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Q. I’m shopping for a new home. I’ve heard it’s important to look for one with energy-saving features. But as long as it meets current building codes, isn’t that good enough?

A. Building codes set a baseline minimum for energy efficiency, but you can find homes that meet even higher standards.

Why look for a house with better energy-saving features, such as added insulation, a high-efficiency heat pump or a heat pump water heater? You’ll save on utility costs year after year and enjoy a more comfortable home. You’ll also conserve resources and reduce your carbon footprint.

New construction: Look for EPS

If you’re looking at newly built houses, ask your real estate agent to look for homes that have earned an EPS. That’s an energy performance score from Energy Trust of Oregon that helps you examine a home’s energy consumption and see about how much it would cost to operate. Scores range from zero to over 200. The lower the score, the more efficient the home!

Learn more about EPS from Energy Trust.

Energy-savings checklist for all homes

Whether you’re shopping cute, old bungalows, sleek mid-century homes or new construction, use this checklist to evaluate energy features when touring houses and talking with your realtor. On existing homes, also ask the current owner about the home’s average summer and winter energy bills.

  • Water heaters
  • Heating and cooling system
  • Insulation (higher than code = greater savings)
  • Windows, doors and skylights
  • Sealed, insulated air ducts
  • Appliances
  • Lighting and daylighting

Also ask if the house has been air sealed or was constructed using advanced framing techniques.