The Energy-Efficient Homebuyer’s Checklist

Shopping for a new home can be equal parts exciting and intimidating. There’s a lot to think about, from aesthetics and layout to health and comfort. We encourage you to make energy efficiency part of the equation. Here’s a quick energy checklist to keep in mind during your search.


Insulation is incredibly important to the comfort and energy performance of a home. Always ask about the insulation and have an inspector take a look at its age and effectiveness. Quality insulation will keep you warmer in winter, cooler in summer, and lower your heating and cooling costs.

Air sealing

Is the home drafty, and are there leaks around doors, windows and fixtures? When a home is properly sealed, it works in tandem with the insulation to provide reliable comfort, lessen the load on the heating and cooling system, and prevent ice dams during cold Wisconsin winters.


It’s always a bonus to have high-efficiency appliances. Whether they come with the property or you’re buying your own for move-in day, choosing an ENERGY STAR® certified clothes washer, dryer or refrigerator can help you save energy and money every day.

Your water heater will also make a huge difference. It’s the second biggest energy user in the home behind heating and cooling. Ask about the age of the unit, and if it’s time to replace, be sure to look into high-efficiency options.

Heating and cooling

According to ENERGY STAR, the average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of this going to heating and cooling costs ( Efficient equipment helps to lower those bills, is quieter and maintains more consistent temperatures in the home. You can improve performance even more with a smart thermostat that automatically learns and adjusts to your schedule and favorite temperature settings.

Energy scores or certifications

A number of government and independent organizations provide scoring systems that rate home energy efficiency. The US Department of Energy uses a rating from 1–10, while some homes may be ENERGY STAR certified or have a Home Energy Rating (HERS) Index Score in the listing. These scores can help to identify and compare how different homes use energy and their energy-saving benefits.

If you’re currently in the market for a new home, ask your real estate agent if they’re a FOCUS ON ENERGY® Ambassador. We work with a network of Ambassadors who are trained on energy efficiency topics and offer exclusive perks. And be sure to check out our Home Maintenance and Energy Guide for helpful after-move-in tips.

For more, check out our Focus Friday Five: Energy Efficiency Tips for Homebuyers video below for some energy efficiency tips from one of our experienced contractors, Steve Pipson!

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