The ENERGY STAR® Home
Green building, or sustainable building, is now a mainstream residential construction practice, no longer just an ecological consciousness statement without widespread adoption. Quality residential builders are making a vital commitment to environmental stewardship and responding to new home buyers’ demands for a responsible approach to residential building for the future. Both builders and homebuyers desire a better quality product that protects the environment for future generations.
Builders may choose to participate in a number of different programs, but, regardless, all major programs have one common denominator – greater energy efficiency. This efficiency translates to a reduction in your energy costs and a more responsible use of our energy resources. Georgia Power’s ENERGY STAR Home Program is one of the most respected programs that home builders use. Since becoming an ENERGY STAR partner in 2005, Georgia Power has been working with builders around the state to promote energy efficiency in the new home market.
What is ENERGY STAR?
You may see the ENERGY STAR logo but not know what it means. Created in 1992 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it identifies more than 50 different product categories that are energy efficient and offer the features, quality and personal comfort that today’s consumers expect. Products that earn the ENERGY STAR label include appliances, lighting, consumer electronics, HVAC systems, and, yes, even entire homes. The ENERGY STAR label on a new home means that it is significantly more efficient than a standard home.
What makes a home ENERGY STAR qualified?
ENERGY STAR qualified homes comply with three main requirements for overall construction and require that participating Builders:
How do you know which of two similar homes is more energy efficient?
- Use a “house as a system” approach to building. Builders carefully consider all of the systems in the home, including heating and cooling, windows, doors, insulation, appliances and lighting.
- Meet EPA guidelines for energy efficiency and surpass standard home performance. ENERGY STAR homes are significantly more efficient than homes built to local codes and include important energy efficient features such as effective insulation levels; energy efficient heating and air conditioning equipment; a tightly sealed duct system; tight construction; ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and lighting; and high performance windows.
- Engage in third party verified onsite inspections and diagnostic testing by a Home Energy Rater. When buying an ENERGY STAR new home, consumers know their home will operate at optimal levels for greater durability and lower maintenance.
When comparing two similar homes you must know more about their construction than you can discern by looking at the outside. The aspects of the home that make it ENERGY STAR qualified are generally those items that you cannot see, such as tight duct work for the home’s heating and cooling system, high performing insulation behind the walls and in the attic, and the energy efficient quality of the windows. Most of us take these items for granted or do not really give them any consideration when making our decisions on a new home purchase. But with a home that has earned the ENERGY STAR label, the purchaser does not have to worry about those items because they have been independently verified that they meet a higher standard.
To learn more about the benefits of an ENERGY STAR home, contact an ENERGY STAR builder in your area or visit www.georgiapower.com/energystar.