Look for performance labeling on homes and dwellings

Posted September 5, 2013 at 12:27 pm

When buying a car, the window sticker displays useful information that can help the consumer. As the cost of fuel continues toward new heights, the miles-per-gallon or MPG ratings have become even more crucial to buyers.

In a similar way, available ratings and certifications can help buyers achieve a more efficient option when selecting a residence.

“A low cost, competitive certification for homebuilders and landlords exists to encourage building or renovating homes to obtain Home Performance with Energy Star,” said Jeff Barber, a housing and urban development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

This type of certification offers consumers a site verified dwelling that meets or exceeds program standards. This whole-house approach improves comfort and energy efficiency while helping to lower utility bills by 20 percent or more.

“This certification is available to existing homeowners for efficiency renovation,” said Barber.

An option that can be included with Energy Star is the EPA’s new Indoor airPLUS certification, introduced in 2009. Included in the Indoor airPLUS label are more than 30 additional home design and construction features.

“The intention of these designs is to help protect qualified homes from moisture and mold, pests, combustion gases and other airborne pollutants,” said Barber.

To complete the EPA program of health and conservation measures, WaterSense certification offers a process to verify efficient water use both inside and outside the home. According to Barber, a WaterSense label is earned by verifying specific measures of water use and making sure certified fixtures are used. With a WaterSense label, a future occupant can be assured of the home’s performance.

“EPA labels can offer consumers confidence that the homes they choose to rent or buy will provide efficient and healthy performance,” said Barber.

For more information on these certifications, contact Barber at the Greene County Extension Center in Springfield at (417) 881-8909 or online at http://extension.missouri.edu/greene.