By Bryce Johnson, Home Builders Association of F-M CEO
Bryce Johnson has been with the HBA of F-M for 26 years, serving as its executive officer over the past 20 years.
Incorporating eco-friendly products and designs into your home is not only good for the environment, but it can also be helpful for your wallet, too. A sustainable home can reap cost savings in the long run.
According to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders, home buyers, on average, are willing to spend an extra $8,728 to save $1,000 a year on their utility bills. An investment of that size would essentially pay for itself within eight years.
NAHB’s home buyer preferences survey also asked consumers to rank green features according to desirability. Top results included:
- 89% – Energy Star windows
- 86% – Energy Star appliances
- 81% – Energy Star rating for whole home
- 77% – Efficient lighting
- 77% – Windows with triple-pane insulating glass
- 73% – Insulation higher than required by code
- 63% – Water-conserving toilets
- 62% – Windows with Low-E insulating glass
- 61% – Tankless water heater
Two common rating methodologies allow home buyers and owners to see how their homes measure up when it comes to energy efficiency and how much money they could potentially save by living there:
• A Home Energy Score, a score of 1-10, is given to a home based on its energy use, with 10 being the most efficient. As with a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the HES is based on a standard assessment of energy-related assets to allow for easy comparisons across homes in the housing market. This is a Department of Energy program often used for existing homes.
• A score of 0-150 is given to a home based on an energy audit and report, with 150 being the least energy efficient. The scoring system compares your home to a home built to code in 2006, which is known as the reference home. The reference home would score a 100 on the HERS index, whereas a newer home or one built to a green standard might score a 60. This is a Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) program often used for new homes.
If you are purchasing a new home, there are many programs that measure energy efficiency including National Green Building Standard, Energy Star and LEED. The terminology and ratings for energy-efficient homes can be very technical and confusing, so NAHB has provided resources at www.nahb.org/sustainability.
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