With homebuyers increasingly interested in green building, the Energy Star certified home is the place to start. That's because the energy used in homes often comes from the burning of fossil fuels at power plants, which contributes to smog, acid rain and harm to the environment. So, the less energy used, the less air pollution generated.

To earn the Energy Star, a home must meet guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC) and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20–30% more efficient than standard homes.

These homes save money on utility bills, provide a more comfortable living environment with better indoor air quality, and help protect the environment.
Typical features to look for in Energy Star qualified homes include:

• An Efficient Home Envelope, with effective levels of wall, floor, and attic insulation properly installed, comprehensive air barrier details and high-performance windows.
• Efficient Air Distribution, where ducts are installed with minimum air leakage and effectively insulated.
• Efficient Equipment for heating, cooling, and water heating.
• Efficient Lighting, including fixtures that earn the Energy Star.
• Efficient Appliances, including Energy Star qualified dishwashers, refrigerators, and clothes washers.
• Third-Party Verification, inspectors conduct onsite testing and inspections to verify the energy efficiency measures, as well as insulation, air tightness, and duct sealing details.

These energy efficiency improvements save our homeowners money on utility bills. More importantly, monthly energy savings can easily exceed any additional mortgage cost for the energy efficiency improvements, resulting in a positive cash-flow from the first day of home ownership.