Q. What is a Built to Save® home?
A. A Built to Save® home is a new home that has been inspected and tested by a third-party RESNET home energy inspector (HERS Rater) during construction and after completion to verify that the BTS program requirements are met. A home that is Built to Save® Certified means homeowners will save more money on utilities compared to a similar home built to code.
Q. How is a Built to Save® home different?
A. In addition to the savings on utilities, a Built to Save® home provides homeowners with a more comfortable living space with consistent temperatures throughout the home. To qualify for the Built to Save® certification, a home must have tight construction, energy efficient windows, properly installed insulation, and properly-sized heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) systems, and achieve a HERS score of 60 or less.
Q. What is a HERS score?
A. A Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score is the nationally recognized standard of measuring the energy efficiency performance of a home. Developed by the Residential Energy Standards Network (RESNET), it has become the industry standard used to calculate and predict the home’s energy use. While energy consumption of a home will vary depending upon personal factors associated with the occupants and their habits, a HERS score is still a good indicator of energy consumption. The Department of Energy estimates that an older home may have a HERS score of 130 while a new home built to code will have a HERS score of 100. A home with a HERS score of 85 means the home will be 15% more energy efficient than a home built to code. The lower the HERS score the more energy efficient the home. A Built to Save® home must qualify with a HERS score of 60 or less.
Q. How is the HERS score calculated?
A. To calculate a home’s HERS Index Score, a certified RESNET HERS Rater does an energy rating on your home using specially designed software to analyze the projected energy use of the home based on the home’s construction plans. The rater works with the builder before construction to identify problem areas or improvements needed to ensure the house will achieve the lowest HERS score possible and meet the Built to Save® requirements.
Q. What tests or inspections are performed by the Rater?
A. The rater does an onsite inspection after the insulation is installed and before the drywall is applied to ensure proper installation and that there are no areas where air can escape between the attic and the interior spaces of the home. Upon completion of the home, the Rater will measure the air tightness of the home using a blower door test and a duct test to test the leakiness of the ducts. Results of these tests, along with data from software analysis, are used to generate a final HERS Index score for the home and ensure that the home is in compliance with the Built to Save® requirements.
Q. How do I know if my new home is energy efficient?
A. While most builders claim to build energy efficient homes, and while many do, the only way to be sure is to have the guarantee provided to you by an independent third party home energy rater. If your home is certified as a Built to Save® home or an ENERGY STAR® home, there is no question that it is energy efficient, and you will have the HERS score to know its projected energy efficiency performance.
Q. How do I find a builder of energy efficient homes?
Q. Is a Built to Save® home the same as an ENERGY STAR® home?
A. No. An ENERGY STAR® certification requires more extensive compliance with HVAC and sustainable requirements than the BTS certification. If a home qualifies as an ENERGY STAR® home, it automatically qualifies for the Built to Save® certification.