Newcomer Magazine


Posted August 22, 2007 9:12 p.m. EDT
Updated October 27, 2007 12:16 p.m. EDT

Americans save $12 billion in 2005 (October 2006) (10/25/06), EPA's 12 voluntary climate protection programs prevented 63 million metric tons of carbon equivalent emissionsup from 57 million in 2004, according to a new EPA report released today. Highlights of the report, "Energy Star and Other Climate Protection Partnerships 2005 Annual Report" include savings from the government's Energy Star program. Americans, with the help of Energy Star, avoided greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 23 million automobiles in 2005-up from 20 million in 2004-while saving about $12 billion on their energy bills. Americans also saved a significant amount of energy in 2005-150 billion on their energy bills. Americans also saved a significant amount of energy in 2005-150 billion kilowatt hours (kWh)-or about 4 percent of the total 2005 electricity demand. These energy savings represent an increase of about 20 percent over the prior year and more than a doubling since 2000.

More than 500,000 ENERGY STAR qualified new homes have been constructed by more than 2,500 builder partners to date, locking in annual savings of $120 million for homeowners. About one in ten new homes now qualify for the ENERGY STAR.

Low-E Windows
Compared to less efficient windows, ENERGY STAR/Green qualified windows can block 70% or more of the solar heat gain in the summer and reflect radiant heat during the winter. The Low-e coating on these windows also acts like a sunscreen for the house, blocking 90% or more of the damaging ultraviolet rays that can fade furniture and pictures.

Sealed Duct Work
Up to 50% of the energy used to heat and cool air can be forfeited in leaking ductwork. Proper sealing and/or insulation of ducts in and ENERGY STAR/Green Built home can save a homeowner $150 or more each year in utility bills.

HVAC Units
SEER and AFUE are industry jargon describing how efficiently heating/cooling equipment operates, like miles per gallon. The higher number, the lower your utility bills.

Sealed Crawl Space
Historically crawl spaces were believed to need vents to allow for air circulation, but this proved false. Vented crawl spaces are notorious for being damp encouraging growth of mold and even causing the buckling of hardwood flooring. Closed crawl spaces on the other hand are sealed and become a conditioned space. Moisture levels remain at a minimum.

Also, as a result hardwood floors will not be noticeably cold in the winter, and the house no longer has to compensate for the fluctuating temperatures coming from below the home reducing energy costs.

Programmable Thermostats
Enjoy 5%-12% lower utility bills when you set your thermostat to automatically update based on day of the week and time of day. ENERGY STAR qualified thermostats already have weekly presets predetermined for highest efficiency, but you can modify to meet your specific needs.

3rd Party Verifications
Every builder can claim they have quality energy efficient homes-But Can The PROVE It. With the HERS rating system, each home is compared to a computer simulated reference home meeting minimum requirements of the Model Energy Code. In order to receive the ENERGY STAR label, the new home goes through rigorous testing from evaluation of the plans, the home's orientation to the sun, and a blower door test that reveals any leaks. The newly constructed home must prove to be at least 30% more efficient than the average home.

Tight Construction
Hundreds of holes and cracks in a typical home can quickly add up to the equivalent of an open window in your house 365 days a year. By sealing typical small openings like that space around windows, light switches, etc., it ensures that all conditioned air within the home "envelope" stays inside and that outside air allergens do not make their way in.