What does the energy star rating mean?

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The Energy Star program was introduced in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency to help homeowners and businesses alike in saving money while reducing greenhouse gas emissions with superior energy efficient practices. Homes, buildings, and industry are responsible for ⅔ of greenhouse

  1. What is the Energy Star program?
  2. How does a home receive the Energy Star certification?

What is the Energy Star program?

The Energy Star program was established to research technologies and strategies to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In 2005, Congress authorized the Energy Policy Act. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act was “established at the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, [as a] voluntary program to recognize and advance energy-efficient products and buildings to reduce energy consumption, improve energy security, and reduce pollution through voluntary labeling of or other forms of communication about products and buildings that meet the highest energy efficiency standards.” After 24 years through the guidance of the EPA, new markets continue to grow by investments of organizations, businesses, and consumers for energy efficiency. Not only do these markets take part in stimulating the economy, but also create job opportunities and environments for the development of new concepts in energy efficient products and practices.

How does a home receive the Energy Star certification?

The Environmental Protection Agency institutes strict guidelines that vary between products, homes, industrial plants, and commercial buildings; that must be met for the Energy Star certification. For the sake of today’s topic, we will focus on the requirements for homes to earn this certification. Before anything else, the builder or developer must create a Partnership Agreement with the EPA. This agreement includes three key necessities. First, through the Partnership Agreement, the builder must select a third party Home Energy Rater to qualify their homes.

Secondly, because all certified builders are not required to exclusively build Energy Star homes, the builder agrees to build at least one Energy Star home a year to maintain their partnership with the EPA. Last but not least, the builder agrees to display the Energy Star label on all verified homes. After a builder has formed the partnership with the EPA and a Home Energy Rater, the builder will present building plans to their Energy Rater. When the home is completed the Energy Rater will come to verify the performance of the new home. Only then is the house issued the Energy Star label. Of course it’s not just simply accomplished, after all, we must be certain the home operates as efficient as possible. Energy Star identifies two pathways, referred to as the Perspective and Performance Paths, that can be taken in earning the Energy Star label. 

The Perspective Path is determined by a predefined package of improvements; the Performance Path is determined by a customized package of upgrades. Each path has expectations and specifications for energy efficiency that are defined by the National Program Requirements. Either path must also complete four inspection checklists; the Thermal Enclosure System Rater, HVAC System Quality Installation Rater, HVAC System Quality Installation Contractor, and Water Management System Builder. You can view the complete checklists here. The checklists cover the science behind building that advocate improved comfort, indoor air quality, and durability for a long lasting home. There are a variety of builders and developers that will just offer Energy Star certifications in particular developments or models, or simply as an upgrade option. There are also developers, like our family at Natale Builders, that are 100% dedicated to building only Energy Star homes throughout their operations.

Since its introduction, over 1.5 million homes and more than 22,000 establishments display the Energy Star certification. These homes and facilities have been the forefront in using less energy and are accountable for remarkably less greenhouse gas emissions than their associates.Energy Star boasts 16,000 partners in a variety of industries with products in over 70 different categories that have been an essential part of the program’s success. At Natale Builders we pride ourselves in building custom, quality, long lasting Energy Star homes in the WNY area. Visit us at NataleBuilders.com and learn why your home should be a Natale home.