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Seven Frequently Asked Questions About Energy Star Homes

By Rick David

1. What is an Energy Star® Home?

According to the U.S. Government, an Energy Star qualified home uses at least 30% less energy in heating, cooling and hot water, than those built according to the 1993 National Model Energy Code. Energy Star homes may use even less energy than homes built before 1993.

2. What techniques are used in building an Energy Star home?

Energy Star homes are built with energy efficient appliances, high performance windows, improved insulation, tightly sealed construction with little air infiltration, upgraded heating and air conditioning systems, efficient ducting, and upgraded water heating equipment.

3. Can an Energy Star home save money?

Yes. Energy Star homes have the capability to lower monthly utility bills by at least 30 percent There are also significant savings in obtaining an energy efficient mortgage from an Energy Star lender. Energy Star homes could also have a higher resale value."

4. Are Energy Star homes good for the environment?

Yes. 15 percent of U.S. energy use is from home consumption. Home energy use produces 17 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Since 1995, Energy Star homes have eliminated four million pounds of carbon emissions nationwide and the U.S. Government has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 9 million metric tons through Energy Star qualified homes by the year 2012.

5. Are Energy Star homes healthier to live in?

Yes. Energy Star homes are built with tight construction standards, including the air sealing of the joints, holes and seams created during construction. This air sealing greatly reduces the penetration of outside air pollution, pollen, car exhaust, dust, radon and pest infestation. Condensation within the wall structure, which is responsible for mold formation, is also lowered or eliminated.

6. Are Energy Star homes comfortable?

Yes. Because the home is air sealed and tightly constructed, cold drafts are virtually eliminated, outside moisture is greatly lowered, and the home is much quieter. Room temperature is equalized in different locations of the home. Air ducting is balanced, producing the same amount of air flow from each grill, even in remote rooms.

7. How will I know if a new home is Energy Star compliant?

The Energy Star label should be prominently displayed near the circuit breaker box of your new home. You can also ask the builder for the home's Energy Star certificate. Verified Energy Star builders such as http://www.pardeehomes.com can be located @ EnergyStar.gov under "Find Local Homebuilders"

Rick David writes for Consumer-Guides.info and other online publications on topics of consumer interest and advocacy. Pardee Homes is an Energy Star partner and builder of energy efficient new homes in Southern California and the Las Vegas Valley of Southern Nevada.