What is a HERS Rating?
HERS Ratings are a way to measure the overall energy efficiency of a building. HERS stands for the “Home Energy Rating System”. Essentially, it is a miles-per-gallon rating for a house. The index number is the score of the house which is calculated using all known factors affecting the energy use of the house such as insulation, heating and cooling efficiencies, window qualities, air-infiltration, and duct-leakage.
When those factors are all plugged into a very complicated mathematical formula, the software used to calculate the rating produces a number on a scale from zero to five hundred. On that scale, zero represents a zero net-energy home which produces as much energy as it uses, and a score of five hundred represents the worst possible construction and climate such as an uninsulated shack built in the arctic.
What is a Perc?
Traditional septic systems only work if the soil in the leach area is sufficiently permeable that it can absorb the liquid effluent flowing into it. Also, there must be at least a few feet of good soil from the bottom of the leach pipes to rock or impervious hardpan below, or to the water table. The specific standards vary from town to town, but any of these characteristics can prohibit the use of a standard gravity-fed septic system. In some cases, a more expensive alternative septic system may be allowed. To determine is a building site is suitable for a septic system, a percolation test (typically called a “perc test’ or “perk test”) is required. Learn more…
Are you an ENERGY STAR builder?
Many builders claim they build energy efficient homes- but can they prove it? We can! Many claim to employ energy efficient techniques and building products, but do not live up to the ENERGY STAR requirements. Can the builder prove his homes are energy efficient through third-party verification and testing processes, ensuring your new home meets the EPA’s strict guidelines for energy efficiency? These practices cost the builder approximately $5,000-$7,000 in addition to the costs of a standard home. Find out more about ENERGY STAR.
Can you build Green?
Envy homes does build "Green" homes. Majority of the builders do not understand what goes into building a complete green home so it is important if your are looking for this type of home that you pick the right builder that can build it. If you are looking for Green Built homes please see this link.
Do you implement new technologies or techniques when building your homes?
Building materials and techniques are constantly improving. By using these techniques when building your home you will increase the overall quality and energy efficiency of your home. With features such as geothermal heating, structured wiring and radiant floor heating, you can save money over time while improving the quality of your home.
Are you licensed in the State of Michigan?
Your builder should be licensed by the State of Michigan. This requires a grueling examination plus evidence of past experience and expertise in the field he is building in. The state requires the builder to renew this license on a regular basis. He must provide the state with current financial information, insurance certificates, etc. Do not contract with any builder who is not licensed.
Who owns the company? Who holds the license?
You should also make sure that the principal of the company is the license holder for the company. The license is the glue that holds the builder's firm together and the builder does not want to risk that license. From time to time a building firm will use an employee as a license holder. The problem with this is, should a problem occur, your recourse is with the license holder who may not be an owner of the company. You should ask to see the license for the company and be absolutely sure that the principal is the license holder and not an employee. Do not take this for granted!
Are you a custom home builder, or have you only built speculative homes?
While most builders are capable of constructing a speculative home, a custom builder must provide a higher level of quality and craftsmanship. Is this builder the right match?
Are you a member of the local professional builders associations?
As a general rule, builders who are involved with a builder's organization keep abreast of consumer trends and preferences. They know about relevant legislation and regulations. They are more comfortable with new technology and get good ideas from their builder colleagues.
Can you provide references?
A reputable builder has previous clients to offer as references. The buyer can call them and ask how they like living in their house. Ask if they would recommend the builder to a friend.
What else have you built?
Go to see other homes the builder has built. How do they look? If you see that the owner is home, you should ask if they like their home.
May I see a house under construction?
Take a look at the job site. A professional builder will have a well-organized operation, with tools and materials stored neatly, rubbish picked up regularly and people working efficiently.
How long have you been in business?
The builder should have an established business presence in the community. How long has the company been in business? Longevity usually suggests financial stability. Does he have an office you can visit or does he operate out of a pick-up truck?
How can I contact you if I have a problem?
A creditable builder will have a staffed office, plus a pager or cellular phone. You want to be able to reach the builder quickly and easily – during any time of day and especially at critical times. If the only number a builder has is his cell phone, you should be concerned.
Do you offer a Homeowner’s Warranty?
Builders should always provide a Homeowner's Warranty on all newly constructed houses. The warranty protects a buyer from defects in workmanship and unexpected repairs to their new house. If so, what kind and for how long? What is covered under the warranty? What is
not covered under warranty?
Do you have insurance?
Your builder must be insured! It protects you from being sued if someone he hires gets hurt while working on your property. He should have liability and workers compensation.