Although we wonder how many new homes will be built in 2012, 400 of the nation's builders pledged they will meet newly upgraded Energy Star standards, developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The 400 builders include six of the country's largest - Ashton Woods Homes, Beazer Homes, KB Home, Meritage Homes, M/I Homes and NVR, Inc.
To carry the Energy Star label, new homes will have to be at least 15% more energy efficient than the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). They will also have additional features that deliver a total energy-efficiency improvement of up to 30% compared to typical new homes.
Additional features include:
- home envelope air sealing, properly installed insulation, and high-performance windows
- high-efficiency heating, cooling, and ventilation system designed and installed for optimal performance
- complete water and moisture management package to protect roofs, walls, and foundations
- Energy Star certified lighting and appliances
- Third-party verification, with independent inspections and testing by a certified Home Energy Rater
Since 1995, about 1.2 million new homes have earned EPA's Energy Star, with corresponding savings of nearly $350 million on utility bills, while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 450,000 vehicles.