Energy Star has developed a program for energy-efficient homes. The Energy Star program for Homes, built to meet energy efficient requirements, was developed specifically for the U.S. market. Homes that are built meeting Energy Star standards are at least 15 percent more energy efficient than the 2009 Energy (efficiency) code (IECC). As well as attaining energy efficiency, the Energy Star for homes program seeks to improve comfort and indoor air quality.
A home, that meets Energy Star requirements, has building components that are superior to those found in typical homes. More energy efficient insulation and windows is installed than typical. Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems are more energy efficient than one normally sees. Drafts and air leakage are greatly reduced from what is seen in typical construction. Other features in a home that are upgraded, for the sake of energy efficiency and comfort, include lighting, kitchen appliances, roof and siding color, and attic ventilation.
The Energy Star program has minimum requirements for all of the building components listed above. These minimum requirements vary throughout the country in order to match the differing climatic conditions in our large country. Our various climates present different types of needs to keep homes warm or cool.
Homes built to the standards of the Energy Star program typically save occupants 20 percent on their energy bill, resulting in enormous savings. Comfort is provided with consistent temperatures across rooms and in all parts of the house. Indoor air quality is enhanced by the reduction of dust, pollen, and excessive humidity.
The Energy Star Home program is extremely popular with the public. Homebuilders have met their customers’ demands for Energy Star certified homes. Many homebuilders build to Energy Star standards entirely and no longer build conventional homes. According to the EPA, nationally, 25 percent of all new homes built in 2010 were built in accordance with the Energy Star program requirements. In Colorado, 45 percent of all new homes in 2010 were built to the Energy Star standard and were certified.
In coming years, the Energy Star program requirements will continue to rise. A larger portion of the public will learn about the program and many consumers will purchase Energy Star homes. Each of these consumers will have homes that are more energy-efficient, comfortable, and have much better indoor air quality.