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Energy Star Built Homes

Why should I care if my home is energy-efficient?
Not only will an energy-efficient home save you money, but it will also reduce air pollution. Home energy consumption accounts for nearly 17% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 15% of energy consumption nationwide. This stems from the fact that energy is produced by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. So by purchasing an energy-efficient home you are reducing fossil fuel energy production that has been linked to global warming.
What is an ENERGY STAR certified new home?
To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home must meet 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 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20-30% more efficient than standard homes. ENERGY STAR certified homes save you money, improve the quality and comfort of your home, and protect the environment.
What energy-efficiency features are included in an ENERGY STAR certified new home?
Builders choose one of two paths when building an ENERGY STAR certified home. The first path, called the Prescriptive Path, defines the individual energy efficiency measures that must be used. These include climate-appropriate ENERGY STAR certified heating equipment, cooling equipment, windows, and doors; ENERGY STAR certified roof products in hot climates; reduced air leakage; ceiling, wall, floor, and duct insulation; reduced duct leakage; efficient water heaters; programmable thermostats; and ENERGY STAR certified lighting in all climates. In addition, where refrigerators, dishwashers, ceiling fans, or exhaust fans are installed, they must be ENERGY STAR certified. In contrast, the second path, called the Performance Path, defines an overall efficiency target for the home and allows the builder to mix and match upgrades until they hit this target. Builders often select many of the measures described above to meet this target. Regardless of the path selected, A Senergy Built Home energy improvements, in total, result in a home that is at least 30% more efficient than a home built to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). In addition, regardless of the path selected, mandatory checklists help ensure that three interrelated systems are complete:
We bought a new home that our builder said was ENERGY STAR. How can we know for sure?
Look for a blue ENERGY STAR label on your circuit breaker box or elsewhere in your utility room. If you don’t see one, contact your builder and ask them for documentation that your home has earned the ENERGY STAR – either an ENERGY STAR certificate or a Home Energy Rating (HERS) report.
Does an energy-efficient ENERGY STAR home cost more?
An ENERGY STAR qualified new home may have a higher initial cost compared to a comparable home without the energy-efficient features. However, you’ll pay less in utility bills each month, usually more than enough to offset any increase in your mortgage payment. Further, ENERGY STAR financing partners offer special mortgages called energy efficient mortgages or EEMs for buyers of ENERGY STAR qualified new homes. Use the New Homes Partner Locator to compile a list of participating lenders in your area.
I may be using less energy to heat and cool my ENERGY STAR home, but will I be comfortable?
Comfort should be improved with an ENERGY STAR qualified new home. Because your home will have higher insulation levels in the walls and attic, and improved window technology, you will feel warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Improved duct systems also contribute to increased comfort as they provide balanced airflow to all rooms of the home.
Do energy-efficient homes look different?
No, most of the features that make a home energy efficient are ‘behind the walls’ – things like tight ducts, improved insulation, and high-performance windows. But while you may not be able to see the differences with your eyes, you’ll certainly feel it with greater comfort and lower utility bills.

Senergy’s Building Practices

What is a tankless water heater?
The idea behind a tankless system is that it heats the water as you need it instead of continually heating water stored in a tank. Tankless heaters have been the norm in much of Europe and Japan for quite some time, but they haven’t gained popularity until recently in the United States — largely due to the green movement. A tankless system, you can save a substantial amount of money every year on your monthly bills while at the ­same time conserving natural gas. Tankless heaters also last about five to 10 years longer than a tank heater, take up much less space and provide you with an unlimited amount of hot water. In order to understand how a tankless water heater works, it’s important to know how a standard tank heater operates. In a traditional heater system, there’s a large tank that holds and heats water. In order to give you hot water when you need it, the tank continually heats the water to maintain a constant temperature. The energy used to keep the water hot even when it’s not being used is called standby heat loss. Tankless systems avoid standby loss by heating incoming water only as you need it — they’re also referred to as “on demand” water heaters for this reason. The elimination of the standby heat loss is what makes a tankless system more efficient. (It should be noted that “on demand” refurers to the prosses of the water being heated for the only when needed “on demand”) By heating water only when it’s needed, ENERGY STAR certified gas tankless water heaters cut water heating expenses, while lso providing continuous hot water delivery. Gas tankless models are a great choice for new construction and major remodeling, but are also becoming popular as a replacement for gas storage water heaters.
What is a 98% furnace?
Simply put, an 80% AFUE furnace allows 20% of the heat generated to leave your house up the chimney. That is lost money and lost energy. A 98% AFUE furnace only allows 2% of the heat generated by the furnace to be lost. I did the math. 20% minus 2% means you are saving 18% of lost heat through furnace exhaust. Add in other special features that allow the 98% unit to warm the home more quickly, therefore allowing the furnace to run less often, and the percentage saved could be even greater! That can add up to big savings even during the mildest of winters.
How to prevent heat loss throught wall penetrations?
To meet Energy Star Building requirements, we use an expandable spray foam on all penetrations.
Why do yo insulate your foundations?
• Walls are not subjected to large temperature differences and will not act as a thermal bridge • Less air convection in block cavities • At nearly room temperature, the foundation acts as a heat reservoir, buffering interior temperature fluctuations • In some instances, ad freezing forces are prevented from acting directly on the foundation • Interior usable space can be maximized • Protects waterproofing membranes while insulating