After standing pat with its flagship energy program for the first 10 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revamped the thresholds for Energy Star-backed new homes twice in the last half-dozen years.
Energy-efficient homes are 32 percent less likely to go into default on mortgage payments compared with similar houses in the same neighborhood, according to a recent study from the University of North Carolina’s Center for Community Capital. Researchers looked at 71,000 nationally represented owner-occupied single-family homes, 21,000 of them with Energy Star certifications.
Raising the bar
KB Home issues an Energy Performance Guide for each of its new homes to ensure maximum comfort. Photo courtesy of KB Home/APGS.
Builders must not only complete online orientation training to be eligible to build Version 3 homes, but also agree to build at least one Energy Star-certified house every 12 months to maintain their partnership. Builders must then hire a home energy rater who has completed the Energy Star Version 3 rater training with an accredited training provider and utilize an HVAC contractor who has been credentialed by an EPA-recognized industry organization. EPA also periodically offers free webinars about various technical aspects of Version 3, such as understanding HVAC checklists, and developed field guides to aid builders, raters, and contractors with implementing Version 3 code.
Limiting larger homes
David Weekley Homes first enrolled in Energy Star in 1999 to build certified homes such as this residence. Photo courtesy of David Weekley Homes.
Marketing made easy
Providence Homes builds all of its houses to Energy Star standards and guarantees each will operate at optimal energy usage. Photo courtesy of Providence Homes.
Slashing utility bills remains the most tangible, and marketable, benefit for participating in the program since its inception nearly 20 years ago.
Each new Providence house is subject to a comprehensive building inspection, which must be endorsed by a certified home energy rater. Image courtesy of Providence Homes.