It seems that we hear a lot of builders in Spring Texas advertising their new homes as Energy Star Homes, but what exactly is an Energy Star Home and should we really care?
An Energy Star Home has been built to use less energy for heating, cooling, and water heating. Some of the energy efficient features that this would entail include a tighter home envelope, tighter duct sealing, improved levels of insulation, high efficiency heating and cooling equipment, and energy efficient windows.
In order for a home to receive the certification as an Energy Star Home it must be independently verified by a third party that it meets defined EPA guidelines for energy efficiency. In Texas, the guidelines are that the home must be at least 15% more energy efficient that a comparable home built to the Texas residential building code and the home must receive a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) index of 85 or less.
At a minimum, a builder has to have at least every seventh house independently verified by a third party in order to have every home he builds in that subdivision certified as an Energy Star Home. Some builders will have every third home tested and some will even go as far to have every home tested. Every home in Spring TX that qualifies to be called an Energy Star Home should receive an Energy Star certificate.
Should we really care about whether a home is an Energy Star home? The short answer is yes, most definitely. In Spring TX, we are running our air conditioners a good seven months of the year and thus the energy efficiency of our home impacts our household expenses.
When you are looking for a home in be sure to ask the builder or the listing agent if the home is an Energy Star home. If it is a Spring Texas home on the resale market that you are considering purchasing, you can check to see if there is an Energy Star label in the home’s circuit breaker box.