If you’re looking for a new home, there are so many things to consider. Location, price, size, amenities – not to mention specific home features such as layout, number of bedrooms and baths, type of flooring, and more. The variables and selections are endless!

But, have you thought about energy efficiency? Too often, it doesn’t rank high on homebuyers’ wish lists, if it appears at all.  In the long run, a more energy efficient home can save you time and money on energy bills and maintenance. Energy efficiency impacts the comfort level and air quality of your home as well providing a healthier living space. It’s also a key factor of your household’s carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment.

How do you determine the energy efficiency of one home over another? Welcome to the Home Energy Rating Index, better known as the HERS Index. It is used to measure a new construction home’s energy efficiency. Developed by the Residential Energy Services Network, or RESNET, the HERS Index is the most comprehensive home efficiency rating system in North America.  It has already been used to rate over 1.5 million new homes including all Next Generation My Signature Homes.

RESNET is a national non-profit organization that builds energy efficiency rating and certification systems in the US. They are also responsible for creating national training and certification standards for HERS Raters who determine a home’s overall HERS Index Score. These third-party validators are highly trained and certified and must adhere to the national mortgage industry home energy rating standards as well as RESNET standards and codes of ethics.

HERS uses a simple easy-to-use index based on a 100 point scale. The lower the score, the higher the performance of the home and the more energy efficient. Savings are directly proportional to the HERS point Index Score. A fifteen point HERS Index Score difference between two homes translates to 15% energy savings for the home with the lower score.

The HERS Index Score accounts for everything inside the home as well as out. Appliance, heating, and cooling systems’ energy and efficiency are measured, as well as insulation levels, window efficiency, and renewable energy sources such as solar power. Each home’s information is entered into a sophisticated software program which computes an overall HERS Index Score for the home.

At Next Generation My Signature homes, we are committed to building the most energy efficient homes possible. We have each of our homes rated by HERS Validators and share the results openly. Our Union Square Hartford townhome model has a HERS Index Score of 64, with our Aurora model scoring 67. As a comparison, the latest data from RESNET reflects a 2015 national average score of 62 and 60 within the state of Illinois.

We encourage you to put energy efficiency high on your list of requirements for a new home. Keep in mind HERS Index Scores cannot be determined for used or resale homes because they are typically less energy efficient. Request the HERS Index Scores of all new construction homes you are viewing on your home buying journey.  Compare our scores with other builders.  Remember, the lower the HERS Index Score, the better. Hopefully you’ll now be better equipped to make a more informed decision before buying the home of your dreams.

If you’re considering purchasing or building a new home, we would love the opportunity to discuss options available in our new construction homes! Please give us a call at 331.229.1140 or complete our online contact form. You can also join our e-list to get the latest information about our community and new home designs.