Clayton Homes, maker of the popular i-House, is the largest producer of homes in the country and accounted for 7% of homes constructed in 2011, according to the annual report of parent Berkshire Hathaway. They have a large residential footprint, and their efforts to educate home purchasers can go a long way. So it’s great to learn of their recent announcement of a new home energy label along the lines of what we’ve discussed previously with other builders.
Buying a home is a big, expensive deal. It’s important that you know what you’re getting. Ideally, prior to purchase, you should know about its performance in at least four categories: energy use, water use, indoor air quality, and building integrity. But, as a nation, we’re not there yet. We’re getting there, though.
Today Joe Biden and the Obama Administration unveiled a new program with low-cost energy audits, federally-insured PowerSaver loans, and a new Home Energy Score, according to Wendy Koch of the USA Today. Details of the program are available now at HomeEnergyScore.gov, which includes an interactive graphic explaining the new score based on a 1 to 10 scale.
When you buy a house, there’s no clear way to know what you’re getting. There’s no miles per gallon sticker, as with cars, or nutrition label, as with foods. You’ll pay for an inspection and walk through the place any number of times, but you definitely can’t see through the walls. It’s strange that we allow ourselves to spend, or mortgage, so much with so little information.
There's been a lot of talk about various green building provisions in the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (HR 2454 or "ACES"), but there's one specific section of ACES that deserves more attention. Section 204 needs to be included in the green building discussion, because this is where the Building Energy Performance Labeling Program is. With this program, as we predicted with our Seven Green Trends, the federal government could lay the foundation for true and legitimate building environmental impact labels. Let's talk about this unprecedented policy, with a little background discussion.
We’re very much intrigued by the white paper released yesterday by Michelle Kaufmann Companies. Officially entitled "Nutrition Labels for Homes: A Way for Homebuyers to Make More Ecological, Economical Decisions," the white paper presents the case for a universal label for homes. Note that last sentence, though. This isn’t a label for just green homes, it’s a label for all homes. It’s a universal label to educate people on a home’s sustainability (or unsustainability) profile. Every home gets a label — you can imagine the power this gives buyers and green home sellers.