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.
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