When you shop for a new dishwasher or water heater, energy efficiency ratings are prominently displayed, helping you make a decision that’s good for your family, your budget and the environment. Similarly, the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is a national standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is rated.
HERS is a vitally important aspect of real estate as we concentrate on more sustainable building practices. It is used by certified HERS builders in new construction and existing homes and can be rated as well by certified inspectors.
What is HERS?
In short, HERS is a score that is applied to homes that have finishes and systems that are energy efficient, using less energy, natural gas, or electricity to heat, cool, and power a home.
The index ranges from 0-150; the lower the score the more efficient the building. The threshold for new buildings is currently 55. 5 Points Realty recently had a listing, 3834 Avalon Avenue in Enderly Park that we are very proud to trumpet with a HERS score of 50. This means this home was built with more focus on energy efficiency.
How our listing earned a 50 HERS score
- Advanced framing: This is a technique which requires less lumber and has an increased capacity for insulation.
- Engineered wood products: These are essentially made using wood scraps, which is an efficient use of an organic resource.
- Low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) Coatings: These compounds are in products and finishes used in building and construction. When they start to break down or off-gas they have been proven to be toxic. Low VOC compounds, especially in interior paint, have been used to minimize the toxicity of the interior environment.
- Spray foam insulation: Compared to the traditional fiberglass insulation, spray foam has a much higher R-value, which means it’s more effective. It uses less energy to keep the house at a comfortable temperature. Spray foam also creates a safer breathing environment than fiberglass.
3834 Avalon is an Energy Star-certified home.
Make your home more energy-efficient
You can live in a 1910s bungalow or a 1970s split-level and still have a more energy-efficient home. Here are some suggested areas where you can make improvements that are good for the environment, without sacrificing what you love about your older home.
- Proper insulation: Have an expert come in and do an energy assessment to see where improvements should be made. The attic is often a major contributor to heat loss, but walls, crawlspaces, floors and garages could also be to blame. Upgrading your insulation will make your home more comfortable and save you big bucks on your heating and cooling costs.
- HVAC system: Energy Star rated heating and cooling systems can be an average of 30% more efficient, saving you hundreds of dollars each year.
- Ductwork: Make sure your ducts are properly sealed and insulated.
- Windows: Leaky windows can also be a significant source of energy loss. When you decide to replace your old windows, look for double-glazed windows that use Low-e technology. That is a special coating on the window that reflects heat. Also, make sure the windows are Energy Star-qualified. If you can’t afford to replace your windows just yet, adding weather-stripping can also make a difference.
If you’re looking for a new home, call us. We know the best energy smart builders and how to spot the most energy efficient resales.