The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning to make the requirements for earning an Energy Star designation for your home more rigorous. The standards are supposed to result in the creation of new homes that about 20 percent more energy-efficient than those conforming to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. This would translate into utility bills that are about 15 percent less than the bill for those homes, according to the EPA.
The new guidelines will go into effect in January 2011. Some of the changes include:
- Changes to the efficiency levels required for heating and cooling systems
- Updates to the water management requirements
- New standards in energy-efficient lighting and appliances
- A focus on the complete thermal system for the home, which covers air seals, insulation, windows and such
- And, verification by a home energy rating company that will run tests on systems' performance