image: ENERGY STAR brand plate

Greetings from the ENERGY STAR for
New Homes program!

In this newsletter, you can learn about the new guidelines for ENERGY STAR certified homes currently under development, free training sessions, and new resources and materials available on energystar.gov.

In this issue:
 Weekly Webinar Series
 Upcoming Vetting Process for ENERGY STAR Version 3 Specification
 Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR
 ENERGY STAR for Affordable Housing
 New ENERGY STAR for Homes Web Pages
 Marketing Toolkit: The Checklist Flyer
 Technical Corner
 Questions? Contact Us


Weekly Webinars Now Available

ENERGY STAR is now offering live training sessions on the Internet to help prospective and veteran partners get the most out of their partnership. Currently available topics include:

Webinar:

Audience:

What ENERGY STAR Can Do for You: Benefits for Builders

Builders considering ENERGY STAR

Best Practices for Selling ENERGY STAR Certified Homes:
Part I & Part II

Sales staff

How to Market ENERGY STAR Certified Homes

Marketing staff

ENERGY STAR 101 for Real Estate Professionals

Home Appraisers, Realtors


Visit Trainings and Events to see the current webinar schedule and register for an upcoming session.

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Upcoming Vetting Process for ENERGY STAR Version 3 Specification

EPA is finalizing new guidelines for ENERGY STAR certified homes (referred to internally as ENERGY STAR Version 3). These new guidelines will ensure that ENERGY STAR continues to deliver above code performance and keeps pace with building practice improvements in many regional markets. More rigorous guidelines will strengthen the integrity and prestige of the ENERGY STAR label, thereby increasing the value of your partnership with ENERGY STAR.

A broad-based review process is scheduled to begin in January 2009 and will likely last six to eight months. EPA aims to release Version 3 by January 1, 2010. Partners will then have one year after the release to incorporate the new requirements into their building practices. In states currently implementing rigorous energy codes, Version 3 may be expedited to ensure the ENERGY STAR continues to represent above code performance.

Note that ENERGY STAR Version 3 should not be confused with EPA's new Climate Choice initiative (aka Advanced New Home Construction) that supports the development of the next generation of energy-efficient technologies. More information about Climate Choice can be found in the Technical Corner of this newsletter.

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Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR

With the new Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR program, architects, and designers can show consumers that their home plans meet the rigorous energy efficiency guidelines set by the ENERGY STAR program. Home plans that are certified as Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR include requirements for the energy-efficient features and construction details typically found in ENERGY STAR certified homes.

Architects and designers participating in the Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR program must work with a Home Energy Rater to review and evaluate their home plans. A specially-designed checklist must also be completed by the rater.

A home built according to a Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR home plan does not automatically earn the ENERGY STAR certified home label. Field verification, including onsite inspections and testing by a Home Energy Rater and completion of a Thermal Bypass Checklist, is required to ensure that energy-saving measures specified in the home plan are incorporated into the built house.

Learn more about the new Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR program.

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ENERGY STAR in Affordable Housing

Lower income families typically spend a greater percentage of their household income on utility bills than families in higher income brackets. EPA is working with affordable housing stakeholders, such as housing finance agencies, public housing authorities, developers, and building owners, to help them incorporate energy efficiency practices into new and existing housing policies and funding programs. Through this partnership, EPA provides lower income families with greater access to energy savings. Stakeholders can utilize ENERGY STAR practices in their housing to cost-effectively reduce the energy burden on lower income families. Visit our Affordable Housing Web page for tools, resources, and success stories.

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New ENERGY STAR for Homes Web Pages

EPA has recently redesigned several ENERGY STAR for New Homes web pages. Changes include updates to:

Take a minute to familiarize yourself with the new layout and make use of all of the resources available to you.

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Marketing Toolkit Spotlight: The Checklist Flyer

The ENERGY STAR Marketing Toolkit allows partners to create customized flyers, display cards, and web tools to educate consumers about the features and benefits of ENERGY STAR certified homes.

The Checklist Flyer is one of the templates that you can customize by adding your name, logo, and web site. On this flyer, you can develop a checklist of the specific features your ENERGY STAR certified homes include, such as tight construction; ENERGY STAR qualified windows; third-party verification; sized, sealed, and insulated ducts; and encourage homebuyers to see if any other builders are incorporating these important features into their homes. By choosing a background image and adding your own text, you can make a truly customized, four-color marketing piece for your sales office.

In addition to the Checklist flyer, be sure to check out what the rest of the Toolkit has to offer.

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Technical Corner:

New Requirements for Central Air Conditioners and Air-Source Heat Pumps
On January 1, 2009, new ENERGY STAR requirements for central air conditioners (CAC) and air-source heat pumps (ASHP) will go into effect. The new requirements for equipment to earn the ENERGY STAR label are as follows:

Product Table

Equipment manufactured before January 1 is still eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR based on the old performance level. Therefore, there will be a transition period when labeled equipment is commercially available at both the old and new performance levels.

Builders using a Building Option Package (BOP) that requires ENERGY STAR qualified CAC or ASHP must transition to equipment meeting the new ENERGY STAR requirements as stocks of equipment qualified at the old performance levels are exhausted. Builders using a HERS Rating to qualify their homes are only affected by the change if they are using ENERGY STAR qualified CAC or ASHP equipment to meet the Performance Path requirement for equipping the home with at least one ENERGY STAR qualified product category.

CLIMATE CHOICE HOMES (aka Advanced New Home Construction)
EPA will soon officially launch a new program, Climate Choice, to help accelerate market adoption of emerging technologies that have the potential to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move these technologies closer to ENERGY STAR readiness.

Climate Choice for new home construction will promote a comprehensive package of energy efficiency improvements, including promising commercially-available technologies that are not yet considered cost-effective, widely-available in the marketplace, or fully compatible with production builder construction practices. There is already significant interest in Climate Choice from a growing number of builders who recognize that many consumers are interested in elite high-performance homes and want to demonstrate leadership by bringing these homes to market. They will receive substantial recognition from EPA for their participation. To learn more about Climate Choice and to find out how you can participate, contact us at homes@energystar.gov.

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Questions? Contact Us

How to Get Answers to Your ENERGY STAR Questions
Whether you need a technical presentation, advice on designing an ENERGY STAR for New Homes program, help with seminars, or ideas for developing a sales presentation, we're here to help. Please contact us at homes@energystar.gov.

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