Northwest ENERGY STAR
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 points earned through a variety of features and construction techniques. Builders or ENERGY STAR certified homes are eligible for financial incentives that typically pay for the cost of certification.
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 the organization’s builder outreach specialists during the planning stages or prior to breaking ground in order to enroll as an Earth Advantage builder and learn more about the best practices and equipment that can be used. During the initial meeting or phone call the outreach specialist will explain how the program works and the elements of the points sheet, which are part of a general information packet.
After construction begins, Earth Advantage Institute outreach specialists 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 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.