Energy Efficient Terms For the New Construction Home Buyer

Real Estate Agent with Serving Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Missouri City

When buying a brand new home, two words come to mind: Energy Efficiency.  

An excellent way to learn more about energy-efficient homes is to drop by a builder's sales office. They offer visual displays and can give you a crash course in "green" home construction.

Based on my frequent visits to the builder' sales offices, I snapped some photographs and wanted to share some basic energy efficient terms for new home buyers.


HERS Index:  This acronym stands for Home Energy Rating System.  It is the industry standard for measuring a home's energy efficiency.

The U.S. Department of Energy says 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

While home builders are required to meet the HERS industry standard of 100, many builders are using more "green" products to maximize the energy-efficiency of the home, thereby lowering the HERS Index Score.

A HERS index of 58 means the home is 42% more energy efficient than a standard new home.

      The lower the number, the more energy efficient your home is.                       


What Makes a Home ENERGY STAR? 

ENERGY STAR is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency. Builders must use at least 60 energy-efficient products in order for homes to earn the ENERGY STAR certification.

Homes that are ENERGY STAR have effective insulation systems to ensure even temperatures throughout the house while using less energy.  

Insulation is graded in terms of the "R-Value."  The higher the R-Value, the greater the insulating power.  

Spray foam insulation is considered the best:

  • Quieter than standard fiberglass insulation 

  • Reduces sound transmission through walls and attics

  • Reduces sound transmission from outside by more than 4000 times

  • Protects your family's health from dangerous molds, airborne pollutants and allergens

  • Studies show that 40% of your home's energy is lost due to air infiltration

Many attics are insulated with TechShield, also known as radiant barrier, that blocks up to 97% of the sun's heat resulting in cooler attics and lower monthly utility costs.

 Other energy-saving features include:

  • Tight construction and ducts - Builders use advanced techniques to ensure a tightly sealed home to improve indoor air quality while lowering utility and maintenance costs.

  • Efficient heating and cooling equipment - Uses less energy to operate, quieter, and helps reduce indoor humidity

  • Efficient Products - Energy-efficient lighting fixtures, compact fluorescent bulbs, ventilation fans and appliances offer additional energy savings

  • High Performance E-Vinyl Windows - Keeps heat in during the winter and keep heat out during the summer, while blocking damaging ultraviolet sunlight from entering your home.

                      Aluminum windows vs. Low-E vs. Low E-3 Windows


Low-E3 Vinyl windows:

  • Reduce energy loss up to 50% over regular windows
  • Keeps home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter
  • Reduces window covering and furniture fading due to sun damage

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs are an Energy Saver!

A CFL or compact fluorescent light bulb is an energy-saving, long-life fluorescent light bulb that fits into a standard light bulb socket. A CFL costs more than an incandescent bulb, but can save over five times its purchase price in electricity costs over the bulb's lifetime.


 Energy Efficiency = Less Energy Loss + Lower Utility Costs + Overall Comfort

If you are looking to buy a newly-constructed home (or want to build one from the ground up) in the Fort Bend County area - Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Missouri City - feel free to contact me.  

Posted by

Rosie Moore
Keller Williams Southwest
Cell: 281-703-6901

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The finest compliment I can ever receive is a referral from my friends and clients! If you know of anyone who wants to buy, sell or lease a home, please let me know (or simply pass my info along)!


Comments (9)

Jeff Fritzson: Frisco Real Estate Pro
Jeff Fritzson Real Estate, Ebby Halliday Realtors - Frisco, TX
Your Success is My Focus!

This is great informaton that buyers of both new and preowned homes should bevery aware of as large utlity bills can cause a myriad of troubles.

Mar 15, 2014 07:53 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Rosie, I am bookmarking this to share with my buyers. Even I am going to use it as a reference for building my house.

Mar 15, 2014 08:18 AM
Rosie Moore
Serving Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Missouri City - Sugar Land, TX

Jeff -  Anything to cut down on utility bills! I plan on updating my windows down the road. I have the old timey original windows on my 1979 home.

Debbie - Thanks so much!  There are so many other things to keep in mind with new construction. I plan on taking a few continuing education courses to get my green designation to add to my knowledge.  I thought this would be a nice post to include, although the photographs are not the best quality. I snapped them with my BlackBerry! Next time, I'll bring my camera.

Mar 15, 2014 08:37 AM
John G. Johnston
John G. Johnston & Associates, LLC - Westcliffe, CO
An Exclusive Buyer's Agent ~ Westcliffe, CO

Rosie  I remember many of these energy savers from continuing education courses...but, sadly, I had forgotten most of them.

Mar 15, 2014 11:09 AM
Bette Gottwald
UNITED REAL ESTATE | Central PA - Mechanicsburg, PA
"Bet"on Central PA Real Estate!

Rosie, I'm coming over from Fred Griffin's re-blog.  There is some great information in your post, and has served as a reminder I should take a refresher course in continuing education.

Mar 15, 2014 12:07 PM
Rosie Moore
Serving Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Missouri City - Sugar Land, TX

You never stop learning in this profession, that's for sure!  I took a residential inspection class last year, and there was a section on new home construction that was really helpful.  It is always a good idea to take continuing education courses to stay on top of things. Your clients will be very appreciative of it.

Mar 15, 2014 12:22 PM
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Rosie, this is great  information and very comprehensive.  I cannot imagine why someone wouldn't want to be energy efficient when they can save some of their "green" at the same time!

Mar 16, 2014 09:22 AM
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Rosie I came over from Fred's Blog, this is great information to share with a new construction buyer.

Mar 16, 2014 12:42 PM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Rosie:  Great info .. thanks for sharing!  I've already "tweeted" it, "Pinned" it, and shared it on Facebook via my page there.  Hopefully lots of people get to read and benefit from it ...


Mar 18, 2014 04:22 AM