A home is one of the most important purchases we make in our lifetime. But until recently, there hasn’t been a way to determine the long-term cost of living in a new home or, moreover, calculating the potential energy savings offered by different homes.
Fortunately, the HERS Index now allows easy comparison for home buyers, and affirmation for builders. Often likened to the “Miles Per Gallon” equivalent for homes, RESNET’s Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating is a third-party measure of how efficient a home is operating and where modifications can be made to achieve greater energy savings. The lower the HERS score, the more energy efficient the home is.
According to Don Ferrier of Fort Worth, TX-based Ferrier Custom Homes, LP, the HERS score makes energy efficiency a much more level playing field, but it is not the perfect indicator.
“In my experience, I’ve had homes where I’ve gotten a HERS score of 56 and others a 52, using the same building techniques,” he says. “Sometimes the higher score can save more money, but the cost outcome might also be the result of the homeowner; such as how long you run the instant hot water heater, how long you keep the lights on, and where you set your thermostat relative to the season. A home builder can’t control these choices.”
But Ferrier says that for the high majority of the time, homebuyers that come to him have already done their homework on energy efficiency.
“My clients have already made a choice,” he says, “so it’s likely that these important subtleties in their home activities are already part of an everyday routine. So, an extremely energy efficient home, combined with a motivated homeowner translates to a very low energy bill.”
At the end of the day, the HERS index helps builders’ gain buyer’s trust and simplifies the ability to compare energy efficient performance.
Stay tuned to our blog for more on information, tips and advice for home builders on green building practices.