All consumers expect three things when selecting a new home:
1) superior quality;
2) greater comfort; and,
3) high energy efficiency.
This combination results in a more comfortable home with lower utility bills – customer satisfaction and more money in your pockets. But where do you find a house that meets all three expectations? It’s easy. When you choose a home with the Energy Star label, you can rest assured you’ve made the right purchase! Your new home, regardless of its size or type, has met Duke Energy’s Energy Star Home Program standards.
What is Energy Star®?
Energy Star is a government-backed symbol of quality that identifies a new home as being significantly more energy efficient than a standard home. Homes are certified when they meet the standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Star® program.
As stewards of our environment and our future, builders, homebuyers, organizations and the government partner together to achieve a common goal – protect the environment for future generations by changing to more energy-efficient practices today. Because of Energy Star, last year Americans saved enough energy to power 20 million homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 18 million cars, while saving $9 billion in energy costs.
How Do Homes Qualify as Energy Star?
Homes are tested by a third-party inspector to ensure they meet the DOE’s criteria and to receive the Energy Star symbol. To earn the symbol, a home must be at least 30 percent more efficient than the national Model Energy Code for homes or 15 percent more efficient than the state energy code, whichever is more rigorous. The home test is the responsibility of the customer and/or the builder, and costs range from $300 - $500. The size of the home and the inspector’s travel time may affect the cost.
Builders consider and select the following features to achieve the certification/label:
- Effective insulation results in reduced energy use, lower utility bills and less noise when it is properly installed in floors, walls and attics.
- High-performance windows ensure lower energy use and lower utility bills when they block damaging ultraviolet sunlight and keep the heat in during the winter and the heat out during the summer.
- Tight construction and tight ducts mean improved comfort and air quality and lower utility bills when holes and cracks are sealed to keep out drafts, moisture, dust, pollen, pests and noise.
- More efficient heating and cooling equipment provides greater durability and have longer warranties because systems run more economically and use less energy.
- Independent testing provided by third-party inspectors guarantees energy efficiency and verifies the energy performance of your new home.
What Are the Benefits for a Energy Star Home Program Homeowner?
- Peace of mind in knowing you’ve purchased an energy-efficient home of superior quality that is backed by the Energy Star label.
- Added comfort because your home is built to stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
- Lower ownership costs because Energy Star homes deliver $200 to $400 in annual savings. Less energy is used for heating, cooling and water heating. This doesn’t include additional savings realized from low equipment maintenance.
- Better performance against the cold, heat, drafts, moisture, pollution and noise.
- Smart investment with higher resale value.
- Environmental protection because the less energy we use in our homes, the less air pollution is generated.
In addition to the above benefits, an Energy Star home qualifies for a lower electric rate. This can mean thousands of dollar savings over the life of your home.
Where Do I Find Additional Information?
Additional information about the program is available at the ENERGY STAR® Web site at http://www.energystar.gov/ or call ENERGY STAR® at 1-888-782-7937. To find out more details about Duke Energy’s lower ENERGY STAR® electric rates, review our Schedule ES Electric Rate or call Duke Energy at 1-800-777-9898.