Nobody Likes to Be Uninformed. Especially When It Really Matters.
Nobody likes to be uninformed. Unfortunately, that is often the case when people are making one of the most important financial decisions in their lifetime—buying a home. And it’s not so much that people are uninformed, but rather that they more than likely assume that the home they are buying has been approved, tested, inspected, or verified by someone with higher authority than the builder, and that that authority would never allow a poorly built home to be sold to unsuspecting consumers. Well guess what? That’s wrong, and it’s up to every homebuyer to do their homework.
Most of the time, the buyer only has another person’s word—the builder or the seller—that they are buying a quality-built home with excellent energy efficiency performance. You would think there would be more supervision over the production of a product, like a home, that often requires all of a person’s life savings to buy. But there isn’t. Take, for example, the individuals that cut your hair, or the individuals that do your nails. They are required by the State of Texas to have a license—yet builders are not. Shocking right?
And you would think that municipalities all across Texas would enforce the law (HB 1736) signed by the Governor in 2015 and applied to homes built after August 1, 2016. While local jurisdictions may issue building permits and pass inspections on homes using an older version of the code, builders should know that they—and not the city—may be exposed to potential liability in the future.
The law requires that builders comply with the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code and other code changes in the areas of electrical, plumbing, and so on. But sadly, as of today in the Rio Grande Valley, the majority of cities do not. Go to www.EEPartnership.org and search for “Code Adoption Tools” to see a listing of Texas cities that have/have not adopted the 2015 code. Remember that adoption doesn’t necessarily mean they are enforcing the law. Also, the list may not be current since it is dependent on the municipality to update its information.
The bad news for builders that were never required by their municipality to comply with the 2015 IECC is that every 6 years, the building codes are updated, and guess what? The 2021 code is now available for adoption and will, most likely, be adopted by the State of Texas when the legislature convenes in March or April of next year.
The state will then allow a few months before mandating the 2021 code that promises to be the most efficient building code to date, projected to result in an estimated 10% or more energy efficiency improvement in residential and commercial buildings.
The good news, however, for builders and homebuyers is that there is a program that you can participate in to be sure that—
a) you are building or buying a home that is compliant with Texas Law, no matter what building code the city is enforcing;
b) you are building or buying a home that not only meets code standards, but exceeds them (even 2021 code standards when they become effective next year); and
c) you are able to rest assured that your home was tested and inspected by a licensed third-party home energy rater to verify that the home is certified as a high-performance home.
That program is called BUILT TO SAVE®, and it will do more than just save you money on utilities. If the health and comfort of your family in your new home are more important than money, then you’ll love the BUILT TO SAVE® program’s requirement for better indoor air quality, enhanced home comfort, and a healthier living environment.
Go to www.BuiltToSave.org to find out about all the other good things the program provides homebuyers and to see which builders in the Rio Grande Valley are enrolled in the program.
Now, if your builder is still just using words to convince you that your home is quality-built and will be energy efficient, that leaves a lot of room for being uninformed. Ask if the home is a BUILT TO SAVE® certified home. Then ask to see the certificate as proof. You can also find the addresses of the homes that have completed certification in the program on the BUILT TO SAVE® website. (Please allow at least 3 weeks for documents to be processed and for homes to be added to the list online.)
Email BUILT TO SAVE® at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions, or to request more information on this excellent program.
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