To earn the Energy Star, a dwelling has to meet strict rules for energy efficiency put forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Energy star houses are a minimum of fifteen percent more energy efficient than dwellings built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and provide additional energy-saving amenities that typically result in them being 2030% more efficient than regular houses. Any house that is 3 stories or less is able to qualify for the Energy Star label if it has been verified to meet EPA's guidelines for energy efficiency. This includes newly constructed houses, attached or detached homes, single or low-rise multi-family residences, existing homes, retrofitted homes, and even manufactured homes.
Energy Star qualified residences achieve energy savings because of established, dependable building methodologies. Builders work with home energy raters to select from various features when developing and constructing homes. These include effective insulation, energy efficient widows, tightly sealed seams and ducts, high efficiency heating and air conditioning, and high efficiency lights and kitchen appliances.
Energy efficient insulation is certainly one of the most significant elements of an Energy Star compliant home. Properly applied, environment-suitable insulation in walls,attics,and floors ensures even temperatures all through the house, lowered energy consumption, and increased comfort. Improvements during the past several years in insulating materials and installation techniques have allowed for substantial improvements in home energy efficiency.
High energy efficiency windows are another enhancement available in Energy Star certified homes. Energy-efficient windows utilize advanced technologies, like temperature shielding films and improved framework assemblies, to help keep heat in during winter and out during the summer months. These special windows also block damaging UV rays that might fade rugs and furnishings.
Tight seams and tightly sealed duct-work are an additional vital energy saving feature. Sealing cracks and holes in the house's "envelope" and in ventilation ducts helps lessen drafts, dampness, dust and pollen, and noise conduction. A tightly air-sealed home improves comfort and the quality of indoor air while decreasing utility bills.
High efficiency heating and cooling equipment are a must for maximum energy cost reductions. Besides using decreased power to run, energy-saving HVAC units tend to be more quiet, usually lower indoor moisture, and enhance the general comfort of the house. Commonly, energy-efficient equipment is also more sturdy and necessitates less maintenance than standard versions.
New enhanced high efficiency lighting and appliances also add to diminished energy use. Energy Star compliant properties may also be equipped with Energy Star compliant products including lighting, compact fluorescent light bulbs, ventilation fans, and kitchen appliances, such as refrigerators, dish washers, and washing machines. These Energy Star certified products present extra energy cost savings to the owner.
Independent verification is required for a house to be eligible for Energy Star certification. With the assistance of independent home energy raters, Energy Star builder partners decide on the optimal energy-saving amenities for their properties. In addition, raters conduct onsite testing and inspections to confirm that the homes meet the requirements as Energy Star.