What is the BUILT TO SAVE™ Program?
BUILT TO SAVE™ is a voluntary high-performance home program for builders which certifies new homes using independent third-party home energy Raters that inspect and test homes in the program and predict their energy efficiency. These Raters provide verification that the home will perform better than similar homes built to minimum code standards. You no longer have to take anyone’s word about a home’s energy efficiency. You only need to ask for proof—ask to see the BUILT TO SAVE™ Certificate or go to the BTS Database of Certified Homes to find out if the home was certified in the program.
If you had a choice of 1) Buying a home built to minimum code standards with no clear knowledge of its energy usage and how it was constructed, or 2) A BUILT TO SAVE™ certified home with documented proof of its high performance from third-party Raters doing inspections during construction and conducting tests after completion, your decision should be a no-brainer.
Aside from obvious savings on utilities during the life of the home, there are other, more important benefits from a BUILT TO SAVE™ certified home—and critical because they can directly affect your quality of life and comfort in your new home. Here’s what you should know.
The TOP Benefits of Buying a
BUILT TO SAVE™ Home
The TOP Benefits
of Buying a
BUILT TO SAVE™ Home
LOWER UTILITY BILLS
Savings on heating and cooling costs through the BUILT TO SAVE™ program are the result of a whole-house approach to lowering utility bills. This includes everything from using a properly designed heating, ventilation, and cooling system to ensuring the home is properly sealed to create a tight envelope. Energy efficient appliances and light fixtures are also key components in a comprehensive plan for energy efficiency.
• • •
ENHANCED HOME COMFORT
Indoor comfort is all about controlling temperature and airflow inside the home. A major component of the BUILT TO SAVE™ program is requesting builders to submit the home’s Manual J for review to make sure that the air-conditioning unit is properly sized to the space. If a unit is larger than it should be, it will cool the space too quickly and turn off before it has had a chance to remove humidity from the home, thus making it uncomfortable. As it cycles on and off, the unit will consume more electricity and will have more mechanical problems over time.
• • •
TIGHT CONSTRUCTION AND BETTER INDOOR AIR QUALITY
If you notice dust, bugs, and smells coming in from outside your home, then it has not been sealed properly. Homes in the BUILT TO SAVE™ program are inspected during construction, before the walls are put in, to look for cracks, openings, and other areas that would allow cool air to escape to the attic or to the outside. Sealing these areas not only saves on cooling costs, it also prevents drafts, dust, and other pollutants from coming into the home. A tight, properly sealed envelope along with the proper ventilation system will ensure clean indoor air throughout the home.
• • •
PROPER INSULATION INSTALLATION
Here in the Rio Grande Valley, home insulation is vital. And more important than the type of insulation used is whether or not it was installed properly. For example, to function properly as insulation, batt insulation must retain its shape after it is installed. If the insulation is stuffed behind electrical wires along the walls, it no longer retains its insulation value. Spray foam, even with its superior insulation qualities, can have voids after it is applied, may not be of the correct consistency, or may have been applied while there was moisture present. The BUILT TO SAVE™ thermal inspection done by the Rater is performed before drywall is installed, and is focused on ensuring that the insulation, regardless of the type, was properly installed—something that most homeowners would not be aware of.
• • •
HIGHER RESALE VALUE
Who doesn’t want more money when they sell their home? Research conducted across the country has found that homes that have been certified as energy efficient command a higher resale value than non-rated homes. Additionally, the research points out that rated homes generally sell faster than non-rated homes. It makes sense that providing a certificate of high performance when trying to sell your home would be more valuable than trying to convince your buyer that you were told by the builder that the home was a high-performance home.
• • •
COMPLIANCE WITH TEXAS’ ENERGY BUILDING CODE
The law’s the law! On August 1, 2016, the State of Texas adopted the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code for residential and commercial construction. While local jurisdictions across the state may issue permits and pass inspections under an older energy code than the state mandated 2015 IECC, builders should be aware that they may be exposing their businesses to potential liability in the future. Homes in the BUILT TO SAVE™ program comply with the state’s 2015 IECC, regardless of what code local municipalities are enforcing.
Visit www.EEPartnership.org and search for “Code Adoption” to see a listing of Texas cities that have/have not adopted the 2015 IECC.
• • •
THIRD-PARTY INSPECTIONS AND TESTING
Home energy raters contracted by the BUILT TO SAVE™ program are certified by RESNET. These independent home energy raters provide the modeling of a home’s blueprints to forecast its energy efficiency before it is built, a thermal inspection before drywall, and final testing of the home’s performance when it is completed to ensure compliance with the requirements of the BUILT TO SAVE™ program.
• • •
PEACE OF MIND
We can’t predict that other aspects in your life won’t give you a headache, but knowing that your new home has been certified as a high-performance home by an independent third-party home energy Rater, one not affiliated with anyone connected with the construction of the home, will give you, as a BUILT TO SAVE™ homebuyer, the ultimate in satisfaction. And don’t we all want the peace of mind that comes with knowing our home has a formal certificate of energy efficiency and high performance?
• • •
Visit www.BuiltToSave.org to find out more about why you should not settle for a minimum code-built home when you can enjoy the savings and comfort of a high-performance home. You can also find builders enrolled in the BUILT TO SAVE™ program offering high-performance homes.
© RGV New Homes Guide, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to RGV New Homes Guide with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.