Historically low housing inventory and low mortgage rates have led to a surge in new home construction. More new homes, means more energy-efficient housing in our communities. According to Housing First Minnesota’s Green Path program, 1,755 homes have been tested so far in 2021, and a total of 28,540 homes have been third-party tested since the program began.
While the state’s building code certainly drives energy efficiency in new homes, through Minnesota’s Green Path program many builders choose to go above and beyond the code to provide additional energy-efficient benefits to their homebuyers.
“We build incredibly energy-efficient homes in Minnesota, which is why our state repeatedly ranks at the top nationally when it comes to high performance in new homes,” said David Siegel, executive director of Housing First Minnesota. “Minnesota’s Green Path program has inspired builders and homebuyers to delve even deeper into green homebuilding by providing a simple way to measure the energy efficiency of a home with independent, third-party testing.”
Minnesota’s Green Path program provides each home with a Home Performance Report that includes the energy efficiency score called a HERS index (Home Energy Rating System) developed by the nonprofit RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network). The U.S. Department of Energy has determined that a typical resale home scores 130 on the HERS Index, while a standard new home is awarded a rating of 100. A home with a HERS score of 70 is 30% more energy efficient than a standard new home.
Thus far in 2021, the average HERS score is an impressive 50 in Minnesota. This means year to date, the average Minnesota Green Path energy-tested home is 50% more energy efficient than your standard new home, and 61% more energy efficient than the average existing home.
In the last nationwide report, Minnesota ranked first in the country for the lowest average HERS score among states that test over 200 homes.