December 21 2010

Could 2011 be the End of Energy Efficient Homes?

by racheal

Energy Star Homes Logo

The newly popular trend of building “Green” homes has become this year’s light of hope in home sales. As one of few things that went right for a number of production home builders in 2010 was their strategic embrace of energy efficient homes accompanied by an attractive price tag.

The strategic sale of energy efficient or “Green” homes makes sense for most home builders during these tough economic times. Think about it, you can build a home that materially differs from your competitors, plus you can offer your consumers ongoing savings on their utility bill. What better way to compete in these horrific economic times when your consumers are finding below market deals on the courthouse steps. 

Energy Star certification is one way home builders are gaining a competitive edge. However, Energy Star is raising the bar on compliances for 2011. As new home builders begin preparation for the new Energy Star’s Version 3.0 guidelines, that will become effective Jan. 1, 2012, many are having to rethink whether they will be able to afford building “Green” homes with the newly established restrictive guidelines.

Fortunately, the EPA, which oversees the Energy Star brand for materials, homes and products has been receiving input from subcontractors, and home builders for a fair amount of time on the Energy Star transition Version 2.5 that they have had available for months now in preparation for Version 3.0.

The sad fact is, now that home builders see improvement in sales with the development of energy efficient homes, they are once again faced with a new checklist of requirements and new standards in Version 2.5; which will greatly impact what home builders will be able to build starting in the New Year.

Jonathan Passe, Energy Star’s new homes program communications coordinator says,  “We are not unsympathetic to the companies’ concerns when it comes to the greater costs involved to meet these new standards, but that’s part of the brand’s promise to consumers, that Energy Star means significantly more energy efficient. We are by definition an above-code program” according to Housing

Since the Energy Star new home program has achieved 25% market share with new home construction, Passe comments that it’s time to make the hurdles higher.


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