Sec. Bodman Calls for More Energy-Efficient Homes
Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman arrived at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando on Feb. 14 to challenge the nation’s home builders to build 220,000 new high-performance homes by 2012.
“I am pleased that 38 home builders — including 22 who are represented here today — have accepted the challenge,” Bodman told show attendees. “They have volunteered to take the pledge to construct homes meeting this ambitious efficiency target.”
Under the Department of Energy's Builders’ Challenge, a high-performance home is one that uses at least 30% less energy than a typical new home meeting the criteria of the latest national model building code.
Bodman said that the builders who so far have signed up as partners in the energy drive are expected to build at least 6,000 homes across the country this year. As more home builders enlist, the department is hoping to spur the construction of 1.3 million high-energy performance homes by 2030.
“If we reach that level, we will have helped Americans achieve cumulate savings of $1.7 billion in energy costs and have taken the carbon equivalent of 606,000 cars off the road annually,” he said.
“Our builders have constructed more than 700,000 ENERGY STAR homes since that program started in 2000, so I think we’re all looking forward to seeing where this challenge will take us,” said Bob Jones, NAHB’s vice president and treasurer.
“Builders, if you don’t know it, are very competitive,” said Jones. “Our members love a challenge — and as an association, we believe that voluntary programs and incentives are the best way to encourage the growth of dynamic new business practices.”
The new energy-efficient homes that Bodman has asked the housing industry to deliver will have to meet the performance criteria for comfort, health and quality established in DOE’s Building America program.
The energy performance of the homes will be rated according to the department’s new Energy Smart Home Scale, which will enable consumers to make informed decisions about how their home uses energy
Homes currently being built typically average a rating of 100 on this scale, and Builders’ Challenge participants have agreed to construct homes that achieve a rating of 70 or lower, making them roughly 30% more energy-efficient than a typical new home. Right now, the 30% target would meet the "silver" level in the NAHB National Green Building Program if the energy efficiency were combined with similarly stringent green features in the water and resource efficiency, indoor environmental quality, global impact and home owner education categories.
Bodman said that the ultimate goal is to have all new homes achieve a zero rating, making them net-zero energy homes that produce at least as much energy as they consume.
Participating homes will receive an EnergySmart Home Scale or E-Scale label that is the home buyer’s equivalent of the fuel efficiency sticker that appears in the window of every new car. Affixed to the household electrical panel, the labels will provide the home’s EnergySmart score indicating how energy-efficient a particular home is expected to be.
For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.
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