Energy-efficient homes are designed to conserve and reduce energy use, saving homeowners money in utility costs while also having a positive impact on the environment. Design and construction, appliances, and major features all play a role in a home's energy efficiency, so buyers attuned to issues related to home performance have plenty to consider when shopping for a new home.
Providing quick, easily accessible details about a home's water and energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important for home builders in many U.S. markets as they work to deliver homes that meet buyer needs.
And buyers, for their part, will likely continue to find energy-efficient homes more attractive now and in the future as inflationary pressure continues driving up costs for heating and cooling and many locales experience more intense temperatures during summer heat waves and winter storms.
- Home Performance Counts in the Home Building and Buying Process
- Meet the Zero Energy Ready Home Program Version 2
- Development of Next National Green Building Standard Underway
While increased interest in energy efficiency isn't consistent across the nation, it is growing. A quarterly report, "Top Agent Insights for Summer 2022," by real estate technology company HomeLight, found that of the roughly 1,000 real estate agents surveyed nationwide, "48% of agents say homebuyers are increasingly prioritizing energy efficiency in their home search. In California, 62% of agents say buyers are increasingly prioritizing energy efficiency in their home search; in Florida, 52%. In addition, agents estimate that over the past 12 months, the value that energy efficiency adds to a home has increased over 25%, from $6,556 to $8,246."
Communicating Details About a Home's Energy Efficiency
The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), an independent, nonprofit organization that helps homeowners reduce the cost of their utility bills by making homes more energy efficient, recently launched its new Rated Home Label.
The one-page label (see the example, below) is now available for all homes in the RESNET National Registry, a database that contains all of the certified RESNET Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Raters and homes that have been rated and issued a HERS Index Score since 2012.
The label provides information about the home’s ratings and certifications, including:
- HERS Index score
- HERSH2O Index score
- RESNET Carbon Index score
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Star
- EPA WaterSense
- DOE Zero Energy Ready Home
The label also provides basic identifying information about the house, such as its address, the builder, the HERS rater and HERS rating company, the rating date, and the home's RESNET Registry ID.
In addition, the label displays the home's:
- Estimated annual energy use
- Estimated annual energy cost savings compared with the reference home
- Estimated carbon dioxide savings
- Estimated gallons per year in water savings for homes receiving a HERSH2O Rating.
The label is available within 48 hours after the home is submitted to the registry and can be downloaded from RESNET’s public search page.
RESNET Accredited Rating Providers can also download the label through their admin access to the RESNET Registry.
RESNET is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1995 that develops standards for certification and oversight of home energy and water ratings and certification of the individuals who conduct those ratings. With a network of more than 2,500 active, certified Home Energy Rating System (HERS) raters and rating field inspectors, RESNET has a footprint in all 50 U.S. states. The nonprofit also accredits the software used to complete ratings and a network of quality-assurance providers responsible for the oversight of energy and water ratings.