Earth Day: MN Green Path places new homes on a performance path

Image for Earth Day: MN Green Path places new homes on a performance path

Third-Party Energy Testing, Home Performance Reports, and the DoE Challenge Homes

Minnesota’s Green Path℠, an energy and green performance program for new homes and remodeling, is growing. Launched a little more than a year ago, MN Green Path offers builders and remodelers an innovative program that provides home owners and buyers an easy-to-understand, third-party certification document about a home’s energy and other green features, called the Home Performance Report (HPR).

The HPR is the real centerpiece of MN Green Path, and offers an unique way to help people better understand the complexities of building science. Few home buyers can or want to examine all the features and techniques that go into constructing a well-built, energy-conserving home today. They don’t know if blown-in insulation is better than old-fashioned batts, let alone how r-values are calculated. But with a MN Green Path HPR, they don’t have to.

As more new homes (and remodeled homes) are opting for energy testing through the highly respected, national Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) and its Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score, MN Green Path has expanded to include a new Energy Tested level. This will ensure more home buyers have access to a consistent, independently verified document that lets them compare and contrast different homes before making their purchasing decision. New car buyers expect to see a miles per gallon sticker before they purchase, new home buyers should expect to see a new home’s HPR and HERS, too.

The new MN Green Path Energy Tested level was introduced during the Spring 2013 Parade of Homes℠, growing the number of homes which featured an HPR to 141 from just 24 in last fall’s tour. This was over a third of this Spring’s Parade Homes℠, and is expected to grow even more for fall 2013.

It’s clear that today’s home buyers want energy efficiency and green, but most are not willing to pay the price for a holistically green home. MN Green Path and its HPR is a smart way to help buyers choose the most efficient option within their price range and amenity level, and, over time, move the market towards higher performance as builders compete for their business.

MN Green Path also Encourages Super Efficient Homes Like the US DoE Challenge Homes

MN Green Path is also a great program for those buyers who want a very high-level of efficiency and green with the original certified Green Path levels of Advanced and Master. Each certified home receives an enhanced HPR which provides a comprehensive picture of a home’s added performance features.

Several super-efficient MN Green Path homes will be featured in the 2013 Fall Parade of Homes. Participating in the US Department of Energy’s Challenge Home program, these zero-energy ready homes will demonstrate how homes today can be built to operate almost entirely off the grid.

Challenge Homes are already in process, and a few more are expected to join them in time for the Fall Parade of Homes. These homes must include a comprehensive package of energy-efficient components as well as stringent indoor air quality requirements. Boasting extremely low HERS scores, these homes will be designed to easily add on solar or wind power sources, at which time they will be able to give back as much energy as they draw from their Utility.

To date, builders with DoE Challenge Homes scheduled to be shown in the Fall Parade of Homes Energy Efficient Home Tour include Mega Homes (officing in Dayton MN), Amaris Homes (White Bear Township MN), and Sherco Construction (Wyoming MN).

The Builders Association of the Twin Cities is the leading voice for builders and remodelers. BATC represents over 1,100 builders, remodelers, developers and industry suppliers with a mission of helping its members grow their businesses through marketing, advocacy and industry connections. BATC is widely recognized as a powerful force at the state Legislature and with state regulatory agencies. It’s also known for its twice-a-year signature events: The Parade of Homes℠ and Remodelers Showcase®. In addition, BATC offers Minnesota’s Green Path, a growing new home and remodeling certification program providing healthy, durable, energy-efficient homes to buyers and homeowners.