Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity has consistently earned low energy efficiency scores on its homes built in Ada County thanks to its high-quality volunteer work. A home’s HERS score is a relative performance score. The lower the number, the more energy efficient the home.
“[Habitat] is a little bit better than most builders. They take the time to build with their volunteers where most builds today are rushed so there's not enough time and effort put into a home,” said Matt Vandermeer, owner of Momentum, an energy compliance testing company.
Energy efficiency saves the homeowner money on their electric bill but also keeps the home warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer. With less air escaping through penetrations like wires and plumbing, a home can be considered more energy efficient.
According to Vandermeer, Habitat’s HERS score is above average.
“I'd say in today’s measurements [a good score] would be 65 to 70. That is 30 percent better than 100, which 100 is a 2006 code home. So, that’s 30 percent better than a home built 16 years ago…”
Habitat’s lowest and most energy efficient score was a 54 HERS score.
“When we build homes that are high quality craftsmanship, our homeowners have more freedom with their finances. If you’re not paying a large energy bill, you can pay for your children’s sports team, donate to non-profits, and invest in your community,” said Janessa Chastain, Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity executive director.
Habitat volunteers and future homeowners not only install products that promote energy efficiency but also receive an education by Momentum about the how’s and why’s of their efforts.
“Our volunteers have learned what holes to caulk and when,” said Paul Thompson, Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity construction manager. “We install all Energy-Star-certified appliances, great triple glazed windows, and LED lighting. We use low water landscaping (xeriscape) when we can to lower the homeowners water consumption. All the aforementioned items are contributors to our low scores. It does take a few more steps in the build process, but the satisfaction of knowing we are building some of the most energy efficient homes in Ada County makes us all feel good about what we are doing.”