You’re probably familiar with the term “ENERGY STAR”, and are familiar with the Energy Star logo when shopping for new home appliances, but you may not understand what Energy Star really means and how the logo is applied. What it means to you is two things: 1) you will save money because of energy efficiency enhancements, and 2) Energy Star is better for the environment. The green building movement is all about living more sustainably and having less of a negative impact on the environment. Many people are buying green homes, but you can also start with your existing home and take steps to make it more energy efficient, as well.
In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency encourages homeowners to make their homes more energy-efficient. Here’s the definition of Energy Star (source: United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2005): The government awards the ENERGY STAR to those products, companies and organizations, homes, and services that meet specifications established by EPA and DOE. Energy Star qualified products prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
If you are interested in having a green home, one of the things you can do is upgrade your major appliances to those with an Energy Star rating. And, if you’re planning on selling your home, this is also a smart upgrade because this alone will make the property more appealing and easier to market to prospective buyers. Did you know you can actually evaluate your home’s current energy usage and determine how energy efficient it is? The Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick is a program that evaluates your home energy costs compared to similar homes in the country, and makes recommendations for energy-saving home improvements. Just visit the ENERGYSTAR[dot]GOV website to run the calculator on your own home.
Beyond the individual Energy Star rating for components such as appliances, there is also an Energy Star designation for new homes, the Energy Star Qualified Home. New homes may be Energy Star certified, which means they have met a certain level of efficiency:
To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20-30% more efficient than standard homes.
You can actually take advantage of federal tax credits through purchasing specific Energy Star appliances. This means that not only will you save on long-term operating costs of your appliances, but Uncle Sam will actually put more cash in your wallet as well! Visit the energystar[dot]gov website to learn more about how to qualify.
Of course saving money on your home energy costs is important. It’s also said that an Energy Star Qualified home can reduce the environmental impact of greenhouse gases by about 4,500 pounds per home each year! So, not only can you make a difference in savings for yourself, but you can feel better about doing the right thing for the planet as well.
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