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.