Energy Star Labeled home and what it means for an owner.
By Glenn Hooper February 9, 2015
An Energy Star labeled home is significantly different then a standard code built house. The most prevalent changes are increased safety, decreased energy consumption, and increased comfort. The home is not designed in separate steps as typical, but in a more holistic, house as a system approach. Every aspect of the homes performance has been tweaked and adjusted. Safety issues such as inadequate draft on heating flues, excessive buildup of indoor air contaminants and many others have been addressed. Energy consumption will be considerably less in an energy star home, with little or no change to a typical home owners lifestyle. Comfort issues addressed are far ranging and varied. From less indoor pollution to more stable indoor humidity levels.
An Energy Star labeled home has a few other changes that an owner should understand. As the home was built as a system, changes to one part of the home can affect the balance of the system. If you decide to add a room, or purchase a commercial grade hood vent, Cook top vent combo there may be side affects. Other alterations could be as simple as disabling the ventilation strategy in your home or overloading the capacity of your home with too many inhabitants. Possible side affects can include but are not limited to issues such as condensation, moisture, mold, inadequate heating or cooling, poor indoor air quality etc.
While this is certainly not a complete list and is not intended to cover all the possible scenarios, most if not all problems associated with alterations can be negated during future changes by simply contacting a Building Performance Institute certified professional.
Ultimately the benefits far out way all (if any) disadvantages with owning an Energy Star labeled home, so much so that many towns have instituted a policy of requiring new homes to be ENERGY STAR compliant. If you are building a home in an area where Energy Star labeled homes are not mandated, you should ask the builder if you can have the home labeled. Remember a home built to “code” is just that, a home build to the very minimum standards set by your local government.
An Energy star labeled home sets it self apart by,
- Typically having more insulation then a standard code built home.
- The installation of insulation is inspected and now graded !
- The additional step called “Air sealing” preventing costly thermal leaks.
- Having much more efficient Heating and Cooling systems.
- Having the HVAC systems sized correctly
- Having Duct work sealed and tested to meet tough requirements.
- Uses less electric because of more efficient appliances / lighting
- Typically has better windows and doors
- Less drafty because of air sealing / door and window upgrades.
- Always safer with better indoor air quality
- Always healthier because of actual testing the house must go through.
- Having 3rd party independent verification of the homes construction.
The Energy Star labeled home program is new to many people in this area, but has been a long time tested method of construction in many areas of this country. If your looking to purchase a new home, and still don’t quite know whether the additional cost is worth is, always remember that this upgrade pays for itself. Unlike the high quality flat panel TV, this upgrade might actually start paying you hundreds or thousands every year!