Label in new homes will inform homeowners of savings possibilities

Any Washington, D.C. home inspector can admit that instituting home energy improvements is not particularly difficult, assuming that a homeowner has a strong grasp of the costs and subsequent benefits of such reforms. While some improvements benefit certain homeowners, others may be of no use to them due to the marginal savings they might provide.

The largest homebuilding company in the nation – Clayton Homes – has announced plans to educate buyers as to savings that can be derived from energy upgrades. At a time when energy savings are so highly sought-after, the labels that Clayton plans to place in new homes would be welcomed by consumers.

The information is presented in the form of an easy-to-read label, complete with a color-coded scale that shows how much money is saved each month in that home because of its energy improvements and the projected costs of such reforms and a comparison to a home that is not energy efficient. The scale is modeled after recommendations from the Department of Energy, which has challenged builders to help homeowners achieve energy efficiency at a reasonable upfront cost.

According to a Jetson Green analysis of the initiative, "Each home will display a specific and unique label in the interior that can help home purchasers understand [and compare with other homes] the energy impact of their home under certain assumptions like utility rates, occupant behavior and climate patterns."

Even though new homes continue to be built at rates that were unheard of during the most of the recession – new home construction reached a three-year high last month – most consumers need to rely on existing homes to fulfill their residential needs. To attain the financial benefits that accompany energy-efficient heating and insulation, homeowners need to work with a local Maryland-area home inspector with knowledge of best cost-saving practices.