The City of Norman, Oklahoma has undertaken a pilot program to encourage the construction of energy efficient homes in the community. On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, the Norman City Council approved a resolution that offers incentives to homebuilders who build more energy efficient homes for a pilot period of six months.
The program waives a percentage of city’s building permit fee based on the home’s HERS Index Score. The lower the HERS score, the more energy efficient the house and the bigger the discount on the permit.
Under the Norman pilot program, the minimum threshold is a HERS Index Score of 65. Homes that achieve a HERS Index Score of 55 or less would be exempt from the city’s building permit fee altogether. The pilot program will begin on July 1, 2018.
According to the Norman Transcript by having the program as a six-month pilot program allowed the city council “to enact it via resolution instead of an ordinance and gives the city some flexibility to test the waters and make adjustments”.
The Transcript quoted city council member Bill Hickman, “We wanted to incentivize builders to build a better quality product of energy efficient homes,” It has an environmental benefit, but knowing that it costs more money, the incentive was a way to encourage them to do it.”
“We’ve gotten overwhelming support from the building community and the largest homebuilders in town, like Ideal Homes and Home Creations,” Hickman said. “It’s a rare opportunity when we can bring forward a policy that has support from the building community and the environmental community. So I’m very excited and thrilled about this.”
The news outlet quoted Curtis McCarty, of CA McCarty Construction that many homebuyers aren’t very familiar with the HERS rating system, but over time, that could change as homebuyers lean toward prioritizing more energy-efficient homes and become more educated about how improved energy efficiency saves money over time, and it’s worth it.
“It is important to me, and I think it should be important to consumers, but when you talk to most people about a [HERS rating], most people don’t even know what it is … As energy gets more expensive, which it’s going to – nothing gets cheaper, typically, when it comes to energy – I think it will be something that becomes more important,” McCarthy said. “I think public awareness of what a HERS rating is will probably help push them over the top. If you can finance the extra cost over the life of your mortgage and you can reduce your monthly electric bill, then absolutely it will help.”
Check out the RESNET HERS Index interactive tool at www.hersindex.com/interactive.
For the complete news story go to Norman Embraces Green Builders with Incentive Program.