A JULY 12, 2007 PRESS RELEASE FROM THE EPA NEWSROOM READS:
In 2006, the percentage of newly constructed single family homes earning the government's Energy Star for superior energy efficiency exceeded 12 percent in 15 states. The 15 leading states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah and Vermont."
Consumers don't have to limit their smart energy choices to energy efficient cars and appliances," said Bob Meyers, EPA's principal deputy assistant administrator for Air & Radiation. "EPA is pleased to see builders in so many states leading the effort to offer their customers high-efficiency, low-emission choices in new homes."
Nearly 200,000 new homes nationwide earned the Energy Star in 2006, bringing the total number of Energy Star qualified homes across the nation to almost 750,000. To date, these homes have locked in annual savings of more than $180
million for homeowners by saving over 1 billion kWh of electricity and 100 million therms of natural gas.
Homes that earn the Energy Star offer homeowners all the features they want in a new home, plus energy-efficiency improvements that deliver better performance, greater comfort, and lower utility bills, all while helping to protect the environment.
To earn the Energy Star, homes must be independently verified as meeting EPA's strict guidelines for energy efficiency. These homes are [at] least 15 percent more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code, and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20 to 30 percent more efficient than standard homes.
Home energy use accounts for nearly 17 percent of the total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 21 percent of energy consumption nationwide. For more than a decade, EPA has been working with the housing industry, utilities, states, and independent energy efficiency home ratings professionals to bring increased energy efficiency to the homebuilding industry. Today, more than 3,500 builders are committed to building Energy Star qualified homes. And there are Energy Star qualified homes in every state across the country.
EPA started the Energy Star program in 1992 as a market based approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. In 2006, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $14 billion and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 25 million vehicles.
Two observations: (1) Of the 15 states mentioned in this press release, none of them are in the South. That is disappointing because the South leads all other regions in construction of new, single-family homes . (2) 12% is a very low number given the nominal increase in up front costs to build an Energy Star complaint home (not to mention savings on the back end for homeowners). That means 88% of new single family homes built in the U.S. are not Energy Star complaint.
Sources: EPA, U.S. Census Bureau