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More Planet-Saving Homes Available

Written by on Sunday, 05 August 2007 7:00 pm
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Along with energy efficient cars, appliances and other gadgets, it's getting easier to find an energy-efficient home and save a bundle on utility cots.

Last year, builders constructed 200,000 more newly-built, single-family homes earning the federal government's Energy Star rating for superior energy savings, bringing the total supply to 750,000.

These homes are least 15 percent more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code, and include energy-saving features that can make them up to 30 percent more efficient than standard homes.

Where can you get them?

You are more likely to find the most energy efficient homes in 15 states, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah and Vermont, the feds say.

"Consumers don't have to limit their smart energy choices to energy efficient cars and appliances," said Bob Meyers, an Environmental Protection Agency administrator for Air and Radiation.

"EPA is pleased to see builders in so many states leading the effort to offer their customers high-efficiency, low-emission choices in new homes," Meyer said.

Not only do home buyers purchasing Energy Star homes save money, they also help save the planet by using less fossil-fuel originating energy. Fossil fuels contribute heavily to greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.

Home energy use accounts for nearly 17 percent of the total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 21 percent of energy consumption nationwide, the feds say.

To earn the Energy Star ratings, homes must be verified as meeting EPA's strict guidelines for energy efficiency by consuming 15 percent less energy than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code, and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20 to 30 percent more efficient than standard homes.

Today, more than 3,500 builders erect Energy Star qualified homes with a concentration in states where the weather can be severe.

In Nevada, 71 percent of new homes are Energy Star rated; Alaska, 64 percent; Iowa, 57 percent; Hawaii and Texas, 37 percent and Arizona, 36 percent.

Energy savings can also result in a value boost for existing homes.

By some estimates for every $1 you save on your annual fuel bill your home value will jump $20 or more.

That doesn't mean you can simply set back the thermostat or stop heating your home to boost its value.

You must actually reduce your home's fuel requirements, say, by completing energy-efficient home improvements. Once you do, increased home value could be yours, according to two reports "Evidence of Rational Market Valuations for Home Energy Efficiency" and "More Evidence of Rational Market Values for Home Energy Efficiency" by ICF International, a consulting and technology solutions firm for energy, climate change and environmental issues.

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  About the author, Broderick Perkins

Individual news stories are based upon the opinions of the writer and does not reflect the opinion of Realty Times.
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