image: ENERGY STAR brand plate

Greetings from the ENERGY STAR for
New Homes program!

In this newsletter, you can learn about the timeline for commenting on the new guidelines for ENERGY STAR certified homes, free training sessions, and new resources and materials available on

In this issue:
 Timeline for ENERGY STAR 2011 Comment Period
 Launch of the Indoor airPLUS Program
 Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR
 Marketing Toolkit Spotlight: Fact Sheets
 Web Page Updates, including FREE Webinars Calendar
 Technical Corner
 Future Training
 Questions? Contact Us


Timeline for ENERGY STAR 2011 Comment Period

EPA is finalizing the proposed new guidelines for ENERGY STAR certified homes, called "ENERGY STAR 2011." These new specifications will ensure that ENERGY STAR continues to deliver above code performance while keeping pace with building practice improvements. 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 and comment period are scheduled to begin in early May 2009. EPA will review all comments received with a goal of finalizing the new guidelines by Winter 2009. Partners will then have approximately one year to incorporate the new requirements into their building practices. Note that in states currently implementing rigorous energy codes, EPA will pursue an expedited implementation schedule to ensure that ENERGY STAR continues to represent above code performance.

EPA will schedule several question and answer teleconferences and will post guided PowerPoint presentations about the proposed new guidelines to help parties fully understand the rationale and planned implementation process for ENERGY STAR 2011.

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Take the Next Step with Indoor airPLUS

EPA is proud to officially offer a label to recognize new homes designed for improved indoor air quality. Developed under the ENERGY STAR Indoor Air Package pilot, Indoor airPLUS is a complementary label that recognizes ENERGY STAR certified homes with additional features designed to help protect against moisture and mold, pests, combustion gases, and other airborne pollutants. A home must meet both ENERGY STAR guidelines and Indoor airPLUS guidelines to qualify for this label.

Indoor airPLUS certified homes require third-party verification, which can be conducted concurrently with ENERGY STAR verification. That's ENERGY STAR plus improved indoor air quality!

Indoor airPLUS builder partners receive guidance on a variety of construction practices and technologies to help decrease the risk of poor indoor air quality and resulting health concerns. This can help reduce warranty and callback costs, reduce the likelihood of litigation, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, and create market differentiation. To learn more or become an Indoor airPLUS partner today, visit

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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 EPA. Home plans that are certified as Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR include requirements for 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 Home Energy Raters to review and evaluate their home plans. The Home Energy Raters will complete the Plan Review Checklist and the Thermal Bypass Checklist as part of their evaluation of each home plan.

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

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

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Marketing Toolkit Spotlight: New Fact Sheets

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.

ENERGY STAR Fact Sheets are now part of the online Marketing Toolkit. These Fact Sheets, which focus on the features of ENERGY STAR certified homes, are fully customizable, enabling you to speak to prospective buyers about the specific benefits of the particular ENERGY STAR features you offer. Choose from seven customizable Fact Sheets on the various benefits of ENERGY STAR certified homes, which include:

  • Air Sealing and Insulation;
  • Duct Systems;
  • ENERGY STAR Qualified Cooling Equipment;
  • ENERGY STAR Qualified Heating Equipment;
  • ENERGY STAR Qualified Products;
  • ENERGY STAR Qualified Windows; and
  • Going Green.

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Updated ENERGY STAR for New Homes Web Pages

EPA has recently added several new resources to the ENERGY STAR for New Homes web pages. Additions include:

Presentations Available for Download. In an effort to provide up-to-date resources for partners, EPA has recently updated the ENERGY STAR PowerPoint presentations available for download, including:

  • Building Science 101;
  • Builder Recruitment;
  • How to Effectively Sell and Market ENERGY STAR Certified Homes; and
  • ENERGY STAR 101 for Real Estate Professionals and Appraisers.

An Editable Version of the TBC. The Thermal Bypass Checklist (TBC) is now available as an electronic, editable PDF.  This document allows Home Energy Raters to verify the TBC on their laptop or hand-held device and electronically track the verification. To obtain a copy of this version, click here.

Weekly Wednesday Webinars. Since August of 2008, EPA has been offering FREE webinars for partners and other stakeholders interested in learning how to effectively integrate the ENERGY STAR program into their business practices. See below for the current schedule and to register.

Best Practices for Selling ENERGY STAR Certified Homes

Wed. May 20; 2-3 pm EDT

ENERGY STAR 101 for Residential Professionals

Wed. May 27; 2-3 pm EDT

What ENERGY STAR Can Do for You: Benefits for Builders

Wed. May 6; 2-3 pm EDT;
Wed. June 3; 2-3 pm EDT

How to Market ENERGY STAR Certified Homes

Wed. May 13; 2-3 pm EDT;
Wed. June 10; 2-3 pm EDT

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Technical Corner

ENERGY STAR Qualified Water Heaters Count Toward Mandatory Qualified Products
The average household spends $400–$600 per year on water heating, making it the second largest energy expenditure behind heating and cooling. Beginning January 1, 2009, residential water heaters became eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR, offering households an opportunity to significantly reduce energy usage and utility bills. Residential water heaters can now be used to fulfill the mandatory requirement for at least one ENERGY STAR certified product category, as specified in the ENERGY STAR for New Homes Guidelines.

Water Heater Technology

Average Annual Savings*

High-Efficiency Gas Storage


Gas Condensing


Whole-Home Gas Tankless




Heat Pump


*Savings for average household of 2.6 people

ENERGY STAR Certified Furnace Requirement to Remain 90 AFUE
EPA has decided not to increase the efficiency requirement for residential furnaces from 90% to
92% AFUE as proposed in June 2007. EPA concluded that the simple payback associated with a 92% AFUE unit compared to a 90% AFUE unit is generally more than five years (due in large part to the costs associated with condensing versus non-condensing technologies).

New ENERGY STAR Program Requirements for Residential Windows, Doors, and Skylights Finalized
After 18 months of revisions, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has posted the new ENERGY STAR Program Requirements for Residential Windows, Doors, and Skylights. The new specifications will go into effect on January 4, 2010.  DOE will provide details on the transition in the next few months.

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Future ENERGY STAR Training / Presentations

  • ACI Annual Conference (Kansas City, MO) – April 27-May 1
  • Neighborworks America Symposium (Phoenix, AZ) – May 4-6
  • Building Energy Consumption Seminary (Charleston, SC)  – May 22

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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

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