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Why Build an Energy Efficient Home?

May 23, 2013

It may seem like a strange question, why build an energy efficient home, but nevertheless, there are some people out there who are asking it. The case for energy efficient homes is pretty straightforward. They provide their owners with:

  • Financial savings due to reduced energy use
  • Higher home comfort levels and a better quality of life
  • Higher resale values

In addition to the reasons listed above, an energy efficient home is also better for the environment; for example, 16% of all greenhouse gases produced in the United States come from residential dwellings.

As the economy continues to struggle, many homeowners – and homebuyers – in their search to reduce costs, are becoming more aware of the benefits of energy efficient homes, which is why the demand for them has increased significantly. As a result, homeowners are getting their houses rated for energy efficiency in order to understand where they rank and what they need to do to improve. The Residential Energy Services Network’s (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance. When a certified RESNET HERS® Rater conducts an energy rating, it results in a HERS® Index Score for that home, based on its energy performance. The HERS® Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. The way it works is:

  • A certified RESNET HERS® Rater assesses the energy efficiency of a home, assigning it a relative performance score. The lower the number, the more energy efficient the home.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy has determined that a typical resale home scores 130 on the HERS® Index while a standard new home is awarded a rating of 100.
  • A home with a HERS® Index Score of 70 is 30% more energy efficient than a standard new home
  • A home with a HERS® Index Score of 130 is 30% less energy efficient than a standard new home

And the HERS® Index Score is like a MPG (miles-per-gallon) sticker for houses. It lets a homeowner know how energy efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes.

The next question is once you’ve decided to build an energy efficient home, how would you do it? As it happens, builders are doing just that – building energy efficient homes. Because demand is rising, increasing numbers of builders are entering into Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with RESNET to have their homes rated for energy performance. Buyers can then compare houses based on HERS® Index scores, allowing them to make informed decisions about homes they want to purchase.

When you look at all the facts, the answer to the question of why build an energy efficient home is simple really: because it’s the smart thing to do.