Minnesota’s Green Path Helps Home Buyers Make Smart Energy Choices

Green Path

By Wendy Danks

A Measured Approach
New Minnesota homes are some of the most energy-efficient homes in the United States, but that doesn’t mean everyone is created equal when it comes to energy use. That’s where MN Green Path comes in. Green Path Energy Tested homes provide documentation, a Green Path Home Performance Report (HPR), showing the home’s expected energy use. Just like the MPG window sticker on a new car, the HPR provides a shortcut to understanding the complexities of building science, insulation and R-values, heating and cooling equipment and a whole lot more.

To qualify for the Green Path program, homes must be independently tested during and after construction by a certified Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) energy rater. RESNET is an independent, nonprofit national organization that sets standards for energy ratings. Their HERS system is quickly becoming the national standard that provides a consistent and reliable measurement of expected energy efficiency in homes.

The data collected during that energy rating test is then graphically presented in an easy-to-understand form on the HPR. If the home has additional green features – above and beyond what is required by code, the home may become Green Path Certified with all of those green features also presented on the HPR. With HPR in hand, homebuyers can compare and contrast different homes before they buy, getting just the level of energy efficiency and green that they want.

Minnesota’s Green Path Advanced & Master Certifications
When it comes to having a certified green home, most programs are pretty rigid, not Minnesota’s Green Path. The Green Path program was designed to make sure that every homebuyer could go green in their own way.

Green Path offers two certified levels, master and advanced. Each lets the homebuyer create a holistic green home with the choices that meet their own philosophy and price point. There’s a checklist of elective points for green features within the five greenbuild areas, which include energyefficiency, indoor environmental quality, water conservation, resource management and site/development, plus a minimum qualifying HERS index rating for each level.

The Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC) created MN Green Path to help homebuyers make smart housing decisions. Like its 67-year-old Parade of Homes, BATC’s goal is to provide regional families with accurate information about new homes from pricing to location, to style and now energy efficiency and green features. You can learn more about MN Green Path, find other resources about homes and homeownership, as well as find homes on current and past Parade of Homes events on the Parade of Homes website at www.ParadeofHomes.org.