I recently attended the RESNET conference for Building Performance in Austin, Texas; I was amazed at the number of attendees that were Homebuilders, Utility Company Representatives, and HVAC contractors. It was nice to be able to discuss energy efficiency issues with industry professionals that understand the value in increasing the efficiency and quality of our homes. The question is how do I convince the professionals in our area of that value.

I am told that the home buyers don’t care about energy efficiency and they don’t ask for it. Do you care about energy efficiency? Buyers don’t ask for king or trimmer studs either, but builders put them in anyway. They are part of the structure, as are many of the details that make a home energy efficient. When a home buyer purchases a new construction home there is an expectation of quality, and energy efficiency should be part of that expectation.

By Rod Sims| 3 Comments | Observations

3 comments

  1. Great question – how do you convince the professionals? In my opinion (which I know you didn’t ask for but I’ll share anyway) I don’t think its that buyers “DON’T” care, I think they just may not be very aware of WHAT they SHOULD care about. Don’t most people complain about their utility bills after they see how expensive they can be if they don’t try, at least a little bit, to conserve? If more information was out there about how much it’s going to cost them to live in this house vs. that house maybe it would catch on? Hmmmmm sounds like every home should come with a HERS rating? Maybe a good listing feature for real estate agents?

    • Karen,
      People do care but they don’t know all the details that go into building a home, they see the shiny surfaces not the structure, nor should they be required too. They trust that builders are putting out a quality product. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case. Many builders believe the building code is the goal when in fact it is the lowest quality home legal to build. Until buyers educate themselves and start demanding quality and energy efficiency, builders will keep luring them in with smoke (granite countertops) and mirrors (stainless appliances). In the end buyers that are not educated will be burdened with high utility bills and poor comfort.

      Fortunately there are companies like Sims Green Energy Services that perform third party verification that know the details to help builders and homeowners increase the energy efficiency and quality of their homes. These homes may be ENERGY STAR® qualified or have a HERS rating and will be labeled and/or have a certificate with its HERS rating. I would love for all homes that are sold to have a HERS rating then buyers would at least know what they are getting. A car buyer gets to compare efficiency (MPG) why shouldn’t a home buyer?

  2. Great analogy – MPG and HERS rating. Go get those homes rated! Buyers (and homeowners) may even be eligible for some discounts from their utility companies for improving their energy efficiency too, right?

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