If you’re thinking of buying a new high performance home, an important first step is to work with a builder who is experienced with energy efficiency strategies and products. Builders who participate in the new home certification programs below, for instance, have experience coordinating the multitude of details necessary for achieving high-performance goals related to energy efficiency, indoor air quality, building durability, and occupant comfort. Each certification program is based on a rigorous standard of construction. Each new home certification program sets forth mandatory requirements, but includes enough flexibility to allow for a wide range of design and construction methods. Builders work with third-party verifying agents that certify each home, such as a Home Energy Rater or a Green Home Certifier. You will find lists of builders and certifying agents at the links provided for each program.
The U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR® for Homes standard includes minimum criteria for walls, windows, heating and cooling equipment, and other components. It also includes requirements for air sealing, moisture management and other details that improve the home’s comfort, durability and performance. A third-party professional, called a Home Energy Rater, evaluates ENERGY STAR homes during design and construction. To get started and see the Builders, Raters, and Incentives in your area, visit the ENERGY STAR® partner locator.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home represents a whole new level of green home performance. Its rigorous requirements ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health and durability. A Home Energy Rater can certify a home to the ENERGY STAR standard and the DOE Zero Energy Ready standard. To learn more and see a list of builders participating in the program, visit the Zero Energy Ready Home website. | VIDEO: Introduction to Zero Energy Ready Homes
The Florida Green Building Coalition’s Green Home Certification Standard includes mandatory and optional criteria in eight categories: energy, water, lot choice, site, health, materials, disaster mitigation, and general. Each certified home must meet an overall point total, but there is, however, great flexibility in the combination of measures selected. The certification requires efficiency measures, including a home energy rating, but it does not require ENERGY STAR certification. This program is designed specifically for Florida’s climate and challenges, such as hurricanes and termites. Certification is only available in Florida. FGBC-certified homes are evaluated in design and during construction. To learn more and see a list of builders and certifiers, visit the FGBC website.
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes Rating System is similar to the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) Green Home Standard. The LEED for Homes Rating System is available, however, anywhere in the U.S. Third party oversight is provided by a LEED Green Home Rater. For more information, visit USGBC LEED for Homes.