Do you know how energy-efficient your home is?
The one thing you should analyze is a home’s Home Energy Rating Score (HERS). This nationally-recognized system measures the energy efficiency of a property.
As we noted in our HERS Index guide, everyone has an incentive to pay attention to a home’s HERS rating. Because homes with good HERS scores offer financial and lifestyle benefits. From lower energy bills to better interior comfort, lots of advantages come with living in an energy-efficient home.
At Brite Homes, we build zero energy ready homes in Florida. So you can get a better idea of what goes into constructing an energy-efficient home, we’ll detail how our homes performed during an evaluation by a certified HERS rater.
Our single-family homes in Palm Coast, Florida: A HERS rating case study
HERS score without solar panels
We recently had one of our homes in Palm Coast evaluated by a certified RESNET HERS Rater. Without solar panels, that home achieved a HERS score of 51—far better than the average new home.
Note: The lower the HERS score, the more energy-efficient the home is.
Even without solar panels, our homes are still energy-efficient. A new Brite home in Palm Coast is 49% more efficient than the average home.
How do we achieve high home energy efficiency, even without accounting for solar power?
The answer is good design, smart home automation, and energy-efficient features. High-performance windows, LED lighting, and advanced HVAC systems ensure our homes optimize energy use.
Without solar panels, our homes still achieve a great HERS score because they:
- Save the average household $642 per year on utility bills.
- Exceed criteria for ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, Version 3.1.
- Our Palm Coast single-family residence has a complete thermal enclosure system, comprehensive water management system, high-efficiency HVAC system, and energy-efficient lighting and appliances.
- Meets Indoor airPLUS qualifications, as established by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Our homes feature healthier building materials, moisture and mold control, pest barriers, radon-resistant construction, and safe combustion.
- Meet the US Department of Energy’s design and construction guidelines for extraordinary levels of excellence and quality.
Remember: That score is without solar panels! Once we install those, our homes HERS score climb to the top in the industry.
HERS score with solar panels
A certified RESNET HERS rater evaluated that same Palm Coast single-family—but this time the home had solar panels. The results should wow you!
Our zero energy ready home achieve a HERS rating of -16. That’s right—the home had a negative HERS score. That’s better than a net zero rating. And it means the property is a positive energy home. It produces more energy than it consumes.
With solar panels, our homes have greater efficiency than standard zero energy homes. Our zero energy home in Palm Coast is 16% more energy efficient than the standard zero energy ready home.
How do our homes get such a good HERS score?
In addition to superior design, quality construction, and energy-efficient appliances (which we’ve mentioned), solar panels turn the home into an energy producer. When you live in a Brite home like the one in Palm Coast, the home doesn’t only optimize energy use, but it also generates renewable energy.
In fact, RESNET HERS raters found that the home in Palm Coast generates more energy than the residents consume. You know net zero homes generate as much energy as they consume. The amazing thing is our zero energy ready homes take that even further. They generate more energy than they consume.
Overall, this equates to $1,133 in savings on utility bills each year.
Now, you may be asking: What happens to that excess energy the home produces?
The answer brings more good news.
Make money selling electricity back to the grid
Perhaps you’re still wondering: How can you use less energy than you produce?
Consider this: The average US home consumes about 30 kWH/day, or 10,950 kWh/year. Meanwhile, according to solar power experts, the average solar panel produces 1.1.5 kWh/day. That means a configuration of 16-30+ solar panels will turn your home into a net producer of energy.
When you make excess electricity, you have the option to sell energy back to the grid, depending on where you live and your utility company. It’s called a net metering program.
Net metering allows homeowners to benefit from the extra energy their solar panels produce. After all, your home is generating more energy, and that benefits other households in the area. You should get paid for it!
In the US, most utilities support net metering. This means you can sell your excess energy back to the grid at a normal retail rate.
Currently, 38 states have some sort of net metering program:
Check with your state and utility company for specific details on how your net metering program works. Search the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (run by the US Department of Energy).
Moreover, as an article in SmartAsset notes, you can also receive a tax credit from the federal government and potentially your state and local governments. This can save you lots of money each tax season.
So, whether you buy a new zero energy ready home, like the net zero homes we have in Florida, or install solar panels and other features, you can earn cash and credits from the excess electricity your home produces. Take advantage of it!
Live in the most energy-efficient home possible: Live Brite!
Each year, RESNET runs the Cross Border Home Builder Challenge. It’s a friendly competition between American and Canadian homebuilders. The goal is to improve homebuilding standards and achieve low scores.
So, in 2018, how low did green builders go?
- Greenhill Contracting won the Net Zero American Builder Award with a HERS Index Score of -2.
- Empire Communities won the Net Zero Canadian Builder Award with a HERS Index Score of 19.
Considering the ratings we recently received, it’s safe to say Brite Homes has emerged as one of the most energy-efficient home builders in North America. Our score of -16 in late 2019 eclipses what the 2018 net zero winners achieved. We hope we can win the next competition!
Now, just one question remains: Do you want to see what these net zero homes are all about?