by Christy Heitger-Ewing

When building a new home, energy efficiency is influenced by many factors. According to Joe Garcia, owner of G&G Custom Homes, Inc., homes are rated from 0 to 100 by using the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) index, so the little things add up.

“Like a golf score, the lower the number, the better,” says Garcia. “Inefficient older homes will be closer to 100 while Net Zero homes that don’t use any outside utilities come in at 0. Efficient homes fall into that 50-60 range.”

The energy efficiency of insulation measures with an R-value. “You get higher R-values with better insulation, which, in turn, gives you better utility values,” says Garcia.

LED bulbs are 80 percent more efficient than standard light bulbs, and ENERGY STAR appliances use less electricity – and water in the case of washing machines and dishwashers. In addition, tankless, on-demand water heaters use 30-50 percent less energy.

Homeowners are wise to choose Low-E, double-paned windows, which provide a 12 percent savings on the utility bill. Another smart choice, Garcia maintains, is the Geothermal HVAC system, as it uses energy stored in the ground to heat and cool your home. Though this system is more money up front, it pays for itself over the life of the home.

“I always tell people that if you’re willing to pay more for granite because of the look, consider paying more for these higher efficiency systems because you’ll start seeing your savings on a yearly basis,” says Garcia.

If you are interested in building a more energy efficient home, schedule a free consultation with G&G Custom Homes and get your questions answered by visiting their website at or calling 317-418-7665.