Saturday, January 30, 2010

Green Ratings

Several organizations provide third-party inspections and verification of a home's energy efficiency and green features. LEED certification is the comprehensive in scope, but is quite costly. For our home, it would have probably been over $3,000. We just couldn't justify the cost.

Don, our builder, commissioned an Energy Star verification. Based on the plans and specifications, the inspector rated our home at 60. It requires a maximum “HERS” of 85 or less to qualify a home under EPA-Energy Star. The lower the number, the better. Don asked the inspector to compare our home to the last 200 energy star homes he has rated. He stated that we belong in the top 5 out of 200 other homes that he has rated at this level. Energy Star does not account for use of gray water or rain water collection.

Austin Energy also rates homes from one to five stars, but the home has to be within Austin Energy service area. The inspector entered our data in the Austin Energy rating calculator and told Don that we would have a five star home if we were building in Austin.

We are thrilled with this information and can't wait to see how it translates to our utility bills!

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