So What Exactly Does Energy Star Mean Anyway?

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You see this logo everywhere on buildings, on toasters, on windows– in fact its at the top of my laptop screen right now.  Though certainly ubiquitous, I thought I’d do a little investigation and provide some more information about what it means at our Yale Acres Project.

Energy Star, created in 1992, is an international standard for energy efficient consumer products originated in the United States. The Energy Star label is found on building materials, buildings, home appliances, heating and cooling systems, lighting fixtures and computer equipment. If you see the energy star logo on a consumer product or the outside of a building, it typically means that it uses 20%-30% less energy than is required by federal standards.

Standard Features of an Energy Star Home include:

Thermal Enclosure System: A complete thermal enclosure system that includes comprehensive air sealing, quality- installed insulation and high-performing windows to deliver improved comfort and lower utility bills.

Water Management System: A comprehensive water management system to protect roofs, walls, and foundations.  Flashing, a drainage plane, and site grading to move water from the roof to the ground and then away from the home.  Water resistant materials on below-grade walls and underneath slabs to reduce the potential for water entering the home. Management of moisture levels during construction.

Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation System: A high-efficiency heating, cooling system, and ventilation system that is designed and installed for optimal performance.

Energy Efficient Lighting and Appliances:  Energy Efficiency products to help reduce utility bills, while providing high-quality performance.

Building #3 is the Energy Star Model at Yale Acres.  Besides renewable energy technologies installed, and structural upgrades to the multi-family dwelling unit, Building #3 underwent the following efficiency upgrades.

  1. Adding new Energy Star appliances in the kitchens, including additional dishwashers and garbage disposals not found in the existing units.
  2. Changing air conditioning from tenant installed window units to being part of the overall HVAC system being developed.
  3. Removal and abatement of asbestos insulation wrap on all plumbing.
  4. Installation of low flow fixtures in kitchen and bathroom

The HERS scale is often used to measure the level of overall energy efficiency.

Energy Star’s Home Energy Yardstick can provide you with an assessment of  the Energy Efficiency in your home.

Click here to see a document about Energy Conservation Ideas for your home.

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