The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are working together to promote Energy Star as a smart consumer decision for products, building upgrades, and homes that save money while they help to save the planet.
The Energy Star Homes Program in particular is working with builders to provide homes that are at least 15 percent more efficient than the national Model Energy Code. This is equivalent to a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Five-Star Home per the national HERS guidelines developed by DOE and the HERS Council. As builders and developers incorporate better building practices, the Energy Star Homes Program provides them with a brand name label and preferred mortgage financing to distinguish their products in the market place.
Additionally, the program gives Americans the opportunity, whether buying affordable or luxury homes, to feel good about helping the environment while living in more comfortable homes that will cost them less to own from the first day they move in. Their Energy Star homes cost less because monthly energy savings typically exceed the small increments in monthly mortgage costs to pay for the extra energy features.
In addition to saving tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a mortgage, Energy Star homes can be positioned for higher resale with years of low utility bills and less obsolescent technologies. Specific features often included in Energy Star homes are advanced insulation, tight construction, high-performance windows, and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems that are likely to become state-of-the-art in the near future.
More comfort, quieter interiors and quality construction for less money every month can help differentiate Energy Star home builders. More satisfied customers with less problems can lead to more referrals and reduced callbacks. EPA has already developed a number of financing solutions that allow Energy Star Home builders to offer preferred mortgage options to their customers.
Lastly, we all benefit. Energy used in homes accounts for over 20 percent of all air pollution emissions in the country. The success of Energy Star Homes is expected to reduce annual carbon emissions by approximately 4 million metric tons by the year 2010. Currently, the Energy Star Homes Program has more than 100 builder and developer partners across the United States, with commitments to build more than 15,000 Energy Star Homes.
For more information, call the EPA Energy Star hotline, toll-free at (888) STAR-YES or go online to the Energy Star Web site. For additional information on how you can partner with Duke Energy to rate your homes for energy efficiency: