance than the first cost. Energy consumption is the most significant long-term cost in home ownership. Building science has given us the tools to design and build high-performance homes. We feel it’s irresponsible just to build to meet minimum standards when we have the knowledge, experience, and ability to surpass those standards.

In a first for the Builder of the Month series, two builders profiled, Home Creations, and Colony Fine Homes in Oklahoma, build under two different brands. Colony Fine Homes serves the Oklahoma City metro area, builds between 100 and 200 homes per year, and boasts that its new homes have a HERS score between 47-54. Home Creations serving Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Chickasha, builds 650 to 700 homes per year, all with HERS Ratings. Chief Operations Officer MJ Farzaneh notes, “We care about the planet and want to help reduce the carbon footprint that gets left behind. Also, the weather in Oklahoma changes all the time and with extremely hot temperatures in the summer and record-breaking lows during the winter. Consumers should expect to have a well-built home that will save them on their electric bill.”

Since becoming an ENERGY STAR® partner, Florida’s Providence Homes has built more than 1,900 ENERGY STAR® homes helping Jacksonville families save over $7.5 million in energy bills. Providence Homes Vice President of Sales & Marketing Robert Goettlicher is proud of their efforts, saying “More and more consumers are expecting energy-efficient features in their homes and care more about the environment now than ever before. Providence Homes is staying on top of the future of energy-efficient homes in the marketplace.”

Nearby Georgia’s Ivey Homes built 257 homes in 2021 and are estimated to build 225 homes in 2022. Ivey Homes Sales and Marketing Director Caroline Ashe A home is not only a place to make memories with family but also an investment and helps build wealth. An energy-efficient HERS-rated home is a piece of the wealth builder. If the home is more energy efficient and better built, then the value is more protected. It markets HERS and energy efficiency via IveyWise. The builder’s program educates homebuyers why an Ivey home is more energy efficient, better built, and healthier for them and their family.

Another proud builder is Arizona’s Mandalay Homes. Mandalay Homes is the winner of the RESNET President’s Award of the 2022 Cross Border Challenge. The average HERS Index Score of homes built by Mandalay Homes was 20.4 and was the lowest average HERS Index Score for all builders who built over 50 homes in 2021. Mandalay Homes builds around 250-300 HERS-rated homes a year and markets energy efficiency via its benefits: cost of ownership, health, durability, and comfort. In the end, those are the things that matter to the buyer, says Chief Technology Officer Stefan Orenda.

We rounded the year with another award winner, Zero Net Now. Zero Net Now of Esopus, NY is a multiple-year winner of RESNET Cross Border Challenge contests, including US Net Zero Builder, Lowest HERS Score (US Low Volume Builder), and the US Enbridge Innovation Award, featuring the most innovative measure to lower your HERS score. Zero Net Now founder Anthony Aebi believes their homeowners should have the best performing home and be able to have metrics that prove that. They routinely achieve Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores of under 10 with photovoltaics, or under 40 when renewable energy is not counted in the scoring. He says their customers “like the low number and the fact that at least one of my homes gets to brag every year that RESNET gave their home an award for the lowest pre-renewable HERS score in the country. They also appreciate really low or no energy bills.”

As we head into the fourth year of the Builder of the Month profile series, we at RESNET are pleased to continue to see how builders of all volumes, from across the country, are using the HERS Index to serve their customers, and the environment, while helping to lead the path to net-zero energy future. Stay tuned for more builder profiles in 2023.

Read the complete profile series at https://www.hersindex.com/articles/2021-recap-builders-of-the-month/