Energy Efficiency and the Luxury Custom Home Builder

Energy efficiency systems and materials have been available to builders for decades, but in our increasingly energy-conscious world, these principals have never been more important.

Luxury custom home builders in Columbus and the Midwest know that intriguing designs and top-of-the-line materials are not enough for today’s new custom home buyers. Energy efficiency has moved to the forefront in the minds of many homebuyers, and new home builders have stepped up to meet those heightened expectations. New custom-built homes must work well for the families that live in them, both in terms of features and amenities and in energy efficiency.

They should be designed to accommodate the changing lifestyles and tastes of the consumer. Larger rooms with open floorplans are one of the most popular features in new homes for sale today. “Outdoors in” is also an extremely popular new home construction design trend for new custom homes and conventionally built homes alike. But neither of these designs are conducive to energy savings.

Today, builders of new custom homes know there are ways to achieve energy efficiency in tandem with modern design features. Few have the capability to produce stunning new custom homes with the highest standard of energy efficiency.

Among builders of new custom homes for sale in Columbus,Ohio, Romanelli & Hughes combines the most advanced energy-saving building materials, equipment and techniques with exceptional home design.

Consultants Help Energy Efficiency Happen in New Custom Homes

John Johnson of Tacoma Energy, a full-service energy efficiency consultant to the residential construction industry, comments that most builders hire consultants like his to achieve a high level of energy efficiency. But, he adds, the rating is subjective.

“The way R&H builds new custom homes is so far above and beyond these requirements that there is no comparison among builders of new custom homes of their scale in the Columbus area.” Romanelli & Hughes makes it an essential part of their business to achieve an energy efficiency standard higher than “99% of their competitors.”

The U.S. Department of Energy Building Energy Codes Program is based upon the International Residential Code or IRC and each state also has its own set of amended regulations within this wider federal directive. The Residential Code of Ohio regulates one- two- and three-family dwellings and is overseen by the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Industrial Compliance Board of Building Standards. Johnson sits on this board.

Romanelli & Hughes Residential Design Manager Steve Jones explains that achieving that level of energy efficiency isn’t easy.

“Smaller builders like those who produce less than 25 homes per year can more easily achieve higher levels of energy efficiency. But R&H is larger, building an average 100 to 150 new custom homes a year. Keeping high standards of energy efficiency are just more difficult when you are building more homes.”

New Homes for Sale in Columbus Ohio Benefit from Energy Efficiency Programs

Each year, energy companies such as American Electric Power of Ohio (AEP Ohio) and Columbia Gas of Ohio have EfficiencyCrafted℠ programs to provide guidelines for residential builders in Central Ohio. EfficiencyCrafted℠ homes are built using “advanced green construction practices; design details and materials proven to meet a higher standard of energy performance.”

Romanelli & Hughes homes have made the EfficiencyCrafted℠ builder list for over a decade.

In 1995, the U.S. government introduced the ENERGY STAR residential new construction certification for home builders. The ENERGY STAR program established strict energy efficiency requirements based upon input and research conducted with the country’s home building industry, including builders, developers, verification professionals and building scientists.

Both the ENERGY STAR and EfficiencyCrafted℠ programs are based upon the HERS or Home Energy Rating System Index. HERS was developed by the Residential Energy Services Network or RESNET to gauge how energy-efficient a home is. HERS ratings apply to newly built homes. To determine how energy-efficient an existing home is, homeowners can get an energy audit.

A standard new home earns a HERS index score of 100, and most scores fall between 0 and 150. The lower the number, the more energy-efficient the home. As a member of the HERS 40 club, Romanelli & Hughes scores typically range from 42-52, insuring that their custom homes always rate in the green zone for an environmentally friendly home.

ENERGY STAR certified homes are at least 10% more efficient than homes built to the local building code and achieve a 20% energy efficiency improvement on average. Builders must adhere to very specific requirements in terms of using the proper materials, installation techniques, and heating and cooling systems, water management systems and energy-efficient lighting and appliances.

The following are features of the ENERGY STAR certified home:
  • Enhanced comfort
  • Improved durability of heating and cooling systems
  • Reduced maintenance costs on materials and heating and cooling systems
  • Lower monthly utility bills
  • Improved air quality
  • Roofing, walls and foundations protected from water damage
  • Superior performance and durability of electrical systems and appliances

For more information on energy efficient new custom homes by Romanelli & Hughes, contact one of our designers today. We have homes in the best Columbus Ohio neighborhoods.