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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the launch of a new certification for energy efficiency: Energy Star NextGen Certified Homes and Apartments. This voluntary certification program for the residential new-construction sector aims to accelerate the building industry’s adoption of advanced, energy-efficient technologies and was developed with funding from the Inflation Reduction Act.

The new certification offers an additional level of recognition for homes that are equipped with leading-edge, efficient electric technologies and electric-vehicle charging capabilities to maximize energy and emissions savings.

Any home or apartment eligible for certification through the existing Energy Star programs for single-family and multifamily housing can also pursue Energy Star NextGen certification, according to the EPA. The new certification uses the same home energy raters, inspection processes, and quality assurance protocols as the current Energy Star program, and raters can verify homes for the NextGen label using a one-page checklist at the same time they're certifying a home for the Energy Star program. The NextGen certification isn't intended to replace the existing Energy Star certification; in fact, meeting energy-efficiency requirements for Energy Star is a prerequisite for earning the new NextGen certification.

The EPA says Energy Star NextGen certification will recognize homes that are more energy efficient; reduce on-site emissions through the use of heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, and electric cooking appliances; and have electric vehicle charging. Compared with typical code-level construction, the EPA says homes earning the NextGen certification will be 20% more efficient and will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% to 80%.

Some home builders have already begun building to the NextGen specification. They include:

Beazer Homes (Maryland)
GreenSmith Builders (Minnesota)
New Tradition Homes (Washington)
Quantum Equities (Washington)
Thrive Home Builders (Colorado)

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