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1 Million ENERGY STAR Homes And Counting

2009 November 10

I have worked with the ENERGY STAR for New Homes program for nearly 10 years – first as the program’s Partner Support Coordinator and now as its Communications Coordinator. When I first came aboard in 2000, less than 14,000 ENERGY STAR homes had been built since the program first kicked-off in 1995. Today, I am truly amazed that we have reached the milestone of 1 million ENERGY STAR Homes built. I could not be more proud!

Consider some of these numbers:

  • This year, families living in the 1 million ENERGY STAR homes will save more than $270 million on their utility bills, while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 370,000 vehicles.
  • There are more than 6,500 builders across the nation currently building homes that earn the ENERGY STAR label. These range from the largest national homebuilders to small custom builders to builders of manufactured and affordable homes.
  • Nearly 17 percent of all single-family homes built nationally last year earned the ENERGY STAR label, up from 12 percent in 2007. And market share for ENERGY STAR is 20 percent or greater in 15 states.

To earn the ENERGY STAR label, a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by EPA. ENERGY STAR homes are at least 15% more efficient than those built to the 2004 Energy Code, and include additional energy-saving features that make them 20-30% more energy efficient than typical new homes. They achieve these energy savings through established, reliable building technologies and a whole home approach to home building, including: effective insulation systems, high-performance windows, tight construction and ducts, efficient heating and cooling equipment, and high-efficiency lighting and appliances. An independent Home Energy Rater conducts onsite testing and inspections to verify that the home’s performance meets ENERGY STAR requirements.

Our success would not have been possible without the tremendous level of support that our program has received from the organizations that have partnered with ENERGY STAR. From the homebuilders who put our label on their homes, to the Home Energy Raters who do the verification needed for homes to earn the label, to the utilities and other organizations that have sponsored ENERGY STAR in their markets through incentives, training, and consumer education and outreach.

It is truly gratifying to know that by looking for the ENERGY STAR, home buyers can get a home that provides greater comfort, saves energy and money, and helps them join in the fight against global warming.

I wonder how long it will take us to reach the 2 million mark?

About the author: Jonathan Passe is the Communications Coordinator for ENERGY STAR Residential Programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  In this role, he oversees national and local communication and outreach efforts to increase consumer awareness of ENERGY STAR in both the new home and home improvement markets.  He has supported EPA voluntary programs, as an Agency employee and as a consultant, for nearly 20 years.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. muir permalink
    November 10, 2009

    the shame is that 1 million homes were built in the first place!

    the market is flush with empty homes that could be retro-energy star’ed before they are put on the market with federal and state incentives for the seller and the potential buyers.
    There is no need to build another new home in this country for many many years!

  2. Jackenson Durand permalink
    November 10, 2009

    I think that those green houses will be prettier.
    From down America South to the Caribbean, this is where the Sun would help generate lot energy Photovoltaic.

  3. Eleanor Foerste; permalink
    November 10, 2009

    How can I get the database (contractors, addresses), HERS scores, year, etc.) of Energy Star Homes for my county? I work for UF and was originally an Ally when the Energy Star Homes program first started. I am wanting to see the progress on energy star homes in my county Osceola County Florida since Energy Star begin to tie into your national press coverage. Can you or a staff member help me with this timely info?
    Eleanor Foerste
    University of Florida IFAS Osceola County Extension
    Faculty, Natural Resources

  4. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    November 12, 2009

    Energy Star is a great program. I do think it would be very important to retofit existing homes that are sitting empty so they can meet or exceed Energy Star requirements. This should not be hard to do and would cost no more and maybe less than a conventional non-Energy Star house. Also, it would be great if all Energy Star homes also incorporated the latest water saving technology for inside use and outside landscaping. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  5. Jason Estes permalink
    November 17, 2009

    Congratulations to Energy Star for their achievements, and being a true role model for green living. The numbers are staggering, I appreciate what you guys are doing for our environment and hope to see other industries follow in your footsteps!

    Jason Estes

  6. Mark Diaz permalink
    January 15, 2010

    What a great job for the future, saving our economy million and billions over time. Great stuff from energy star.

    Mark Diaz

  7. Pepper permalink
    January 28, 2010

    Great programs… Need referral on a development in the mountains of North Carolina on possible grants or funding to create a model green community. Any help appreciated.

  8. russelljb2 permalink
    July 20, 2011

    I have been a builder fro over 10 years now and I recently installed solar panels on my office in hopes of getting potential customers installing them on there new homes. a few have and so far I have some great responses in favor of them.

    Thank You for the article on going green we all need to do our part.

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