State's Largest Green Building Program Tests 15,000th Home

Minnesota’s Green Path, the state’s largest energy efficient new construction program, tested its 15,000th home in 2018. The data from Minnesota’s Green Path mirrors what the national RESNET organization shows: Minnesota’s homes are some of the most efficient in the U.S.

“Green Path has given us an unparalleled view to the energy efficiency and performance of homes in Minnesota,” said David Siegel, executive director of Housing First Minnesota.

When a new home is tested, Minnesota’s Green Path issues a Home Performance Report (HPR), which shows the HERS rating and air exchanges-per-hour results from the energy rater and tester. Housing First Minnesota, the Green Path program provider, compiled data on energy efficiency during the lifetime of the program.

During the past eight years, homes have become more energy efficient, both as the energy code became more stringent and as home builders and building officials incorporated efficiency techniques.

With an average HERS rating of 51 and with an average air exchanges per hour of 1.69, the homes built in Minnesota this year are far more efficient than code prescribes.

Builders have pointed out that this increase in efficiency is not without cost. When Housing First Minnesota last surveyed members, they reported that the increase in efficiency since 2015 is costing new home buyers roughly $7,000 per home.

According to RESNET, Minnesota had the fourth-lowest HERS score in 2017 at 51. The three states with lower scores, however, tested far fewer homes, making Minnesota the most energy-efficient of all high-growth states.