Leadership

Thrive, Mandalay, Lennar, KB Take Top HERS Score Honors

The two privately-held operators and two publics earned top prizes in the 2023 RESNET Cross Border Home Builder Challenge, a competition designed to promote wider use of the HERS® (Home Energy Rating System) as a single-source-of-truth energy performance industry standard.

Leadership

Thrive, Mandalay, Lennar, KB Take Top HERS Score Honors

The two privately-held operators and two publics earned top prizes in the 2023 RESNET Cross Border Home Builder Challenge, a competition designed to promote wider use of the HERS® (Home Energy Rating System) as a single-source-of-truth energy performance industry standard.

December 15th, 2023
Thrive, Mandalay, Lennar, KB Take Top HERS Score Honors
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This past week, Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) recognized Denver-based Thrive Home Builders, Prescott, AZ-based Mandalay Homes, Lennar, and KB Home, as higher-volume homebuilding standouts in an annual friendly face-off for honors as North America's most energy-efficient homebuilder.

The two privately-held operators and two publics earned top prizes in the 2023 RESNET Cross Border Home Builder Challenge, a competition designed to promote wider use of the HERS® (Home Energy Rating System) as a single-source-of-truth energy performance industry standard.

With almost 3.7 million homes rated in the US, the HERS Index is the
industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is now being measured in the US and Canada. It’s also the nationally recognized system for inspecting, calculating, and labeling a home’s energy performance” noted Steve Baden, executive director of RESNET.

Here's the specific categories Lennar, KB, Mandalay, and Thrive stood out for:

  • Lowest HERS score US Production Builder is Lennar, Mn with a HERS 42.
  • RESNET South President’s Award is Mandalay Homes, Arizona with an average fleet HERS score of 24.
  • RESNET North President’s Award is Thrive Home Builders, Colorado with an average fleet HERS score of 22.
  • US HERSH2O Award is KB Home, California with a HERSH2O score of 44.
We’re thrilled to be recognized with this RESNET award,” Stephen Myers, CEO of Thrive, said in a statement. “We feel our 30-year spirit of innovation is more important than ever as we seek to build homes that improve the lives of the people living within them that are better for them, our community, and our planet.”

For the last three decades, Thrive has been a leader in the green building, wellness, and sustainability space of high-performance homebuilding. The company is focused on building homes in Colorado and offers distinct home collections in Denver, Fort Collins, Broomfield, and Lone Tree in 2024.

From an earlier article in The Builder's Daily by RESNET program director Ryan Meres:

A 2019 study by Freddie Mac determined that HERS Rated homes, on average, sold for 2.7% more than comparable unrated homes. The study also found that homes with lower scores (i.e., more efficient) sold for 3% to 5% more than homes with higher scores.
Builders doing HERS ratings are also using the scores to set performance goals. Analyzing their historic HERS Index scores allows them to set future goals and track their progress toward achieving them. This is important for determining eligibility for incentive programs and knowing how their homes stack up against upcoming energy code adoption in the states where they build."

Meres discusses a number of tax credit programs builders can tap into to offset some of their own – and homebuyers' – costs for enclosure and systems energy upgrades that lower HERS scores.

For Thrive Home Builders founder and former CEO Gene Myers, the root cause behind his push to make the organization a leader on the energy performance front is more personal, more mission-driven.

We wrote earlier:

"We are in the third week of an ozone alert in Denver," says Myers, who recalls time during COVID-19 lock-down last summer where, from his own home's outdoor living area, smoke from the U.S. Western region's fires hung in the atmosphere. The connective tissue – homes, health, climate, and livelihoods – took on clarity in the haze of ozone-filled smoke blanketing the horizon.

"It started to dawn on me then, this connection between the business that we're in, which is making homes healthy and focusing specifically on air quality, and the fact that sheltered space and buildings are the No. 1 producers of carbon emissions impacting the climate."

Myers has evolved one of the more progressed high-volume homebuilding strategies when it comes to integrating high-performance building – on the energy, healthy air quality and comfort, water conservation, home technologies front -- with value-creation that puts customers at the center of its universe. He's in the vanguard among drivers of change toward sustainability via reduced energy use.

Now, Myers feels, the evolution may need to continue. At the very nexus of health, the deteriorating climate, and homes' and communities' role in that balance, urgency has declared itself. Words like those of Steve Jobs -- "you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future" – make sense.

"It's costing on the order of $45,000 for us to get a home to net zero energy," says Myers, noting that municipal and jurisdictional guidelines, compliance criteria, and code are all over the map when it comes to building energy use and performance. "This is expensive, and meanwhile, we've got an affordable housing crisis. What if we were to skip net zero and go directly to zero carbon?"

The reason, Myers senses, is that dots have begun to connect in the minds of consumers, of investors, of potential team members, of partners, of every part of the building ecosystem.

"We've got to decarbonize," Myers says. "Customers are becoming more aware of the connection between the climate and their health – and as the pandemic means we spend more time in our homes – their focus on their own home, how it works, and their health comes clearer."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John McManus

John McManus

President and Founder

John McManus, founder and president of The Builder’s Daily, is an award-winning editorial, programming, and digital content strategist. TBD's purpose is a community capable of constant improvement.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John McManus

John McManus

President and Founder

John McManus, founder and president of The Builder’s Daily, is an award-winning editorial, programming, and digital content strategist. TBD's purpose is a community capable of constant improvement.

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