Energy Efficiency In Your Denver Home
Building energy efficient homes and improving energy
efficiency in our homes can increase their value.
Over the past few years, there has been a ground swell of
Green building interest by Denver
home buyers and builders. In response to the growing demand to conserve
energy in our homes, there are several new mortgage programs that allow
home buyers to finance the cost of energy improvements into their
mortgage, to increase their loan-to-value, or improve their qualifying
ratios. Some of the more common improvements that are used to make homes
more energy efficient include the addition of new windows, high
efficiency heating/cooling systems, and improved insulation. All of
these contribute to reduced energy use, and also to making homes
quieter, more comfortable, and more desirable.
These programs allow buyers to purchase a more expensive
home that has a lower cost of ownership to offset the larger mortgage
payment. There are 2 types of financing options available
that cover a variety of scenarios for energy efficient homes.
Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEM's) allow borrowers to qualify for a
larger loan, using expanded income ratios, sometimes with the same down
Energy Improvement Mortgages (EIM's) allow borrowers to include in the
mortgage the cost of making an existing home more energy efficient, when
they refinance or purchase the home.
These products are available through your local mortgage brokers and
banks using FNMA, FHLMC, FHA, and VA guidelines.
EPACT 2005-2008 provides $2000 Builder Tax Credit
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established a federal tax credit for
builders that apply to each home that exceeds the energy performance
threshold outlined in the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code
(IECC2004). Eligible homes must be at least 50% more efficient than
homes built to the IECC2004. It is fairly easy for builders to achieve
this threshold by building tighter homes, installing high-performance
insulation, and sealing duct work. The best way for a builder to find
out how to meet EPACT is to consult with a certified RESNET (Residential
Energy Services Network) Home Energy Rater. In order for a builder to
receive a $2000 tax credit, the home must be rated by a RESNET certified
rater using IRS approved software. For more information, visit
What makes a home energy efficient?
The cost of heating and cooling a home represents the largest cost of
ownership, outside of the home mortgage expense. Everyone wants a home
that is comfortable to live in, and yet the costs associated with
reaching a comfortable level can be very high. Energy Efficiency can be
defined as the use of products or systems that use less energy to do the
same or better job as conventional products. In home construction and
performance, there are many areas where energy efficiency can be
achieved, to allow you to meet those desired comfort levels.
The EPA's ENERGY STARŪ program has developed a process for evaluating
products used in a home, such as appliances, windows, lighting and other
products that meet or exceed certain efficiency standards or
recommendations. When choosing products for a home, ensure the products
meet Energy Star ratings. This can include furnace, air conditioning and
water heater performance, replacement of appliances in the home, and
installation of energy efficient lighting such as Compact Florescent
Other construction design aspects can have a significant impact on the
energy performance of a home. Insulation levels should be adequate for
the environment, and more importantly, proper installation of the
insulation is critical in ensuring it is performing to the expected
levels. Air infiltration and leakage can be another area where hidden
openings in the building shell can cause heat and cooling losses to
occur, reducing the efficiency of the home's performance.
In addition to performance of individual components in a home, the EPA's
Energy Star Program also works with builders to qualify and certify home
performance, to ensure that maximum performance is achieved. ENERGY
STARŪ qualified homes are designed to be at least 15 percent more energy
efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code
(IRC). ENERGY STARŪ qualified homes offer homebuyers all the features
they want in a new home, plus energy-efficient improvements that deliver
better performance, greater comfort, and lower utility bills.
ENERGY STARŪ homes have had their energy efficiency independently
verified by an inspector known as a Home Energy rater. A HERS Rater will
inspect and test the home during construction, and verify that the home
meets EPA's strict guidelines for energy efficiency.
RESNET; Establishes rules for the energy rating industry
In 1995 RESNET was founded to develop a national market for home energy
ratings and energy efficient mortgages. One main goal of RESNET was the
development of standards for quality of rating services. The standards
set the national procedures for home energy ratings, and include testing
and accreditation for raters and providers, development of verification
processes for homes meeting ENERGY STARŪ and energy efficient building
standards, as well as meeting local Energy Code compliance.
A certified HERS Rater follows a prescribed standard for how a home is
measured, verified and rated, and must comply with national standards to
continue to perform certified ratings.
What is an energy audit or HERS Rating
A Home Energy Rating, performed by a Certified HERS
Rater, consists of a full visual analysis of components and aspects of
the home, along with energy performance testing of air infiltration with
a tool called a blower door. Evaluation of home energy bills can also be
included. A blower door slightly de-pressurizes the home and determines
the amount of air leakage present. The home is compared to a
hypothetical reference home which is based on the IECC 2004, and the
home is then provided with a rating. The rating can be a numerical HERS
rating or a 'star' rating based upon ENERGY STARŪ requirements.
Along with the actual performance rating, the homeowner will be provided
with details on areas of the home that need to be improved, in order to
further save energy costs and improve the comfort and efficiency of the
If you are looking for a
Denver remodeling contractor, please call us today at 303.274.0489 or complete our
online request form.