25% of Homes Energy Star Rated

Originally published by: Energy BoomSeptember 26, 2011

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that 25 percent of all single-family homes built in the United States in 2010 earned the EPA’s prestigious Energy Star certification. This is up from 21 percent in 2009.

Energy Star is a joint EPA, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program that helps consumers save money and protect the environment by using less energy. This means energy-efficient products, like refrigerators and dishwashers, and homes built to stringent energy-efficient standards that guarantee fewer kilowatt-hours of electricity used to heat and cool, and therefore lower utility bills.

New homes can earn the Energy Star label by meeting certain specific energy-efficiency mandates established by the EPA. These include:

Effective whole-house insulation systems

High-performance (low-e, gas-filled, double- or triple-paned) windows

Careful construction to insure a leak- and draft-proof home

Effective yet energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment

Lighting and appliances that also meet Energy Star standards

The superb construction and airtight quality of an Energy Star home are the result of the extra care and attention to detail taken by 6,500 home builders in the U.S. who take seriously their part in the clean energy future as announced by the Obama Administration.

In addition to those 6,500 conscientious builders whose homes qualify for the Energy Star label, there are more than 20,000 organizations which act as Energy Star partners, insuring that energy-efficient services and products reach American consumers in a timely and affordable fashion.

How much does an Energy Star-certified home save? According to North Carolina-based Southern Energy Management, a firm vested in energy efficiency and solar energy, Energy Star homes save 29 percent over an identical but less efficient home built in 2009-2010, or 39 percent over a standard, stick-built home constructed in 1994.

The Energy Star home base is growing. In 2009, the EPA passed the one-million mark for Energy Star-qualified homes in the marketplace. These 1.2 million new energy efficient homes built since 1995, the year the Energy Star program went into effect, represent only a fraction of the 18,682,100 new homes built since 1995, yet their impact on energy is huge.

These 1.2 million homes represent savings of nearly $350 million on utility bills, and the reduced energy use has helped avoid 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, or CO2, as well as equivalent emissions (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, etc.) associated with coal-burning power plants. It is also the equivalent (in emission’s reductions) of keeping 450,000 cars off U.S. roads.

In fact, given the relative stability of housing starts in 2009 (445,100) as compared to 2010 (470,900), and the increasing ratio of Energy Star homes, it’s quite possible that the next decade will see energy-efficient building taking over the construction industry, if government does not mandate it first, at either the state or federal level

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