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April is #NewHomesMonth!  New home construction offers the opportunity to design and build a better home from the ground up.  New residences often incorporate the latest and most efficient technologies for energy efficiency.  This will not only result in energy savings, but numerous studies over the past decade have shown sale and re-sale price premiums ranging from 2% to 8% in most housing markets for rated, energy-efficient homes and apartments.

When searching for a  prospective new home there are many ways to determine whether it is energy efficient.

Home Energy Score

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Developed by the Department of Energy and its national laboratories, the Home Energy Score provides home buyers directly comparable and credible information about a prospective home's energy use. Like a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the Home Energy Score is an easy gauge of home energy efficiency performance.

The Home Energy Score Report estimates home energy use and associated costs based on a standard energy assessment to easily compare energy use between homes.  Each Home Energy Score is shown on a simple one-to-ten scale, where a ten represents the most efficient homes.  Ask your real estate agent and new home builder if they use the Home Energy Score.

ENERGY STAR Certified Homes and Apartments

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ENERGY STAR certified new homes and apartments are a good investment because they offer better energy efficiency and performance including:

  • At least 10% more energy efficient than homes and apartments built to code, with a 20% improvement on average
  • The ability to qualify for an energy efficient mortgage when it comes time to buy
  • Better resale value if it comes time to sell
  • Increased comfort, controlled humidity, and reduced noise
  • Fresh, filtered air that reduces indoor pollutants, dust, pollen, and other allergens
  • Consistent temperatures and diminished drafts

Zero Energy Ready Homes

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DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes (ZERH) are residences that, over the course of a year, produce as much energy as they use by maximizing efficiency and harnessing renewable energy sources.  ZERH residences build upon the comprehensive building science requirements of ENERGY STAR® for Homes  to help builders reach unparalleled levels of performance.  DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes are verified by a qualified third-party and are at least 40%-50% more energy efficient than a typical new home.

Also look for home builders that use WaterSense labeled water products in their new home construction as well as using Indoor airPLUS construction practices and product specifications that minimize exposure to airborne pollutants and contaminants.  Both certifications can not only improve a home’s energy efficiency, but its levels of comfort and health, as well.