Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy designed to encourage energy efficient products and practices.
Energy Star Homes must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency, be at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to current building codes, and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20-30% more efficient than standard homes. Each Energy Star home’s plans and specifications are reviewed by certified raters, who inspect the home during construction and after completion and perform a blower door test to check infiltration. This data is used to generate a computer model of the home which rates the home’s energy use on the HERS index (see below). The completed home receives a report showing the HERS index, the infiltration rate and the overall Energy Star score shown in stars. Ratings range from one star to five plus stars.
Example: A HERS index of no higher than 80 is required for an Energy Star in US Climate Zone 6 which includes all of NH except the southern tier, which is located in Climate Zone 5 where the requirement decreases to 85.
The cost of the review and testing in New Hampshire is typically paid by electric utilities. Rebates have been issued for Energy Star ratings and Energy Star appliances, but there are limited rebate funds available.