Minnesota’s Green Path is the leading energy efficiency and green building program for the residential construction industry in Minnesota. The program has provided Home Performance Reports (HPRs) for more than 16,000 newly built homes highlighting the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score and air exchange rate. When Green Path was created by BATC-Housing First Minnesota in 2011, only 4 percent of Parade of Homes entries were energy tested. In recent events, 70 percent of the homes have been energy tested by a certified rater, showcasing the growth of the program.
Green Path program manager, Tom Gavaras, recently traveled to New Orleans with Ross Anderson of The Energy Network Worldwide to share with the 2019 Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) Conference attendees the success of the Minnesota program. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: What did you share with the attendees at the RESNET Conference?
A: The evolution of Minnesota’s Green Path program. At the time Green Path was created, there was a void in the marketplace for a residential construction energy efficiency and green building program. From the outset, the goal of Green Path has been to help builders and homeowners look at energy and green building in a different, more affordable way.
Using Green Path as a model, we shared some of the strategies for bringing together utilities, builders and raters to highlight energy-efficient building techniques by the promotion of the HERS index through HPRs, leveraging the connections of local or state builder associations, and using consumer marketing vehicles such as home tours and other consumer events.
Q: What did you hope people learned from your presentation?
A: To be energized by what has been accomplished in Minnesota with Green Path and evaluate the resources available in their area to promote the HERS rating and energy efficiency.
Q: What’s next for Green Path?
A: If residential home construction continues at its current pace, we will hit 20,000 HPRs in 2020. In addition, we are planning the introduction of a Green Path Designated Builder program to recognize builders who test a minimum of 75 percent of their homes and attend our annual Green Path conference.
Q: Why do you think Minnesota’s Green Path Program stands out among green programs in the country?
A: Minnesota has the lowest average HERS score (51) among high-growth states. Factoring in current building/energy codes, utility energy rebates and the marketing power of the Parade of Homes, this all creates a wonderful incentive to educate consumers about the advantages of new home construction or finding ways to make their current homes more energy efficient.