How Many Miles Per Gallon Does Your Home Get?
Most home buyers focus on price and payments, however, factoring in a home's energy consumption costs could save tens of thousands of dollars over years of ownership. Comparing the performance and construction quality of one home to another is often not apples to apples. Newly built homes tend to be more energy efficient than older homes, but total performance is also influenced by the builder and design, said CR Herro, a building scientist and vice president of environmental affairs for Meritage Homes.
Home Energy Rating Score
When buying a new or resale home, buyers can use a shopping tool to help them understand the anticipated costs of a home's energy bills. The Home Energy Rating Score, or HERS, is the industry standard for measuring a home's energy efficiency. It was created by the not-for-profit Residential Energy Services Network (RESNet), an independent consortium of building scientists and construction experts.
Think of HERS like miles-per-gallon fuel economy for your car, except that a lower HERS is better:
- According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical resale home in the U.S. rates a HERS 130 and costs approximately $200,000 in utilities over a 30-year mortgage.
- Utilities for a home that scores 100 would cost 30 percent less, saving $60,000 in operating cost.
- Utilities for a home that scores 65 would cost approximately half, saving $100,000 in operating cost over 30 years.
Some builders, such as Meritage Homes, design homes to capitalize on energy efficiency and can achieve HERS scores lower than the 2016 U.S. average of 62 by including high-efficiency heating, cooling, windows, lighting, and insulation in all their homes.
How to know the score
"Knowing the HERS score of your home can be the difference between a European vacation every few years or a kiddie pool in the driveway," said Herro. "A lower HERS score could also raise the value of your home because the rating is being added to home appraisal standards." Proposed federal legislation also could provide mortgage borrowing advantages for homes with low HERS, he added.
More than 2 million homes in the U.S. have been HERS rated for energy efficiency, generating energy savings of $268 million in 2016 alone, according to RESNet. More homes are being rated as home builders increase their participation in the HERS program and post the ratings for the homes they build. To find the HERS for a home, a list of participating home builders and tips for improving the energy efficiency of your home, go online to: http://www.hersindex.com/knowthescore/.
Spring Lawn Care is Easier Than Ever
The snow has melted, flowers are beginning to bloom, and you wake to the sound of birds chirping: all signs that spring is here. Spring means time to give your lawn the TLC it needs, but most of us dread the thought of weekends spent occupied by yard work. Luckily, in 2018, getting that perfectly green grass and enviable garden does not have to be hard.
- Prevent disease and pests - Disease and pests can be stopped before they strike. At the beginning of the season, use your yard rake to remove any dead grass shoots. By removing this debris early you can prevent disease and pests while also giving your lawn sufficient time to recover.
- Simplify mowing - Cutting the grass no longer requires preparation and setup. With innovative options like the Greenworks 60-volt self-propelled lawn mower, you do not need to worry about gassing up your mower or finding the nearest outlet for the extension cord. The mower can run up to 60 minutes with a fully-charged battery, so it is ready to go when you are, and you never have to smell like gas again! The mower's smart-cut technology adjusts the power based on the thickness of your grass, extending the run time and improving cutting performance.
- Water on time - Consistency in watering is an easy way to keep your grass green and lush. Maintain a schedule to prevent your grass from drying out and browning. Sprinklers and outdoor timers will ensure that your grass does not miss a watering session.
- Shape hedges - Anyone can create the perfect hedge shape. Now that your grass is healthy, freshly cut and weed-free, it is time to focus on the rest of your yard. Try a cordless, battery-powered product like the Greenworks 60-volt hedge trimmer. The lighter weight and strong power allow you to trim your hedges without wearing out your body. Whether your hedges are up high or running along your fence, no place is out of reach.
Spring is just beginning and now is the time to get a jump start on your lawn. To learn more about the tools that can make lawn care easier this spring, visit www.greenworkstools.com.