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Your Timber Frame Home – Maximizing Its Home Energy Rating

When planning your home, you are undoubtedly aware of the high-energy efficiency a timber frame house provides. However, obtaining an Energy Star qualification ensures a number of benefits that are both intrinsic and monetary.  A home’s energy efficiency is calculated to estimate its Home Energy Rating System (HERS). This HERS applies to both new construction and existing homes. HERS ratings, or equivalents, are used in determining Energy Star Certification.  If your new home meets the guidelines, it can qualify for Energy Star certification. Your home will have Energy Star approved appliances, water heaters and lighting. It must also have an energy efficient HVAC system, high performance insulation, windows and duct work.

The HERS Index And Your Timber Frame Home

Evaluation by a certified Home Energy Rater will set your home’s HERS Index. A HERS Index of 100 is the energy use of the “American Standard Building.” An Index of zero signifies that the house uses no purchased energy. The lower number your house scores indicates a more efficiently constructed house. In this case, lower is better.

This can translate into federal tax incentives, a potential for a lower mortgage rate or a higher qualifying dollar amount for your mortgage. It also means reduced energy costs that will continue to save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Pre-Construction Evaluation

A HERS Index can be used to estimate the efficiency of a home that is being constructed. This pre-construction rating is called a “projected rating.” The rating considers climate conditions in your locale and is based on the average energy consumption in your climatic region. Your HERS rater will also review things such as the window-to-wall ratio and the solar orientation of the house. The evaluation also includes performance testing for duct leakage and a blower door test for air leakage.

Having your timber frame home evaluated also gives you peace of mind that you are using the best products and practices in the construction of your home. You can feel confident that you are making a sound investment for your future.

Today, an Energy Star certified home is a smart investment for the future, as it can provide increased value in the marketplace in comparison to the “American Standard Building” that does not have the same level of energy efficiency.

What the HERS Index Won’t Do

Although the HERS Index is a very powerful tool in analyzing your timber frame home’s energy efficiency, it can’t predict how much energy you and your family will use. It also does not take into account the way your family lives and behaves in your home.

If you have an elderly parent who requires the furnace set at a higher-than-normal setting, your heating bills will be more costly than anticipated. In addition, if your children leave every light in the house on or leave doors open when the air conditioner is running, expect your electric bill to be on the high side.

Your energy efficient house can only do so much. You and your family play a crucial role in the effectiveness of your timber frame home’s continued efficiency rating. Efficiency backed with conservation practices will save money, as well as save environmental resources.

Although a timber frame home is typically a well designed, air tight and efficient structure, using HERS guidelines maximizes the efficiency of your home and its systems. It also helps your family to play a part in the environmental stewardship of our planet.

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