BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., Feb. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --
PulteGroup, Inc., America's premier homebuilding company, and the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), the leading national independent authority on home energy performance, are teaming to expand the use of home energy efficiency labels already available in a number of PulteGroup communities including Centex, Pulte Homes and Del Webb. Homeowners are saying that having energy efficiency data while shopping helps them to better compare energy savings across multiple homes as well as giving them a better idea about utility costs after purchase.
The consumer-friendly labels, which have been compared to the miles per gallon (MPG) ratings available on automobiles, highlight the energy performance of new homes. The labels help homebuyers make informed decisions when comparing the value and operating costs of homes that vary in levels of energy efficiency.
Homebuyers who have used the tool say the easy-to-understand energy efficiency information is a key driver that helped them choose the home they ultimately purchased. "When I bought my house I had a choice among numerous new homes, but none of the others had the energy efficiency information that I could use to compare energy savings like Pulte had. My utility bill last summer proved to me I made the right decision. I had great savings when compared to other homes that do not have all of the energy conservation products," said Curtis Jones who purchased a home in Villa Trieste by Pulte Homes in Las Vegas.
Herb and Su Streich tell a similar story about how they decided to buy their home at Lone Mountain by Pulte Homes in Phoenix. Though Mr. Streich spent much of his career promoting the value of "green" cooling products, he explained, "The labels helped us understand the value. I realized this home had all the energy-saving features that were important to me. Not everyone is going to care about the technical stuff, but Pulte made it easy to understand. At the end of the day, it comes down to how much you can save and conserve." (Energy savings can vary greatly depending on energy usage by a homeowner and modifications made to the home.)
This collaboration promotes the construction of new, energy-efficient homes through a two-year pilot program in which the efficiency of these homes is tested and reported using the RESNET Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index, a measure of energy performance recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others.
"Providing clear, visible energy ratings for homes makes sense for today's energy-conscious consumers who want to save on their utility bills and reduce their carbon footprint," said Steve Baden, executive director, RESNET. "Marketing the energy efficiency of homes is a winning proposition for homebuyers, builders and the environment. Innovative homebuilders like PulteGroup are issuing a call-to-action to the industry."
"We know energy performance matters to today's homebuyers. The RESNET HERS Index enables buyers to understand how they can start to lower their monthly utility bills," said Jim Petersen, director for research and development at PulteGroup, Inc. "We find that consumers increasingly are scrutinizing energy savings, but it can be difficult to make apples-to-apples comparisons. A tool like this that measures home energy efficiency in a consistent way can help homebuyers make more knowledgeable choices about their purchase."
RESNET's HERS Index increases buyer confidence in home energy performance. This rating scale is easy to read and interpret: The lower the HERS score - the greater the energy efficiency of that home, which means lower energy bills. Homes rated at 100 meet the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for new homes. Existing homes often rate above 100. A home with a score of 130, for example, is 30 percent less energy-efficient than the IECC code. A high-performing ENERGY STAR home will rate much lower, typically from 65-85.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, homes account for more than 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Cost-effective energy improvements can reduce pollution and save each homeowner tens of thousands of dollars over time.
Early versions of this pilot program already underway in a number of markets will be evaluated for use nationwide based on analysis of consumer feedback.
The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) is the independent, national nonprofit organization that homeowners trust to improve home energy efficiency and realize substantial savings on their utility bills. RESNET's industry-leading standards are recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others. Since 1995, RESNET-certified inspectors have rated more than 1 million homes. For more information, homeowners can visit us at www.resnet.us or call 1-800-785-8154.
PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM) based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is America's premier homebuilding company with operations in 68 markets, 29 states and the District of Columbia. The Company has an unmatched capacity to meet the needs of all buyer segments through its brand portfolio that includes Pulte Homes, Centex Homes and Del Webb. As the most awarded homebuilder in customer satisfaction, the brands of PulteGroup have consistently ranked among the nation's top homebuilders as surveyed by third-party, independent national customer satisfaction studies.
SOURCE PulteGroup, Inc.