Energy Efficient New Homes

In March of 2012, the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association announced that the 2012 North Carolina building codes should reduce energy consumption in new homes by at least 15 percent from homes built in previous years. Improvements in insulation levels and window performance, as well as building envelope air leakage reduction should result in a substantial step forward in saving energy and reducing monthly electric and gas bills for home owners.

In previous years The U.S. Department of Energy determined that a typical resale home scores 130 on the HERS Index, while a standard new home is awarded a rating of 100  (based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code), making a new home 30% more energy efficient than a resale home. When you add to that the 15% reduction in energy consumption with the new 2012 building codes, new homes built after March 2012 should deliver a significant reduction in monthly heating and cooling bills for home owners.

The HERS Index (Home Energy Rating System) is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured and the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance.

Most people understand the importance of having a well insulated home when it comes to energy efficiency; however the energy performance ratings of windows, doors, and skylights are also very important as is sealing a home against air leakage.

  • Insulation:Proper insulation offers one of the biggest energy saving benefits. Proper insulation also provides added comfort and noise reduction, thus improving the overall livability of your home.
  • Windows, Doors, and Skylights:Windows, doors, and skylights can gain and lose heat in several ways:
    1. Direct conduction through the glass or glazing, frame, and/or door. Low-E windows, doors, and skylights can protect your home from unwanted UV rays which can fade your carpets, and damage your furniture. They also help control radiant heat (infrared light) as it enters and leaves a room which keeps your house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
    2. Radiation of heat into a house (typically from the sun), and out of a house from room-temperature objects, such as people, furniture, and interior walls.
    3. Air leakage through and around windows, doors, and skylights. The energy performance ratings of windows, doors, and skylights tell you their potential for gaining and losing heat, as well as transmitting sunlight into your home.
  • Air Sealing: Energy efficiency and comfort is compromised when air enters a house uncontrollably through cracks and openings – this is called infiltration. Infiltration reduces energy efficiency, and can cause problems with moisture, mold, and dust. Air sealing or properly sealing cracks and openings in your home can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs, improve building durability, and create a healthier indoor environment. Air sealing also reduces the likeliness of certain insects from entering your home.

If you’re considering buying a home in the Ft. Bragg/Fayetteville area of North Carolina, remember to consider more than just the price of the home, but also the cost of monthly heating and cooling bills. An energy efficient new home from McKee Homes can save you money every month and command a higher resale price while improving the quality of life enjoyed by you and your family.

By John Rives

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McKee Homes online marketing manager

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