Energy star home building requirements are based on their superiority to previous construction. They must be 20 to 30 percent more efficient than average building standards. Energy efficiency is created largely by:
• Effective insulation and tight construction
• Triple glazed or other energy efficient windows and doors
• Energy efficient HVAC and superior insulated ductwork
• Energy Star appliances and lighting
The easiest way to get an Energy Star qualified home is to select a builder who is an Energy Star partner. Energy Star partners know how to build Energy Star homes, but some of them can be contracted to build homes that are not Energy Star rated as well. Other Energy Star partners have become completely dedicated to the Energy Star program, and only build Energy Star homes.
Energy Star offers a lot in terms of energy and tax savings. Coupled with solar panels you could completely eliminate your electric bill. In addition special tax incentives could substantially reduce your taxes. Coupled with other tax breaks you will receive for building a home and making house payments, you could nearly eliminate your income taxes as well.
It may be possible to meet the specifications of Energy Star homes without using an Energy Star builder, but it is considerably more complex, and you could come up short on one standard or another, and loose your rating. In addition, you would be going outside the established plan that has been set up. Overall it is just easier to contract an energy star partner.
If you wish to do some of the work yourself that might be possible, though very few Energy Star home builders, build shells. If you want to be certain your home qualifies, your Energy Star home builder will at the very least need to build the shell, install the windows, put in the insulation, do the duct work, and approve the light fixtures. You could still finish the interior, even hang the drywall, but the insulation, HVAC and ducts need to be installed by an Energy Star home builder.
Your Energy Star builder submits plans to a certified Home Energy Rater. Together they decide which features to include, so that the home will meet or exceed Energy Star standards. The builder then constructs the home, and the rater inspects it to insure that it qualifies for Energy Star certification. Individual inspection of each home may not always be necessary. Sometimes groups of similar homes can be certified together.
Building an Energy Star home is a very specific skill which some builders have learned by partnering with the National Energy Star program. While it may be possible to create a home that is just as efficient without them, to insure that your home passes the Energy Star rating system, you must employ an Energy Star builder. For more information on the Energy Star home building requirements, please see the other articles on this site, and download our free 98 page book.