The number of newly built homes may have ebbed during recent years, but green homes certainly are gaining ground.
A full 25 percent of new single-family homes built in the U.S. in 2010 earned Energy Star qualification, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, an increase from 21 percent of homes in 2009.
Overall, about 1.2 million new homes have earned Energy Star designations since 1995. The total represents nearly $350 million in savings on utility bills and a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions equal to those from more than 450,000 vehicles.
Last year, the EPA said 16 states exceeded the 25-percent share in having new homes receive the Energy Star Label: Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah and Vermont.
Energy Star requirements for energy efficiency in homes include:
• Effective insulation systems
• High-performance windows
• Quality construction to reduce leaks and drafts
• Efficient heating and cooling equipment
• Energy Star-qualified lighting and appliances
• Energy Star was introduced in 1992 as a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency.
For more information on the share of homes in the marketplace qualifying for Energy Star is available at www.energystar.gov/homesmarketindex.