Eighty percent of first-time homeowners say they either really want or must have an energy-efficient home. But energy efficiency can add significant costs that many can’t afford. Enter, Minnesota’s Green Path program, which hit a major landmark this year with its 10,000th energy tested home since its start in 2011.
Minnesota’s Green Path was created to help builders and homeowners look at energy and green building in a different more affordable way. The program provides homebuyers and homeowners with RESNET’s Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scoring. With independent energy testing and a consistent index (HERS), prospective homebuyers have a valuable tool that helps them
understand expected energy usage in the homes they are considering.
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. That means a home with a HERS Index Score of 70 is 30 percent more energy efficient than a standard new home.
Since Minnesota Green Path started testing, the average new home in Minnesota had scored around 80 on the HERS Index. Since the adoption of the new energy codes two years ago, Minnesota new homes test around 70 or less. In the Spring 2017 Twin Cities Parade of Homes, 63 percent of the homes were energy tested. When MN Green Path began, only four percent of the homes in the Parade of Homes were energy tested.
Industry observers project 900 percent growth in certification of new homes and remodeling projects over the next five years, culminating in 50 percent of all projects being certified at some level by 2018.