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Northwest ENERGY STAR®

The Northwest ENERGY STAR® certification program for homes is a joint effort of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Designed for builders looking to make their new home projects energy efficient, the program consists of implementing energy efficient features and construction techniques.

Overview
Project Delivery

Learn about ENERGY STAR for Homes

The Northwest ENERGY STAR® certification program for homes is a joint effort of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Designed for builders looking to make their new home projects energy efficient, the program consists of implementing energy efficient features and construction techniques. 

ENERGY STAR certified homes can save homeowners about a third of their energy bills without sacrificing features, style, or comfort. Typical ENERGY STAR features include a combination of improvements that make them at least 15% more efficient than standard code homes, such as:

  • Effective Insulation Systems
  • High–Performance Windows
  • Tight Construction and Ducts
  • Efficient Heating and Cooling Equipment
  • ENERGY STAR Qualified Lighting and Appliances

How does the program work?

Builders who would like to have their next project certified under the Northwest ENERGY STAR standard should contact Earth Advantage during the planning stages or prior to breaking ground in order to enroll with Earth Advantage and submit plans for energy modeling. During the initial meeting or phone call, a green building consultant will explain how the program works and the elements of the ENERGY STAR check lists.

After construction begins, Earth Advantage green building consultants are available for technical questions from builders. The organization’s verifiers will visit the site at least two times, once at rough-in to verify insulation, mechanical equipment, window installation and building technique; and once upon completion to assess operation of heating and cooling systems and overall airtightness of the homes. At this time they are able to verify that the home has passed certification, and the team will also provide the home with an Energy Performance Score* that can be used by potential buyers to compare energy consumption and carbon emissions between homes.

Going Beyond Energy Efficiency

ENERGY STAR certification offers builders third-party verification of performance for projects that include best practices for energy efficient construction and achieve a minimum of 15% energy savings over the same home built merely to code. Builders seeking to go beyond solely energy efficiency certification and build healthier, more sustainable homes may wish to pursue Earth Advantage® New Homes certification, which uses Northwest ENERGY STAR as one option for meeting the Energy pillar requirements.

* Only homes in Energy Trust of Oregon territory can receive an Energy Performance Score. These include homes with gas ​or electric service provided by at least one of the following utilities: Northwest Natural, Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, or Cascade Natural Gas.

Going Beyond Energy Efficiency?

ENERGY STAR certification offers a convenient starting point for builders just learning about best practices for sustainability and the value offered by certification. Builders seeking to go beyond straight energy certification efficiency and build healthier, more sustainable homes may wish to pursue Earth Advantage® New Homes certification, which uses Northwest ENERGY STAR as the energy-efficiency component of the program.

Understanding the Program

Northwest ENERGY STAR New Homes are built to meet energy efficient guidelines set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. From energy efficient windows to advanced heating and cooling systems, these homes are guaranteed greater savings, comfort and peace-of-mind. ENERGY STAR homes are at least 15% more efficient than code-built new homes. By using less energy, they cost less to operate, which means saving money in heating and cooling costs. Tightly sealed ductwork, high-performance windows and properly installed insulation are a few features that make these homes standout. Earth Advantage Institute provides the ENERGY STAR program as a stand-alone program or you can pair it with either the Earth Advantage® or LEED® for Homes certification.

To ensure that a home meets ENERGY STAR guidelines, third–party verification by a certified Home Energy Rater (or equivalent) is required. As Home Energy Rater, Earth Advantage works closely with the builder throughout the construction process to help determine the needed energy–saving equipment and construction techniques and conduct required on–site diagnostic testing and inspections to document that the home is eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR label.

Step 1

Builder Enrolls as an ENERGY STAR builder and Selects Earth Advantage as their Verifier

Step 2

Builder Confirms that their HVAC Contractor has met Mandatory Requirements

Step 3

Builder Works with the Earth Advantage Institute to Select Appropriate Energy–Efficient Home Features

Step 4

Builder Constructs Home and Earth Advantage Verifies Features and Performance

Step 5

Earth Advantage Qualifies the Home as ENERGY STAR and Submits Documentation to ENERGY STAR

Step 6

ENERGY STAR approves the certification

Step 7

Earth Advantage Issues an ENERGY STAR Label and Certificat.

The energy used by American homes accounts for 20% of total U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. ENERGY STAR certified homes perform better than standard code-built homes and require less energy for heating, cooling and hot water. This amounts to reduced air pollution and a healthier environment for everyone. -Northwest ENERGY STAR New Homes

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