Unraveling the layers of energy conservation programs initiated by the Department of Energy and its Net Zero Energy Homes program can sometimes consume a good deal of energy. Among the major residential initiatives under way today:
FOCUS: 1993's code only looks at efficiency of heating, cooling, and water heating systems, which account for about half the total energy load of a home.
GOAL: At 30 percent increased efficiency of 50 percent of load, an Energy Star home actually reduces the whole house load by 15 percent.
BIG BUILDER PARTICIPANTS: Pardee Homes declares every home it builds will meet or exceed Energy Star standards.
HOMES IN DEVELOPMENT: 165,000 (estimated for 2004)
FOCUS: Whole house envelope as well as HVAC and appliances.
GOAL: Improving energy efficiency by 40 percent.
BIG BUILDER PARTICIPANTS: Pulte Homes in Nevada and Ryland Homes in Texas use a program initiative called “Guaranteed Bill Program” where participating builders pay homeowners the difference if average monthly utility costs exceed established maximums.
HOMES IN DEVELOPMENT: NA
FOCUS: Combines whole house energy efficiency with energy producing technology.
GOAL: Cut effective energy use by 60 percent to 70 percent.
BIG BUILDER PARTICIPANTS/TEAMS:
1. Davis Energy Group, of Davis, Calif.—works with partners Centex;
2. ConSol, of Stockton, Calif.—works with partners Pardee, Shea, Clarum, Morrison, and Premier;
3. NAHB Research Center, of Washington, D.C.—works with partner John Wesley Miller;
4. Steven Winters & Associates, of Norwalk, Conn.—works with partner Mercedes Homes; in talks with Beazer.
HOMES IN DEVELOPMENT: 500 (estimated)