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Sizing Up Homes in a Different Way: New Homes Get Rated on Energy Use

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  1. kria

    According to Energy Trust of Oregon, occupancy of a home can affect the energy consumption by up to 40%.

    DOE already lables and performance tests the appliances. I am sure everyone has seen those stickers in refrigerators and dishwashers. They are even on the HVAC.

    We already have third party certifiers for new construction, if the builders choose to get a green cert.

    So why are we not putting the time and effort into changing the building codes to meet these goals? Why are we missing the opportunity to train the building inspectors to look for these issues? Why are we not putting the time, money and energy into training the builders and remodelers??

    I just think that is more cost effective and more direct than having people get a computer modeled score….

  2. Earth Advantage Institute is similarly tracking the home performance labels that are appearing on the marketplace. There is a very positive role to be played in providing potential home buyers with information about a how well a home will treat its new residents. EAI would like to encourage homeowners to learn more about the label or rating that a prospective home receives. For example, ratings that are based on the HERS index are relative to energy code and not very comparable between homes. An MPG rating for a car is an absolute consumption rating and thus is timeless and very comparable between cars. The HERS index is an energy efficiency asset rating and masks for house size and does not indicate magnitude of consumption. This is similar to saying that a Prius and a Durango both have a fuel efficiency rating of 60 – not very useful.

    The Energy Performance Score (EPS) is based on absolute consumption and is timeless; like an MPG rating for cars. http://www.earthadvantage.org/programs/homes/energy-performance-score/

  3. kria

    I think there is a huge difference between a mpg for a car and EPS. Cars are made in factories with really tight tolerances. They are made in a environment that can be reliably duplicatable. Houses are made in the field with not so tight tolerances. When you come up with a MPG for a car, all the cars that are made that way should perform relatively close to what they tested at.

    The EPS is a THEORY about the performance. It is a computer model!!

    EPS also does not consider things like site. Nor does it consider the energy, water and carbon footprint of building the homes. This creates a bias.

    One other thing, when I drive my car with 4 people in it … it gets relatively the same mileage as I get when I drive myself… It does not vary by 40%

  4. I’m not sure I’d trust KB Home’s claims. Our new KB Home was supposed to be energy star. Our attic only had about 6-7″ of blown in insulation. The other side had no insulation. KB Home claims it spray foams gaps for a tightly sealed energy efficient home. We had outside smells coming in from underneath baseboards so it doesn’t seem they did this either. I’ve heard this is common with other KB Homes as well.

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