Saving energy is not only good for the environment, but good for your wallet, too! And, thanks to the federal government's ENERGY STAR program, it's now easier to build and buy homes with energy efficiency in mind.
You've probably surmised that a home carrying the ENERGY STAR label will reduce your utility bill as well as your greenhouse gas emissions. But did you know it can also increase your home's level of comfort? Tighter construction prevents common home problems like moisture on window panes, ice dams, peeling paint, and mold.
origins and results
Many of us today recognize the blue ENERGY STAR label, which goes to show how successful this program has become since it started in 1992. Facing environmental concerns, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented this program to identify and promote energy-efficient products, homes, and buildings.
The program's efforts have paid off. More than 101,000 new homes earned the ENERGY STAR in 2012. That means Americans saved about $32 million on their utility bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 36,000 vehicles from the road!
Today over 1.5 million homes have the ENERGY STAR seal. You can visit the ENERGY STAR website to find a builder in your region.
Also, many retailers are stocking their shelves with ENERGY STAR products, such as appliances, lighting, home office equipment, consumer electronics, and heating and cooling equipment. Just look for that ENERGY STAR label.
ENERGY STAR homes feature a tighter home envelope and duct sealing, as well as improved levels of insulation, high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, and energy-efficient windows.
Benefits from building with energy conservation in mind:
- Air leaks and uncomfortable drafts are reduced — Tightly constructed homes with well-sealed ducts result in lower utility bills and quieter, more comfortable homes.
- Air pollution is blocked — Tight construction also means indoor air pollution is minimized since pollutants like pollen, moisture, and dust can't seep in through the cracks.
- Air temperature is more regulated — High-performance windows keep heat in during the winter and block it out during the summer, meaning harmful ultraviolet sunlight that can discolor carpets and furnishings is also blocked.
- Heating and cooling equipment is more efficient — An ENERGY STAR home uses around 20 to 30 percent less energy for heating, cooling, and water heating than a home built to the Model Energy Code, which also sets standards for energy efficiency.
- Homes are sold at a higher resale value — ENERGY STAR homes reduce utility bills by about 20 percent annually, a major selling point for most home buyers. So, regardless of how long you own, you'll likely enjoy a higher resale value due to a growing demand for energy efficiency.
If you're interested, you may qualify for national and local ENERGY STAR mortgages. Along with easier loan-qualification requirements, you may also receive discounted loan origination fees. You can contact the EPA ENERGY STAR Hotline at 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937) or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We also recommend reliable insurance for your energy-efficient home. You can get a free homeowners or condo insurance quote online anytime.
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