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13 July . 2018

What is EFL? A primer on one of the homebuilding industry’s popular energy efficiency programs

From ARMs to PMI, homebuyers encounter many acronyms in the process of finding, financing and building their new home. Many of these acronyms are related to financing, but EFL, short for Environments for Living, is all about energy efficiency. Here’s a quick backgrounder on EFL, so you can confidently add it to your real estate vocabulary.

EFL, an initiative of TopBuild Home Services, was launched in 2001, in response to a growing need for professional services to support regional and national homebuilders in applying building science and energy-efficient construction practices in the field.

One of the most popular features of EFL is the limited guarantee on energy used for heating and cooling a new home, made possible because the combination of special framing techniques, improved insulation systems and efficient ductwork helps manage the energy used to heat and cool the home.

Those same building techniques help ensure that homeowners won't experience a comfort problem — for example, a bonus room or bedroom that never seems to get warm enough in winter or cool enough in summer.

The program guarantees the original homeowner that the energy used to heat and cool the home will not exceed the guaranteed usage listed on the front of the limited guarantee. Since this is a limited guarantee of energy use and not cost, any reference to dollar amounts is strictly an estimate and actual costs will vary with the cost of energy.

Homebuilders offer homes at one of several EFL levels, each of which includes a progressively extensive suite of benefits. Gold is the first level, followed by Platinum, Diamond, and Certified Green.

Benefits of the EFL program fall into four main bundles, including:

Energy Efficiency. This includes tight construction, improved thermal systems, right-sized HVAC systems, guaranteed energy usage performance, Low-E windows, and energy-efficient lighting and appliances.

Durability. This category includes internal moisture management, tight construction, improved thermal systems, optimum value engineering and paint durability.

Indoor Environmental Quality. Fresh air ventilation, air pressure balancing, combustion safety, enhanced filtration systems, low VOC paints and carpets, and environmentally preferable cabinetry are all covered in this category.

Water efficiency. Low-flow faucets and showerheads, high-efficiency dishwashers and toilets, and high-performance clothes washers make EFL homes some of the most water efficient homes offered.

Meet Elyson’s homebuilders and learn more about their energy efficient features.