(Hanley-Wood Service) - Edison, N.J.-based home builder Hovnanian Cos. said its future homes will meet voluntary Federal standards that cut natural gas and electricity use by at least one-third. Hovnanian reported it will work with Public Service Electric and Gas Co. to assure that construction techniques, building materials and appliances meet the criteria of New Jersey's Energy Star Homes program.

The program is a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and builders to encourage energy efficiency. The program promotes installation of high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, water heaters and appliances in conjunction with advanced building techniques and materials.

According to the EPA, consumers who purchase an Energy Star home should save at least 30 percent on their utility bills compared with the cost of heating and cooling a typical home in New Jersey.