Seems like the trend in new home construction is firmly in the green camp. The large production builders are coming on board by affirming that all of their new homes will be built to meet or exceed the new, more stringent Energy Star 3.0 requirements. Some are even going further than that. I read this week that KB Homes, a national builder, is rolling out their new Martha Stewart line of houses in Tampa Florida this week, all of them rated y an independent HERS Rater and built to meet the Energy Star requirements and also the requirements to be called net zero.
What exactly is net zero anyway? New homes are tested, inspected and rated by a qualified HERS rater and given a score. A typical code built house will receive a score of around 100. A home built to the old Energy Star 2.0 standard would have received an 85 and the new Energy Star 3.0 standard would have to achieve around a 75 or better. A net zero house actually produces as much energy as it consumes, allowing it to achieve the coveted rating of 0. That’s right, a zero. Sometimes smaller is better.
And it’s not just the national builders like KB Homes, Pulte and Ryland Homes all agreeing to pursue green certifications like Energy Star and a HERS net zero for their homes, local builders are also taking the green challenge as well. Hunter Contracting of Matthews is working on an Energy Star3.0 certified house. Following the national trend, Hunter isn’t satisfied with just achieving Energy Star certification. He is also seeking EarthCraft certification on top of that. He has seen the move towards green and is leading the charge for our area as one of the first home builders to go after the Energy Star 3.0 certification.
Not far behind him are the Habitat for Humanity local groups. Lancaster/Northumberland is at the very beginning stages of their first Energy Star 3.0 house. They are committed to achieving both Energy Star 2.0 and EarthCraft certification for everything they build. They see building energy efficient homes a must when building for lower income families. The families that occupy their homes may have to worry about many things, but high energy bills are no worry no matter what the weather.
So why the trend towards lean and certified Green? Because people are paying more attention to where their money goes today. Attention to detail during construction leads to monthly savings throughout the life of the home. When a slight increase in your monthly mortgage of around $50 month for the extra energy efficient changes in your home construction are cancelled out be the more than $75 per month savings in your utility bills, the reasons become plain. And the move to certification is necessary because if you are going to pay a little more for a house that is green and energy efficient, then you had better be able to put a rating on it so you know that you are getting what you are paying for.
With even Martha Stewart climbing on board the lean and green bandwagon, I guess that certifying your new home construction as green has officially become “A very good thing.”