Did you know that Earth Day is celebrated in 192 countries today? And that the first Earth Day was celebrated in the United States in 1970?
Many of us have memories of celebrating Earth Day in school, with special assemblies or presentations, and projects to learn more about ways we can be kinder to our planet. But today, as adults, we have even more opportunities to treat the earth with care, and many of those opportunities start right at home.
Last year on Earth Day, we shared several tips for Greening Our Lives at Home in our blog, including eliminating junk mail to curb paper waste, and using reusable bags and bottles whenever possible. Those tips are great, but they are just the beginning of the ways we can make a difference at home!
If you are in the market for a new home, you have a huge opportunity to be considerate of your planetary home sweet home by shopping for a house that is built with energy efficiency in mind. You may be thinking that’s easier said than done. After all, everyone claims to be green these days. But a simple nationally recognized system called the HERS index can provide you with a third-party verified energy rating that will give you peace of mind as you find your new home. The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is the homebuilding industry standard for measuring a home’s energy efficiency.
The first thing you need to know when comparing HERS rated homes is that the homes are rated against a “typical new home,” which sits at a 100 on the index. “Typical existing homes” are likely to fall at the 130 mark on the index, meaning they are 30 percent less efficient than a new home. It’s important to note that the lower the HERS score, the more efficient the home. This video explains it well: think of a HERS score like a golf score and not a football score!
At Eastwood Homes, all of our homes are HERS rated and they score much better on the index than other typical new homes built today! There are many ways that we make our homes more energy efficient. Those include using Low-E windows (which can help save energy using low-emissivity coatings), 14-seer high efficiency heating and cooling systems (which reduce energy consumption and better regulate indoor temperature and humidity variations), multi-zone climate controls with programmable thermostats (which helps our homeowners use those HVAC systems more efficiently), Energy Star appliances (which simply use less energy), and engineered floor systems and roof trusses (for maximum strength and reduced lumber waste.) Green building practices are also implemented, meaning we use local suppliers and recycled materials to reduce greenhouse gas emissions whenever possible.
Buying an energy efficient home is doubly green – it helps the environment, and your pocket! In fact, one of our new homes can save you more than $600 a year compared to a house built just five years ago! Specifically, our Cypress floorplan, which is our most popular floorplan, is rated 75 on the HERS index, meaning it is 25 percent more efficient than other typical new homes. AND we have a few floor plans that rate ever lower on the HERS index!
If a homebuyer considers the total cost of ownership while shopping for a new home, which includes the energy cost to run the home, those $600 a year savings can actually increase their buying power. That means that the $50 a month savings in utility bills could allow a buyer to afford a mortgage payment for a new home that is $10,000 more. (It is estimated that every $1,000 in a mortgage equals $5 a month.) It is important to remember that’s comparing a new Eastwood home to a home that is only 5 years old. If a homebuyer is comparing a new Eastwood home to an older home, the energy costs would be even more significant, allowing the buyer to have even greater buying power in terms of a home’s cost!
There’s one more financially green benefit to buying a HERS rated home: This study has shown that energy efficient certified existing homes sell on average for 30 percent more than non-certified homes. That means more money in your pocket while you live in your home, and once you sell it!
We pride ourselves on offering homes that are Built with Care for YOU and our planet! How will you celebrate Earth Day this year?
If you’d like to learn more about Eastwood Homes and how we build our energy efficient homes, we’d love to chat with you! Leave us a comment below, or reach out to us at 866-551-7995!