Can your home measure up to Energy Star status?

To earn the Energy Star rating a home must meet guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are a least 15 percent more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC) and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20-30 percent more efficient than standard homes.

Any home three stories or less can earn the Energy Star label if it has been verified to meet EPA’s guidelines, including; single family, attached, and low-rise multi-family homes; manufactured homes; log, concrete and even existing retrofitted homes.

Energy Star qualified homes can include a variety of ‘tried-and-true’ energy-efficient features that contribute to improve home quality and home-owner comfort:

            1. Effective insulation ensures even temperatures throughout the house, reduced energy use and increased comfort.

            2. High-performance windows likely feature protective coatings and improved frames to help keep heat in during winter and out during summer. These windows also block damaging ultraviolet sunlight that can discolor carpets and furnishings.

            3. Tight construction and sealed ducts keep holes and cracks in the home’s “envelope” from allowing drafts, moisture, dust, pollen and noise to enter the home.

            4. Efficient heating and cooling equipment uses less energy to operate, can be quieter, reduce indoor humidity and improve the overall comfort of the home.

            5. Energy Star products lead to lower electric bills; examples include lighting fixtures, compact fluorescent bulbs, ventilation fans and appliances, (refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines).

            6. Third-party verification is required. With the help of independent Home Energy Raters, Energy Star builder partners choose the most appropriate energy-saving features for their homes. Additionally, raters conduct onsite testing and inspections to verify the energy-efficiency measures, as well as insulation, air tightness and duct sealing.

For further information go to http://www.energystar.gov/.

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