“Among the characteristics that home buyers are increasingly looking for in a home is energy efficiency. In fact, in a recent National Association of Home Builder survey of homebuyer preferences, energy efficiency features topped the list of desirable items.
For example, the survey data indicate that 94 percent of home buyers want energy-star rated appliances, 91 percent want an energy-star rating for the home and 89 percent want energy-star rated windows.
However, surveys of home buyers also indicate that cost and payback time horizons remain concerns when selecting energy efficient features. For example, the 2012 NAHB survey found that the average home buyer was willing to pay $7,095 more for a home to reduce energy costs by $1,000 annually. This suggests a required 14 percent rate of return. And this rate-of-return requirement increases for more cash constrained lower-income and first-time buyers. First-time home buyers demand on average a nearly 16 percent rate of return, according to the survey.
The good news for home buyers is that the nation’s housing stock is becoming more energy efficient through remodeling. And newly-constructed homes tend to be more efficient than older homes with respect to energy use, particularly as measured on a per square foot basis.”
The Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration Residential Energy Consumption Surveys data provides proof. Using the 2009 data, the chart reports per household member and per square foot energy use by year of construction for homes. There are clear energy efficiencies available for newer homes, including notable benefits for homes built after 1970.
Households in homes built in the 2000s use on average 37.1 thousand British Thermal Units (BTUs) per square foot annually, while homes from the 1980s use 43.5 thousand BTUs per square foot. For homes built before 1940, which account for about 15 percent of the housing stock, annual per square foot energy usage rises to an average of 51.6 thousand BTUs.
Why start with something that was constructed poorly when you are looking to buy a home when you can build an energy efficient home with a tight envelope?
excerpt from article by Robert Dietz