This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 08, 2006

Federal Partnership Saves Energy for 337,000 U.S. Households

Photo of builder working in the stairwell of a partially built home.

Developers are now building Energy Star homes throughout the United States.
Credit: Warren Gretz

The combined efforts of DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have improved the energy efficiency of more than 337,000 homes and apartments across the United States over the past year, according to a new report. On November 1st, the EPA released its first annual review of the Partnerships for Home Energy Efficiency (PHEE), a joint effort of the three agencies that was started in 2005. The report also found that 163,000 Energy Star homes were built in 2005, 7,000 homes were upgraded to Energy Star standards, and 167,000 existing homes received energy efficiency upgrades under DOE's Weatherization Assistance Program. See the report (PDF 2.0 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

U.S. residents spend more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light, and live in their homes. Homes account for about 21 percent of U.S. energy use and consume a significant amount of electricity and natural gas, causing about 17 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The PHEE aims to reduce the energy consumption of the average U.S. home by 10 percent by 2015. Meeting this goal would save Americans $20 billion annually in utility costs, increase the affordability and comfort of homes, reduce demand for natural gas by more than 1 quadrillion Btus (about 1 percent of the total U.S. energy demand), and avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from more than 25 million vehicles. See the PHEE Web site.

DOE and the EPA also work together on the Energy Star program, which saved U.S. residents about $12 billion in 2005 by reducing their electricity use by 150 billion kilowatt-hours. The EPA tallied the savings in a recent annual report. The EPA also announced new standards for Energy Star computers in October, requiring high-efficiency power supplies that will deliver lower energy use in all modes of operation. The new Energy Star standards will take effect on July 20, 2007, and should save U.S. homes and businesses more than $1.8 billion in energy costs over the next five years. See the EPA press releases on the annual report and the new requirements; the Energy Star annual report (PDF 3.5 MB); and the new Energy Star computer specifications.