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Good Cents Home Program

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The Good Cents program is one of the oldest and largest energy efficient home certification programs in the country. It was developed in 1976 to encourage builders to construct energy efficient homes. Since that time, more than 750,000 Good Cents homes have been built across the country, and that number continues to grow by 60,000 every year.

Good Cents Qualified New Homes are built for energy savings, quality and comfort. They are designed with construction techniques that exceed the current International Energy Codes. A Good Cents Home offers significant energy savings each and every year. These savings are based on heating and cooling energy used and is achieved through a high quality of overall construction of the home.

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  • Energy efficient design (designed to reduce solar heat load into house)
  • Improved building envelope construction (controlled outside air infiltration)
  • Improve attic ventilation (reduces attic temperature)
  • High efficient heating and air conditioning systems (16 SEER or better)
  • Improved wall insulation (sprayed, applied fiberglass or cellulose) less air infiltration
  • Roof and exterior wall radiant barrier (reduces solar heat)
  • Attention to detail during construction (overall better quality of construction)
  • Significant energy and fuel bill savings


The first step in building an energy efficient home is to consider the home as a system and the interaction of its various components. A builder must understand that any change in one part of the system will impact the house as a whole. Primary consideration should be given to the thermal envelope (outer covering) as the first line of defense between the indoor and outdoor environments. Selection of proper components (walls, windows, doors, etc.) and the manner in which these components are installed will determine performance of the envelope.

Air can pass through insulation like people can breathe through a dust mask. A builder must take time to create an unbroken air barrier in the building envelope by using caulk, foam, gaskets and house-wrap. If the house is leaky, the infiltration rate goes up and the insulation won't achieve its resistance value (R-value). The insulation R-value can be negatively impacted by voids, gaps, or compression of the material. Proper insulation installation is just as important as the R-value.

In our southern climate the heat is not the only battle, HUMIDITY is the hidden monster that is not talked about. Humidity travels with the air, so the less air infiltration into the home, the less humidity. Just ask any A/C technician about the burden that high humidity creates on your air conditioning system and the impact it has on a home when trying to cool it.

Given the new products and knowledge in today's industry, the OLD rule of thumb of 500 square feet per ton needs to be re-evaluated. If the proper materials are used and work is done correctly, the additional capacity should not be required. Properly sized and installed equipment can avoid reduced equipment life, high fuel bills and the ability to remove moisture.

If these energy saving improvements are implemented at the start of construction, costs will be minimal and can be offset by reducing the cost of cosmetic items. Paint, wallpaper, carpeting and other items can be changed and upgraded later with relatively little cost. With energy costs on the rise we cannot afford to ignore the importance of building an energy efficient home. After a home is built, it is too costly and almost impossible to make the energy improvements that are initially built into a Good Cents Home.

In short, education is a key component in selecting or building a better and more efficient home. Doing it right the first time and paying attention to detail will pay off in the long run.

Good Cents Homes make good sense for everyone: the builder, the realtor, the homeowner and the utility provider.

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