Green practices in home building, remodeling, and land development have marked a shift in the way we live today. According to the National Association of Home Builders, an Energy Efficient Home is a home that uses less energy than a traditional home without compromising service to its occupants. These energy efficient new homes are designed to reduce energy bills, lower maintenance costs, increase the value of your home, reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy and water, be healthier and safer, qualify for tax rebates and incentives and create a comfortable living space for you and your family. Those are some serious perks!
WHAT MAKES THESE NEW HOMES ENERGY EFFICIENT?
Quality work and good materials have always been hallmarks of a well-built home, but an understanding of how a house operates as a system is essential in building an energy efficient home. For new homes, builders now have at their disposal a vast array of materials, components, appliances and techniques to achieve optimal efficiency. Newly built homes are significantly more energy efficient today thanks to:
Insulation plays a vital role in the whole house system as well as the preservation of a home’s longevity. Although existing homes can be “weatherized” and retrofitted to become more efficient, it often takes in-depth measures and can be somewhat costly. You can always change countertops and flooring, but there is no substitute for properly insulating a home the first time. The money saved from efficient insulation can actually pay for those new countertops or floors later on down the road, not to mention reducing the workload on your HVAC system.
Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of residential heating and cooling energy use, so it’s important to choose the most efficient windows you can afford that work best in your climate.
Today’s roofing utilizes materials to better reflect heat and light away instead of absorbing it.
Compact fluorescent bulbs can save up to 75 percent of the energy used for lighting compared to traditional incandescent bulbs.
Heating and Air
Heating and air account for nearly 56 percent of a household’s utility budget, but you can reduce this by investing in an energy efficient HVAC, as well as properly sealing ductwork to minimize air leakage.
Most toilets and faucets installed in new homes are certified to meet WaterSense criteria for water efficiency and performance.
WHAT’S THE HERS INDEX?
The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. It can tell you so much about the home you live in, like how efficiently it’s operating and where you can make modifications for greater energy savings. When you’re selling your home, a low HERS Index Score can command a higher resale price. And when you’re buying a home, you can anticipate the costs of energy bills and efficiency upgrades. 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. BAGI Builders tend to fall in the 60-75 range on this spectrum.
A home with a HERS Index Score of 70 is 30 percent more energy efficient than a standard new home
A home with a HERS Index Score of 130 is 30 percent less energy efficient than a standard new home
HOW HAS ENERGY EFFICIENCY EVOLVED?
Governments have been updating outdated codes to reflect the demands and changes for more sustainable development. These changes have been driven by both regulation and an enhanced public focus on energy efficiency, due to rising energy costs and an enhanced awareness of our daily environmental impact. Prior to the Indiana Energy Code taking effect in 2012, home energy standards weren’t being enforced or monitored. Builders have since dramatically changed their building process to not only comply with the code but to also ensure that they are truly providing the efficiency proclaimed to their customers. With these standards in place, builders submit a set of prints and design specifications for the new home to a third party evaluator who analyzes for energy efficiency before the home is even built. Inspections take place throughout the construction process to make sure all aspects of the new home continue to align with these high standards. Final reports from the third party energy inspection company then provide builders with a HERS rating score for each new home built.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN FOR YOU? SAVINGS!
New Home Source estimates that newly built homes save 3,449 kWh a year on average. That’s enough to power your washer for four years, your TV for 11 years, or your coffee maker for 32 years! New homes offer a lower net cost of ownership. While many home buyers focus on price and payments, factoring in your home’s energy consumption costs could save tens of thousands of dollars over years of ownership.
Whether your priority is to save money and energy, be more environmentally friendly, or create a comfortable home for your family (or all of the above!), BAGI members are committed to making sure your new home operates as efficiently as possible. Visit the BAGI website today at bagi.com to find a home, builder, or supplier that is right for you.