The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that nearly 17 percent of all single-family homes built nationally in 2008 earned the Energy Star label, up from 12 percent in 2007. This shows that both home builders and home buyers are continuing to invest in high-performing homes that save consumers money on their utility bills and help protect the environment, EPA says.

Market share for Energy Star-qualified homes was 20 percent or greater in 15 states in 2008, including Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Vermont. Nearly 940,000 Energy Star-qualified homes have been built to-date, including more than 100,000 constructed in 2008.

U.S. families living in Energy Star-qualified homes locked in annual utility bill savings of more than $250 million in 2008 alone, avoiding the use of more than 1.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and 155 million therms of natural gas.

The Energy Star program is a joint effort of DOE and the EPA. To earn the Energy Star label, homes must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by EPA. Typically these include energy-saving features such as effective insulation, high-performance windows, airtight living spaces and ducts, efficient heating and cooling equipment, and Energy Star-qualified lights and appliances.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy