I want to take this occasion to wish a happy 20th anniversary to -- no, not my wife (because that anniversary would be closer to 40 years) but to Energy Star! Yes, the joint U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/U.S. Department of Energy program has been around for 20 years, although the new-home designation didn't start until 1995. What will two decades of designation bring forth? Well, a couple of things: a record number of new homes getting the prestigious Energy Star certification, and a host of more stringent code requirements being put into place. The ubiquitous and useful Energy Star program helps consumers save money and protect the environment by using less energy. In the residential real estate world, that means using more energy-efficient products like refrigerators and dishwashers. Plus, for the past 17 years, homes built to energy-efficient standards guarantee fewer kilowatt-hours of electricity used to heat and cool. For the consumer, lower utility bills; for ...
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