With climate change and rising energy costs across the country, Energy Star has begun a program of certifying homes that meet a strict standard of energy efficiency. These Energy Star rated homes use 20% to 30% less energy than standard homes. This not only helps reduce greenhouse gasses but also leads to energy savings for the homeowner.
However, despite their positive attributes, Energy Star rated homes still do not make up the largest share of the market. Therefore, it’s important to take a look at the trends to see which states have the largest market share and other possible incentives for homeowners who may be poised to join this growing trend.
If we look at the states that have the most Energy Star rated home builds in the U.S., the trend to build these homes varies tremendously over the regions. It’s most helpful to look at the top 10 homes with the newest Energy Star Rated builds, as well as the 10 states with the fewest.
Because the number of new builds changes from state to state, it’s important to look at not only the total number of new builds for each state but also the state’s market share. This means looking at the percentage of Energy Star homes in relation to the total number of new builds in that state.
In the top 10, only 10 states have more than 10% of their total builds as Energy Star rated – Arizona (57.7%), District of Columbia (43.3%), Maryland (39.2%), Nevada (18.4%), Texas (16.1%), New Jersey (16%), Colorado (12.8%), New Hampshire (11%), North Carolina (10.5%), and Delaware (10.4%).
Keep in mind that the total builds in each state varies. Texas, which has 16.1% of the market share, had the most Energy Star rated builds of any state at 19,634.
On the other end of the spectrum, Wisconsin comes in at the 10th place of the bottom 10 at 0.3% of builds. Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, and West Virginia follow, each with 0.1% of the market share. Alaska, Montana, and North Dakota had no Energy Star rated builds last year.
Some differences can be explained by the number of available builders who are committed to building Energy Star rated homes in an area. Texas not only had the highest number of Energy Star Rated builds, but also came in the top 10 of the market shares. The Lone Star State has more than 30 builders who are dedicated to building only Energy Star rated homes. This is a significant number when compared with states like Montana, which has no dedicated builders. Without available builders, even homeowners interested in having a more efficient home may be excluded from the project.
With the high heat index in Texas, it also makes sense that homeowners may want to invest in more energy-efficient homes to help keep them cooler and more comfortable while lowering their energy costs going forward.
Having an energy-efficient home offers many benefits. Energy-efficient homes have a more consistent internal temperature year-round, regardless of the climate. This makes the home more comfortable to live in with fewer cold spots, drafts, and hot areas. According to Energy Star, these homes also use roughly 20 to 30 percent less energy than the average home, which can save homeowners between $200 and $400 a year in energy costs.
This means that features such as solar water heaters or double-glazed windows can pay for themselves over their lifetime. These homes also emit 35 percent less greenhouse gas than a typical home. This improves the overall impact of these homes on the environment, making it a greener building.
Finally, houses that are Energy Star rated have very high rates of return at resale. Prospective home buyers can have peace of mind that the certification of the home will mean continued comfort and lower energy costs over the lifetime of the house.
As seen in the difference between Texas and Montana, one of the biggest challenges with Energy Star rated homes may be simply having the resources available to build them. In areas without dedicated builders, it can be difficult to find someone with the knowledge to take on the project. This can mean a slower build along with higher costs, which can deter some homeowners.
While these homes save on energy costs, they often cost more to build and have a higher initial investment. Some homeowners may not be able to make the higher upfront payment, even though they will recoup those costs over time.
The build itself may also present some challenges, including the structure, elevation, materials, and climate. Because of these circumstances, there is a log of variability in Energy Star rated homes. A house in a sunny climate may be able to make great use of solar panels, while a home in a shaded area may not. It takes specialized knowledge to understand these issues and work around them, which is why a dedicated builder is so important to the job.
With an increased demand for Energy Star rated homes, more builders may step up to meet the challenge. If more homes are constructed in this manner, it can reduce overall energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions for the country. It can also lead to more comfortable and longer-lasting homes. If you’re considering a new build, choose to make your new home an Energy Star rated build to capture these benefits for yourself.