If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get!
The Rewards of Energy Efficient Homes for Builders & Homebuyers
A common mistake most homebuyers make is to get blinded by the bling of a new home. What does that mean? It means simply that too often buyers focus on the home’s beauty: the impressive exterior, the beautiful granite countertops, the fabulous flooring, the eye-catching designer ceilings. And they forget to ask about what they can’t see–what’s behind the walls. What type of insulation was used? Was it properly installed? Is the air-conditioning unit the right size for the home? What is the projected energy usage and how much can we expect to pay in electricity? And more importantly, was the home inspected by a third-party energy Rater?
Too often we buy with our hearts and trust that we are buying a well-built home with excellent energy efficiency and comfort. Sadly, that’s not always the case. The only way to know for sure is to know that your home was inspected by a third-party energy Rater—not just the city code inspector because their job is safety, and not necessarily quality or energy efficiency. An independent third-party Rater should be hired by the builder before he or she begins work on construction in order to build the home properly. A Rater models the home using its floor plans and elevations to predict the energy efficiency of that home even before it is built. He/she also reviews the Manual J heat calculations for the home to make sure the HVAC system is sized correctly for the dimensions of the home to ensure lower utility bills, better comfort, and to avoid moisture issues that can occur with an improperly-sized system.
So why doesn’t every builder use a Rater to perform these duties? One reason is obvious. Some builders think this will cost more money and the inspections will cause delays in construction.
But the biggest reason, sadly, is that homebuyers don’t ask about third-party inspections. Builders have the option of having their homes certified as high-performance homes in such programs as BUILT TO SAVE™ or ENERGY STAR®. With these certifications, you, the homebuyer can rest assured that the home you are buying was inspected and tested by a third-party independent home energy Rater who is not affiliated with the builder.
The rewards for homeowners are huge: lower utility bills, tighter quality construction, and a more comfortable home with better indoor air, and peace of mind to name a few. But what’s in it for the builder? Many understand the value of getting a good reputation for building a quality high-performance home. Those that do, have already discovered that there are financial incentives from local utility companies for doing just that. The cash rebates they receive from the utility companies can easily offset the cost of hiring a certified RESNET Rater for third-party inspections, testing, and verification.
The goal of all the above programs is to improve the quality of life for homeowners by encouraging increased energy usage savings, better-built homes, lower carbon emissions for our planet, and added value to homes. The rewards are there. You just have to ask for them.