U.S. Environmental Protection Agency & U.S. Department of Energy
ENERGY STAR is a government program designed to help consumers identify energy saving appliances and other products. This program began in as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The program claims that families can save about a third of their home energy bill by selecting ENERGY STAR products. Through such savings, ENERGY STAR labeled products saved an estimated $16 million for consumers in the year 2007. In addition to the monetary savings for home and business owners alike, the ENERGY STAR program has also helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 27 million cars per year.
ENERGY STAR has grown from a labeling standard that addressed targeting computer equipment and small appliances to a standard today that covers several product categories ranging from small appliances to whole homes and commercial buildings. Now the ENERGY STAR label appears on products in over 50 categories, on new homes, commercial office buildings and is supported through a network of sponsors and lenders.
ENERGY STAR works by partnering with manufacturers, builders, service providers, small businesses, lenders and other associations to reduce the environmental impact of products and buildings.
ENERGY STAR for the New Home Industry is a program to promote a systematic approach to home design and construction that is energy efficient and reduces the global impact of the housing industry. By partnering with builders, developers, architects, designers, utilities, energy raters and lenders, ENERGY STAR is able to promote and successfully build homes that out perform standard (to-code) constructed houses by at least 15%. To qualify a home must address six categories;
- Effective Insulation
- High-Performance Windows
- Tight Construction and Ducts
- Efficient Heating and Cooling Equipment
- Lighting and Appliances
- Third-Party Verification
The EPA has created both a National Performance Path as well as a National Prescriptive Path to meeting the criteria set forth in the Guidelines for Qualified ENERGY STAR Homes. The Performance Path is based on achieving a certain score with a Home Energy Rating System (HERS), while the Prescriptive Path requires builders to meet a certain set of criteria to achieve the standard. While the ENERGY STAR for the New Home Industry standard is not as complex or detailed as other green home building standards, it does promote more energy efficient design in the new homes market. Contractors, builders and developers use the ENERGY STAR label to market and sell homes to knowledgeable buyers who understand the benefits of energy efficiency.
The process of attaining the ENERGY STAR label for your new site-built home is as follows:
- Step 1: Work with a local Home Energy Rater to ensure that your homes are designed and built to meet ENERGY STAR performance guidelines.
- Step 2: Fill out an online Partnership Agreement, a simple form that explains the proper use of the ENERGY STAR name and mark.
- Step 3: Have your homes inspected and tested by your Home Energy Rater.
- Step 4: Affix the ENERGY STAR label on each qualifying home.
- Step 5: Use ENERGY STAR promotional materials and resources to gain market advantage for your energy-efficient homes.
The ENERGY STAR rating programs don't address home renovations directly, so the only way to attain the ENERGY STAR label on your home is if it was granted when the home was constructed. The EPA has, however, included a series of helpful sites that can aid a homeowner in their attempts to “green” their home. These sites include topics such as common household problems, ways to measure and compare you home energy usage and steps to take to make your home more efficient.
To join the ENERGY STAR program please follow one of the following paths:
- New home industry participants (builders, architects, raters, utilities and lenders)
- Manufacturers of ENERGY STAR qualified products
- Retailers of ENERGY STAR qualified products
- All others not listed should follow the link in the resources section below which will aid in finding the appropriate channel for joining ENERGY STAR.
The entire ENERGY STAR program has taken huge steps in saving the consumer, the service provider and the government large sums of money and prevented tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Through participation in ENERGY STAR and purchasing products that carry the ENERGY STAR label, consumers can know that they are helping to promote a healthier and cleaner environment.
US Department of Energy - http://www.energy.gov/
US Environmental Protection Agency - http://www.epa.gov/
ENERGY STAR Main Page - http://www.energystar.gov/
ENERGY STAR for the New Homes Industry - http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=bldrs_lenders_raters.pt_bldr
ENERGY STAR Home Improvements Site - http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_index
Joining ENERGY STAR as a Sponsor or Partner - http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=join.join_index
Features of an ENERGY STAR Home - http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=bldrs_lenders_raters.nh_features
National Performance Path - http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/bldrs_lenders_raters/downloads/PerfPathTRK_060206.pdf
National Prescriptive Path - http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/bldrs_lenders_raters/downloads/Nat_BOP_Final_062807.pdf
Explanation of HERS (Home Energy Rating System) - http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=bldrs_lenders_raters.nh_HERS