Today’s Standards for Home Efficiency
Visitors to homes on The Tour of New Homes may first notice open floor plans, upgraded kitchen appliances or the latest in design trends. However, an important feature of a new home can’t be seen – energy efficiency. With new developments in a wide array of green building techniques, materials and products, the energy efficiency of new homes has dramatically changed in recent years.
A nationally recognized system for measuring a home’s energy performance is called the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index which can determine a home’s overall efficiency with a score between 0 and 150.
A score of “100” indicates the home meets the industry standard of energy efficiency. The closer a score is to “0” the better, as a “0” ranking would mean the home produces as much energy through renewable resources, such as solar panels, as it consumes (also known as “net zero”).
Examples of features you’re more likely to find in a new home include:
- Double-pane windows – Having two layers of protection in your home’s windows provides a noticeably stronger barrier to help prevent outside temperatures (and noises) from affecting the inside of your home, resulting in significant energy savings.
- Water-saving features – Low-flow bathroom faucets can have a big impact on conserving water, but not quite as big as low-flow commodes. Conventional toilets use 5-7 gallons per flush, which really adds up over time. But low-flow toilets typically use as little as 1.6 gallons per flush.
- Energy-efficient appliances – More than 30 percent of a home’s energy consumption can be attributed to the kitchen appliances, and that number swells for homes with appliances that are more than 10 or 15 years old. Having newer appliances inside and outside the kitchen with Energy Star ratings can have a noticeable impact on your monthly utility bills.
- Spray foam insulation – Traditional fiberglass insulation is still used in the majority of homes, however, spray foam is becoming increasingly popular because it provides a tighter seal, lasts longer and protects better against pests and mold.
- Hard-surface flooring – Less than 20 years ago, it was common for new homes to have carpet covering 80 percent or more of the floor space. These days, carpet is typically reserved for bedrooms (if it’s used at all). The wide variety of hard-surface flooring—shown to improve energy efficiency and air quality—has become much more appealing to the large majority of consumers.
The Tour of New Homes is presented by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Parks & Weisberg Realtors, Louisville Realty Group and RE/MAX. For more information, including a list of Tour homes, visit LouisvilleTourofNewHomes.com or Facebook.com/TourofNewHomes.