Homebuilder to Use RESNET Energy Efficiency Labels

Publicly-traded homebuilder PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM) has teamed with the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) to expand the use of home energy efficiency labels in an effort to help homebuyers compare energy savings and utility costs.

PulteGroup already offers what it calls "consumer-friendly labels" in some of its development communities including Centex, Pulte Homes and Del Webb. The company said the labels are comparable to the miles per gallon (MPG) ratings available on automobiles, but they highlight the energy performance of new homes.

The 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."

The RESNET’s HERS Index is designed to be easy to read and interpret: The lower the HERS score–the greater the energy efficiency of a 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% less energy-efficient than the IECC code. A high-performing ENERGY STAR home will rate much lower, typically from 65-85.

PulteGroup said the pilot program will be evaluated for use nationwide based on analysis of consumer feedback.

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