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What are ENERGY STAR Qualified New Homes?

ENERGY STAR qualified homes are independently verified to be at least 30% more energy efficient than homes built to the 1993 national Model Energy Code or 15% more efficient than state energy code, whichever is more rigorous. These savings are based on heating, cooling, and hot water energy use and are typically achieved through a combination of:

bulletbuilding envelope upgrades,
bullethigh performance windows,
bulletcontrolled air infiltration,
bulletupgraded heating and air conditioning systems,
bullettight duct systems and
bulletupgraded water-heating equipment.

These features contribute to improved home quality and homeowner comfort, and to lower energy demand and reduced air pollution. ENERGY STAR also encourages the use of energy-efficient lighting and appliances, as well as features designed to improve indoor air quality.

Here are some questions commonly asked about ENERGY STAR qualified homes:

How does a home earn the ENERGY STAR label?
The ENERGY STAR label is earned only after the home's energy efficiency is verified, either by an independent third-party such as an accredited home energy rater or Builder Option Package (BOP) verifier, or by adhering to the quality control procedures established for HUD-code manufactured homes.

What types of homes can earn the ENERGY STAR label?
Any single-family or multi-family residential home that is three stories or less in height can qualify to receive the ENERGY STAR label. This includes traditional site-constructed homes as well as modular, systems-built (e.g., insulated concrete forms, structurally insulated panels), and HUD-code manufactured homes.

Can existing homes earn the ENERGY STAR?
Yes. Existing homes can be qualified for the ENERGY STAR label if they meet ENERGY STAR's performance guidelines. However, it is not always practical or cost-effective to bring an existing home to this level of efficiency. Nevertheless, the energy efficiency of existing homes can often be greatly improved using cost-effective retrofit techniques. Visit Home Improvement to learn how.

Do energy-efficient homes look different?
No, builders and developers constructing ENERGY STAR qualified new homes do not have to alter their architectural designs. An ENERGY STAR qualified new home can be built in whatever style the consumer prefers or is most popular in a particular geographic region.

Does an energy-efficient home cost more?
No. An ENERGY STAR qualified new home actually costs less because you will spend less on your new home's utility bill each month. These energy savings can more than offset any increase in mortgage payments needed for the improved energy features and can result in a positive monthly cash flow. Further, ENERGY STAR financing partners offer special mortgage packages for buyers of ENERGY STAR qualified new homes.

How will I know if a home is labeled ENERGY STAR?
Look for the ENERGY STAR label, which should be prominently displayed on the circuit breaker box. You can also ask your builder for the home's ENERGY STAR certificate. This optional certificate indicates that the home has been verified to meet EPA's ENERGY STAR qualified new homes performance guidelines.

How can I participate in ENERGY STAR as a home industry professional?
ENERGY STAR currently partners with four main types of home industry professionals: homebuilders, home energy raters, utilities and other sponsoring organizations, and home lenders. After completing and signing a partnership agreement, partners can take advantage of the widely recognized ENERGY STAR name, logos, and a variety of other marketing resources. Other home industry professionals can promote ENERGY STAR as well.

Features of ENERGY STAR Qualified New Homes

Source US Dept. of Energy's Energy Star Website


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You can email Christine Garst at
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