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ENERGY STAR Home Program

Have you ever used the phrase: I wish I would have (or as we say in eastern Pennsylvania – I wish I wood-a)? Probably most of us have said this phrase at one point in our lives. Building or doing a major renovation to a home can be a place where this phrase is commonly used. “I wish we would have upgraded to the better cabinets”, “I wish we would have put hardwood floors in”, “I wish we would have made the house more energy efficient” and so on. When building a new home a great place to start is making sure it is an ENERGY STAR home.

As the cost of energy continues to rise, making sure your home is as energy efficient as possible will have life long benefits. To this end, ENERGY STAR has developed the ENERGY STAR Residential New Construction Program. As ENRGY STAR puts it: “To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home or apartment must meet strict program requirements for energy efficiency developed by ENERGY STAR’s Residential New Construction program. These program requirements are based on extensive interaction with the nation’s home-building industry, including builders, developers, verification professionals, and building scientists.

So what does the entail? It starts with the exterior, making sure everything is sealed, proper installation, uses ENERGY STAR windows and so forth. You will hear this referred to as the building envelop or the thermal enclosure. All these elements are designed to prevent drafts and make the house tight. This will greatly reduce the monthly utility bills, as the HVAC system will have to work less. There are some consideration when building a tightly sealed home – make sure to read our blog post on the subject by clicking here.

Next we move to the home’s heating and cooling system (HVAC). An ENERGY STAR Home will have a certified heater and/or air conditioner installed as well as special attention given to the ducting to make sure they are sealed and installed as efficiently as possible. A mechanical ventilation system that draws fresh, filtered outdoor air into the house and exhausts stale air from inside the house is also a requirement of an ENERGY STAR home. This is where Air King comes into the equation with the QFAMD and a host of ENERGY STAR certified exhaust fans and kitchen range hoods.

Onto the water management – yes we said water management. We don’t think too many people would think to add this to the check list but as ENERGY STAR states: “ENERGY STAR certified homes include a comprehensive package of water management practices and materials that help to protect your home from water damage and reduce the risk of indoor air quality problems.” These processes include making sure water is directed off the roof, the home, has moisture-resistant barriers and that materials are protected during construction. All of these ensure the home is being built to last.

We finish with the appliances and lighting. These are probably the easiest to understand, as they are typically the most visible ones. They are also ones that can easily be changed in an existing home. Many ENERGY STAR Home builders will utilize an appliance and lighting package of products that carry the ENERGY STAR certification. Items such as the refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washers, ceiling fans, ventilation fans and so forth should all be ENERGY STAR certified. For lighting, high efficiency LED lamps should be used throughout the entire home.

Building an ENERGY STAR home will have long lasting benefits for your utility bills, your indoor air quality, your piece of mind and for the environment. If you are in the market to build a new home, make sure you talk to your builder about building an ENERGY STAR home. Remember our phrase at the beginning of this blog? Now it will be your friends and family saying, “We wish we would have done what you did.”

To learn more about ENERGY STAR certified kitchen range hoods, exhaust fans and fresh air systems click on the links in the menu bar above. Also visit the ENERGY STAR Residential New Construction Page on their website.

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