Spring Parade of Homes’ Green Path Energy Tour Helps Home Buyers Understand Home Energy Use

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ROSEVILLE, MINN. (February 9, 2015) — The Spring 2015 Parade of Homes is again featuring a tour-within-a-tour that highlights those homes that have been independently energy tested. Over half (236) of the Spring Parade Homes℠ are on the Green Path Energy Tour, sponsored by Xcel Energy. Each has been inspected and rated for energy efficiency by a Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) rater, and can produce a Green Path Home Performance Report (HPR) listing the home’s HERS (Home Energy Rating System) index.

photo0121.jpgSpring Parade Home℠ #79 by Robert Thomas Homes is on the Green Path Energy Tour

Minnesota’s Green Path

MN Green Path was created by the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC) to help homebuyers better understand the expected energy use of a home, and to provide an accessible green certification program. At the heart of MN Green Path is the Home Performance Report (HPR), independently documenting testing results and green features for a particular home.

b5086_5.jpgSpring Parade Home℠ #374 by NIH Homes is on the Green Path Energy Tour

Previous to the four-year-old MN Green Path, green-build programs were only for that fraction of homebuyers who wanted and could afford a high-level of holistic green features in their home. But the reality is that most homebuyers simply won’t or can’t afford to go super green. It’s also clear that most homebuyers can’t easily assess all of the factors that contribute to a home’s energy efficiency. MN Green Path bridges these two realities.

HPR is the Key

To do that, MN Green Path’s Home Performance Report (HPR) provides current and future homeowners a concise document verifying the results of independent RESNET energy testing, graphically presenting both the home’s HERS index and ACH50 test results (see below). For those who do want a higher level of green, Green Path Advanced and Master Green Path Certification levels are offered. These levels have strict minimum guidelines for green features, but allow the homebuyer and builder or remodeler to select from a checklist of options. The expanded Certified HPR documents all of the selected green features that are included in the home.


The ultimate goal of MN Green Path is to give homebuyers a measuring tool just like the Miles per Gallon window sticker they’ve come to rely upon when they buy a new car. Armed with easy-to understand and comparable energy and green information about a home, homebuyers are better able to assess all aspects of a home before they buy.

RESNET Testing and the HERS Index

RESNET is a California-based national association of home energy raters and energy-efficiency mortgage lenders that created the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index to ensure a standardized, performance-based measurement for energy efficiency in homes.

RESNET certifies their independent raters who conduct inspections in homes under construction to gather data, which is then fed into their computerized programming to establish the home’s HERS Index as well as the ACH50 (Air Exchange rating). The HERS is indexed against a reference home, which is an imaginary home of the same size and shape as the home being rated, and based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. The reference home scores a HERS Index of 100.

Ratings below 100 indicate better energy efficiency than the reference home; over 100 means the home will use more energy. HERS scores in older homes with little insulation, leaky windows and outdated construction techniques score well over 100. In Minnesota, a new home built just to meet energy and building codes would test at about 80 (a new energy code, effective in late February may reduce the average MN rating even more). Additionally, HERS scores are computed based upon the size and configuration of a home, so a 6,000-square-foot home with a HERS of 60 will still cost more to heat and cool than a 2,000-square-foot home with the same HERS index.


The Energy Efficient Home Tour is sponsored by Xcel Energy.

The 2014 Spring Parade of Homes is sponsored by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Minnesota Homeowners Alliance.