Nearly 17 percent of all single-family homes built nationally in 2008 earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Energy’s Energy Star label, up from 12 percent in 2007, indicating that both home builders and home buyers continue to invest in energy-efficient homes.
Energy-efficient features including properly installed insulation, high-performance windows and high-efficiency heating and cooling can reduce home energy needs by 20 to 30 percent, saving American families thousands of dollars on their utility bills, said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
Nearly 940,000 Energy Star-qualified homes have been built to date, with more than 100,000 of these constructed in 2008, according to the EPA. In 2008 alone, American families living in Energy Star-qualified homes reduced their annual utility bills by more than $250 million — saving over 1.5 billion kWh of electricity and 155 million therms of natural gas while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to nearly 350,000 cars annually.
Market share for Energy Star-qualified homes was 20 percent or greater in 15 states in 2008, including Ariz., Colo., Conn., Hawaii, Iowa, Ky., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.Y., Ohio, Okla., Texas, Utah, and Vt.
To earn the Energy Star label, homes must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the EPA. Typically they include energy-saving features such as:
- Effective insulation systems
- High-performance windows
- Tight construction and ducts
- Efficient heating and cooling equipment
- Energy Star-qualified lighting and appliances