By Jay McKenzie
Why are more and more home shoppers seeking greener homes?
The answer is simple: Up to 30% cost savings on utility and water bills--as well as greater comfort year round and higher indoor air quality for you and your loved ones.
In a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), builders reported that more and more consumers are seeking greener new homes. In addition to lower energy costs, home shoppers are increasingly asking builders for features that provide higher indoor air quality and a draft-free, comfortable climate inside their home year round.
Looking to the future, 68% of builders surveyed by NAHB said that the new homes they expect to build in 2015 will include even more green features and technology, based on increasing home buyer demand.
From 2012 to 2015, builders predict consumer demand will continue to increase for green features that include:
High performance, multi-paned windows with low-E (low energy conducting) glass
And windows with an insulating layer of inert gases between panes of glass
Engineered wood beams, joists and trusses
More efficient Heating, Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC) systems
Increased demand for water-saving features such as dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets
According to The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which oversees the Energy Star program, more than 1 million Energy Star Certified homes have been built by 8,500 participating builders since the program was launched.
Last year, the EPA estimates that owners of Energy Star Certified new homes saved a collective $270 million in energy costs and reduced greenhouse gases by an amount produced by 370,000 vehicles.
What does that translate to for owners of Energy Star homes? The EPA says homeowners in hot and humid climates can expect to save $700 per year in utility costs.
Even if you only plan to live in your house for five years, such savings add up quickly. Over time, your savings on maintenance and energy can mean thousands of dollars you retain.
Come time to sell, a newer, more energy-efficient home is typically worth more than an older house that lacks such energy-saving features. Cost savings while you own your new home plus probable higher value at re-sale are an unbeatable combination.
6 Musts for an Energy Star Certified New Home
High-Performance Insulation and Air Sealants
Tightly-Sealed Ductwork and Tight Construction Standards
High Efficiency Heating and Cooling Systems
Energy Efficient Kitchen Appliances, Lighting and Water Heaters
Expert, Independent Verification by Home Energy Raters
Building science and technologies have made huge strides in recent years. A typical new home built today is much more energy efficient than a home built just 5 years ago--and no comparison to homes that are 10, 15 or 20 years old or more.
Today's new homes are more energy efficient and less expensive to operate. They also provide better indoor air quality and year-round, draft-free comfort. With better HVAC, problems common in older homes (such as moisture condensation on windows, peeling paint or even mold) have been greatly reduced or eliminated.
Higher indoor air quality also means less dust and pollen that can trigger allergy and breathing problems, especially in children. If saving thosands of dollars in costs over the life of your new home isn't sufficient incentive, you can feel comfortable knowing that you and your family will breathe easier in a new home as well.
To search for a green builder and to find an Energy Star certified new home near you, search www.NewHomeSource.com, the world's largest website for new homes and communities.
Jay McKenzie heads up content and social media for NewHomeSource.com.