Eco Friendly Homes in Minneapolis

You have a eco friendly home. You’ve installed CFL lighting, low-flow faucets and a programmable thermostat. You bring your own bags to the grocery store and you diligently recycle.

Still, you know there’s more you can be doing to embrace green living.

What if, right here in the Twin Cities, you could buy an entire house that was designed and built with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind, or has been remodeled to achieve those goals?

You can, and we can help.

Since 2011, area home builders have embarked on just such a mission. The Builders Association of the Twin Cities is entering its fifth year of the MN Green Path program, which certifies new construction and remodeling projects for energy efficiency and sustainability.

Here’s How Eco Friendly Homes Work

For new construction, builders can achieve either “advanced” or “master” certification, depending on how the home performs in an energy efficiency test done by a third-party rater that’s been certified by the Residential Energy Services Network. The test results in a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index, a score that helps place it in the advanced or master category.

The lower the HERS score, the more energy efficient the home is. A score of 100 is the average rating of a home built to the 2006 International Residential Building Code. A score lower than 55 will earn an advanced certification, while a score of less than 50 qualifies for master certification.

Older homes generally test over 130, and often over 150, and homes built to the current Minnesota energy code will test around 80. A score of 50 means the home is 50 percent more efficient than a similarly sized and aged home.

The HERS Index also is used to give the home a Home Performance Report (HPR), analogous to a Miles Per Gallon window sticker that car buyers have come to expect when shopping for cars.

We can also help you find a home that has attained MN Green Path certification through remodeling. There are three types of Green Path remodeling certifications:

  • Type 1 – This type of remodeling doesn’t alter the home’s “thermal envelope,” the building industry term used to describe windows, doors, walls, floors and ceilings -- the boundary between the home’s living space and the outside. Type 1 remodeling can include high-efficiency lighting; paints, carpets and wood with low levels of volatile organic compounds; and low-flow faucets.
  • Type 2 – These projects alter the home’s thermal envelope but don’t change the square footage.
  • Type 3 – These require major reconstruction of the thermal envelope and a change in square footage.

What Does Green Living in Minneapolis Look Like?

The Parade of Homes tours typically feature Green Path homes, townhomes and condos. Keep an eye on our blog for the date of the next tour.

Research has shown that increasing a home’s energy efficiency increases its sale price. That might not appeal to you now as you prepare to buy one, but it should give you confidence heading into the future, should the time ever come to sell.

Whether you’re motivated by environmental reasons or simply lowering your energy costs, we encourage you to contact us soon so that we can help find you a home to complete your efficient and sustainable lifestyle.