We’ve been talking a lot lately about what goes into building a smart, healthy home that “performs” for you. Yes, your home should do more than provide shelter. With all the advances in construction methods and materials, technology, and research, homebuilders can design and build homes that give you a healthier indoor environment with more comfort and energy savings. The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) we’ve told you about is a big step toward that goal. Let’s take one more look at what goes into Homes By Taber’s approach—HERS, ours, and more.
We aim low with HERS
The HERS index measures a home’s energy efficiency. A third-party certified inspector thoroughly examines a home—from the roof, attic, and crawl spaces to the foundation, ducts, doors, windows, and walls. This professional looks for problems—current or potential—that could cause drafts or negatively affect energy use.
When the assessment is completed, the home is assigned a HERS score, based on a scale from 0 to 150. With this system, the lower the score, the higher the energy-efficiency. A typical new home built to the 2004/2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) has a HERS index of 100, as determined by the U.S. Department of Energy. A typical resale home that wasn’t built to IECC standards averages a 130. Those 30 extra points mean that the resale home is 30% LESS energy efficient than the new home.
Homes By Taber has invested in a broad range of processes and features that lower the HERS score of our homes. We hire a professional to conduct a blower door test, which lowers the air pressure inside the home and allows us to more accurately identify leaks. It’s an extra step, but prevents us from handing over the keys to a homeowner before the home is complete, at least by Taber LeBlanc’s standards.
Lower HERS = Big benefits
Our homes score as low as 46 on the HERS index—reflecting a high level of energy efficiency. A 46 equates to 54% greater energy efficiency than the typical new home. “Typical” is never a term we accept. You shouldn’t either, because those extra points in a HERS score cost you in energy bills. A 46-rated home saves you $1,508 in annual energy bills over a 100-rated residence. Can you think of a more satisfying way to use $1,508?
In addition to saving energy and the cost of it, a low HERS rating on a home provides more benefits to the homeowner.
A home with a low HERS score also adds to the resale value. Certified energy-efficient homes have been shown to sell faster and for 8% more, on average, than those without such certification.
Better than a breath of fresh air
Energy conservation is a major concern for Homes By Taber and our homeowners, but we also focus on the quality of the indoor environment. A recent article on our blog here explained “The Meaning of MERV”, referring to air filters and the effectiveness you can expect from the different levels.
MERV—Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value—measures an air filter’s effectiveness. How well does it actually filter out airborne particles, like dust mites, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, household dust, smoke, chemicals, and animal dander?
An energy-efficient home is designed to seal air inside, so it’s also trapping those pollutants. You need an air filtration system to improve indoor air quality. A MERV 8 is a minimum requirement for air filters in the home. We insist on a MERV 13, which is the same one used in hospitals.
There’s much more to choosing a home than the location, and the floor plan. Your home should provide safety and comfort, as well as the value that comes with energy efficiency. Be sure to learn the HERS score of any home you’re considering. It’s an accurate measurement that you can count on.