Sustainably designed residential housing is a $10 billion sector according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Austin real estate is very much a part of efforts to continue building on this momentum.
Central Texas homes for sale, including those built by Brookfield Residential, are prime examples of premiere builders that focus on designing beautiful homes with an emphasis on functionality and efficient utilization of energy, water and other resources. The Environments for Living Platinum is a multi-feature program that serves as the defining guideline for building houses that are durable and efficient to create and maintain a healthy environment for residents.
About EFL Platinum
Environments for Living dates back to 2001, where it started as a program to provide home builders with specific strategies to support energy-efficient construction practices. The program now includes pre-construction planning, inspection support and diagnostic testing, all of which are based on industry standards. For homeowners, this means some guarantees on energy utilization of heating and cooling systems.
The program complies with the standards defined by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program as well as specifications set by Building America, a Department of Energy program. The program itself is product-neutral, but Brookfield Residential ensures strict adherence to the standards, choosing the best equipment, devices and mechanical systems to ensure lighting efficiency, indoor water usage management and power efficiency of all appliances.
High Performance Homes and the EFL Initiative
Buying a home is a visual and tactile process. The features that would initially draw buyers are those that are immediately obvious such as traffic flow between spaces, room design, colors and textures on walls, floors and counters. The home builder has consciously incorporated these features in a way that supports EFL standards. The EFL Platinum program requires more stringent guidelines for energy efficiency. These homes must be 18 percent above the standards set by the International Energy Conservation Code or IECC. Here are some other features of the EFL Platinum program:
Special construction practices such as reinforced framing create a structurally sound home. Walls and roofs are sealed to minimize air leakage from the home’s interior and to protect against moisture intrusion. This feature supports energy efficiency as well.
Constructing the home’s exterior takes careful consideration of airflow and possible sources of water leaks. Using special framing techniques, applying insulation materials and protective covering on exterior walls will prevent airflow and energy loss and protect against water leaks and other sources of moisture intrusion that could damage the interiors or introduce problems that would affect the quality of indoor air. Additionally, sheathing layers may serve as insulation to help filter out exterior noise.
Homes Certified by the EPA Water Sense Program
Water conservation is a key issue in sustainable design because water is a limited resource, and every household uses a lot of it at any given time. These Central Texas homes for sale encourage and support water conservation practices with the goal of reducing the household’s water consumption and dependence on potable water.
Ensuring the Quality of Indoor Air
Indoor air quality is another hot-button issue especially for those who have allergies and sensitivities to air contaminants and pollutants. Fresh air ventilation systems ensure indoor air quality with efficient delivery and distribution of fresh air to help cut down on allergens, dust and outdoor irritants.
ENERGY STAR Appliances
The EFL Platinum program is brand-neutral, but product quality is a main consideration for choosing the built-in appliances that come with these homes. All appliances must be ENERGY STAR-certified to ensure that they meet energy and water usage standards, reducing homeowners' fuel and water bills. These homes are estimated to be more energy efficient by at least 30 percent compared to homes built to comply with earlier energy conservation codes.
Safety for All
Carbon monoxide detectors are strategically placed throughout the home to ensure family safety and peace of mind. Of course, great care has been taken to eliminate sources of carbon monoxide build-up in these homes. These measures include ensuring that certain appliances are power vented if they are placed in air conditioned spaces.
A Guarantee that your Home Will be Comfortable
The heating, ventilation and air conditioning system installed in each home is carefully chosen to provide the right size for the square footage under air. Indoor comfort is important especially when choosing Austin real estate that will become your forever home, and the right-size HVAC, along with efficient and sealed air ducts, will go a long way in ensuring adequate climate control and humidity management inside the home.
Guaranteed Energy Efficiency
One of the features of EFL homes is enhanced thermal systems. Using insulation techniques and high R-value insulation contributes to energy efficiency. The home builder provides a three-year guarantee that the home's heating and cooling usage will not exceed the defined levels provided all systems are set to perform at program standards. If energy usage exceeds the guaranteed level, the EFL program will reimburse homeowners with the full amount that exceeded the guaranteed level.
HERS Rating for EFL Homes
The Home Energy Rating System is an index that measures a building's energy performance. A lower number on the HERS numeric scale indicates greater efficiency in terms of energy utilization. Brookfield Residential homes have an average rating of 62 on the HERS scale, which is much better than many standard new homes and existing Austin real estate.
The process of building an EFL Platinum home begins with an Ecovaluation Review that will determine the environmental and economic significance of building the new home. With adequate planning and strategizing, environmental issues can be mitigated in the early stages, ensuring efficient work flow and resource utilization even during the construction phase.