The National Association of Home Builders has a great research department. I’ve learned a lot about building technology and marketing from some of their reports. They published another one today.
Guess what The Energy Guy picked up on? Only one guess now!
Five of the 18 items relate to Energy Efficiency. That is 27%. One more study that shows the importance of Energy Efficiency to Home Buyers. The article is fairly clear there are many more features surveyed that ranked below this, these are the features a builder needs to provide and point out.
The last one lists ‘Insulation higher than required by code’ – Since Wichita/Sedgwick County has not adopted an Energy Code this is up for grabs. Until last year the recommended code for Attic insulation was R-38. Most builders in the area only install R-30 or even less. I’ve had several builders tell me they put R-38 in the attic and when I get to the attic, I see the Insulation Company’s Attic Card showing R-30. One reason that Independent 3rd party Verification is important. This is an important part of a HERS Index on a new home. The current code recommends R-49 in the attic. As energy prices go up, it makes more sense to have additional insulation.
There are two window items of interest. First is the desire for Low E windows. This is a type of coating on 1 side of one of the panes of a double or triple pane window. Which side and which pane it is on is very important. On the wrong pane, the window is designed for Brownsville, TX not Wichita, KS.
Second is the desire for Energy Star certified windows. Window requirements change with the climate. If you are in Minnesota, your weather requires a different window specifications than the weather in Kansas. Keep in mind, that Oklahoma is a different climate for certification than Kansas. I have found a number of new homes in Wichita, that are built with Energy Star windows, if you are in Oklahoma.
Finally, a Lo-E coating on the window helps in the summer time with solar heat gain. Lo-E is part of the recipe for building a window. Residential windows are certified to Independent Standards and should carry an NFRC Sticker. Again, checking the NFRC sticker for specifications is part of the Independent Third Party Verification that is part of the HERS Index.
Ask to see the HERS Rating on all new homes you look at. If there is not a HERS Index, ask the Builder to place a rating on their work.