When you choose a homebuilder, you'll be giving them more than just your hard-earned money. You'll also be entrusting them with your family's comfort and safety - and your peace of mind.

The right builder will also make energy efficiency a top priority. He or she should ask questions about your family's lifestyle and discuss energy-saving options throughout the construction process.

Questions to ask potential builders

As you're meeting with potential builders, ask them the following questions:

  • What kind of foundations and framing systems do you usually use?
  • What kind of insulation do you use and what R-value do you achieve?
  • What choices do we have for windows and doors?
  • What are the efficiency ratings of the standard heating and cooling systems?
  • What will it cost to upgrade to high-efficiency products?
  • Do your homes meet federal and utility energy efficiency recommendations?
  • Are you open to using alternative building methods or materials?

As with any major home investment, it's imperative to investigate the builder's license and references carefully, and reach an agreement on costs, timelines and guarantees before signing a contract.