Why should I buy an ENERGY STAR® certified or high performance home?
Your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so you’ll want to get the highest quality, the most comfort and the best value for your money. That means buying or building an ENERGY STAR® certified home. Your home will have lower energy and maintenance costs, wall-to-wall comfort and better resale value – because people know that the ENERGY STAR® label means it’s better.
What are the major differences between an ENERGY STAR® certified new home and one that is not?
ENERGY STAR® certified homes meet strict building requirements established by the Environmental Protection Agency. They undergo rigorous tests and inspections as they are built, and are 15 to 30% more efficient than homes built to standard Pennsylvania building codes.
How can I find out more information about how an ENERGY STAR® certified home is built?
Contact an ENERGY STAR® builder partner. You can find some listed on our site or you can go to energystar.gov for a comprehensive list. You can also find additional information at the official ENERGY STAR® website.
How much energy will I save if I buy and ENERGY STAR® certified home?
The average ENERGY STAR® certified home is at least 15% more energy efficient than a home not built to ENERGY STAR® standards. The builder will assign a rating to your home that indicates its actual efficiency based on the home’s features. You will receive documentation of that rating.
How do I know my home is ENERGY STAR® certified?
Look for the blue ENERGY STAR® label on your circuit breaker box or elsewhere in your utility room. If you don’t see one, contact your builder and request documentation that your home has earned ENERGY STAR® certification.
Are there special mortgages for energy-efficient homes?
Yes. They are called EEMs, or Energy Efficient Mortgages. An EEM is a mortgage that credits a home’s energy efficiency within the mortgage and in effect, increases the home’s value. EEMs give borrowers the opportunity to finance cost-effective, energy-saving measures as part of a single mortgage, stretching debt-to-income qualifying ratios. Contact your lender for details.
What is a HERS Rating?
HERS stands for Home Energy Rating System. A Home Energy Rater (also known as a HERS Rater) is a certified professional that reviews a new home’s construction plans and uses an energy efficiency software package to analyze the home’s design and obtain a pre-construction HERS Index. The Rater then works with the builder to identify the energy efficiency improvements the home needs to make sure it will meet ENERGY STAR guidelines. After onsite inspections and tests (including blower door and duct tests), the Rater uses the test results and data from the plan review to generate the home’s HERS Index Score, also called a HERS Rating.
The lower the home’s HERS Index Score, the more energy efficient it is. The Index reference home score is 100; a net-zero energy home scores a zero. Each one-point decrease in the HERS Index corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption relative to the reference home