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Build an Energy Efficient Home with an EnergySmart Builder

Jun 20, 2012

It’s no secret that energy prices are going up. It’s also no secret that they’re probably going to keep on doing so for the foreseeable future. However, by building an energy efficient home with built-in energy saving features, you can not only reduce your energy costs and make your home more comfortable, but also minimize your impact on the environment.

Fact: 16% of all greenhouse gases produced in the U.S. come from homes

In fact, as awareness grows in America about the value of owning an energy efficient home, builders are flocking to meet the demand by constructing houses that encompass energy efficient features. The question is: how can homebuyers judge just how energy efficient a home is?

Cue the HERS® Index

The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET for short) created the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) to address exactly this problem. The HERS® Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured.

A standard new American home (construction) that meets current industry standards for energy efficiency is given a HERS® Index score of 100. This is the benchmark against which all other homes are measured. A lower the score means a more energy efficient home, while a higher score denotes the opposite. For example, a home scoring 140 on the HERS® Index is 40% less energy efficient than a new home; one that scores 80 is 20% more efficient. A typical resale home is rated at 130.

For a home to earn a HERS® Index score, an energy rating needs to be carried out by a certified RESNET Home Energy Rater.

The HERS® Index Score – a home’s version of a miles-per-gallon sticker

The great advantage of a HERS® Index score is that it brings a form of transparency to the real estate market. Homebuyers can use HERS® Index scores to do comparison-shopping of homes based on their energy efficiency. This gives them a better idea of the actual potential cost of homeownership (factoring in utility costs in addition to mortgage).

There’s also a key benefit for homebuilders, who can market their homes more effectively by using HERS® Index scores as major selling points. Add on to that the fact that many utility companies are now offering builders rebates based on their homes’ HERS® Index scores (the lower the score, the higher the rebate) and you’ve got a solid argument for building an energy efficient home.

An increased incentive for EnergySmart homebuilders

As growing numbers of Americans start to closely examine HERS® Index scores for houses before deciding to buy, homebuilders are also understanding the value of the RESNET Home Energy Rating System, and consequently introducing it as part and parcel of their selling technique. The benefits are easy to see:

  • Increased sales due to homebuyers getting a clear picture as to how energy efficient a home really is
  • Rebates from utility companies for building high energy efficient homes

As a result, more and more builders are getting RESNET qualified and establishing themselves as EnergySmart builders. By offering customers energy efficient homes, they not only see increased sales but also derive the satisfaction of knowing they’re building better housing that saves homeowners money, and helps protect the environment.