Energy Efficiency



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Solar PowerEnergy-Efficient New Homes

Why Build an ENERGY STAR Home

More about Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes
Montana ENERGY STAR Verifiers and Home Energy Raters
Solar project photos
Tax Credit and Incentives

Are you an architect, builder, or Realtor looking for a way to make the houses you design, build, or sell more appealing to potential clients? Or perhaps a consumer planning to build a new home? One of the smartest decisions you can make is to incorporate both ENERGY STAR standards into the home's design. ENERGY STAR labeled homes are independently verified to be typically 20 to 30 percent more efficient than standard homes.  So before you begin your new construction project, check out the features and benefits of an ENERGY STAR qualifed home!

(source: Northwest ENERGY STAR Program) ENERGY STAR® homes are better built, more comfortable homes that save you money on your utility bills every month. Every Northwest ENERGY STAR certified home has been built to meet energy efficient guidelines set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. From energy-efficient windows to advanced heating and cooling systems, ENERGY STAR homes guarantee greater savings, comfort and peace-of-mind. Simply stated, ENERGY STAR homes are built better for you and the environment.

Better for your pocketbook
ENERGY STAR homes are at least 15% more efficient than code-built new homes, making them some of the most energy efficient homes on the market today. By using less energy, ENERGY STAR homes cost less to operate, which means more money in your wallet month after month. Combined with potential higher resale values, ENERGY STAR homes represent a smart investment.

Better heating and cooling
Enjoy a home with even temperatures throughout the year. Tightly-sealed ductwork, high-performance windows and properly installed insulation make your home more comfortable.

Better for the environment
The energy used by American homes accounts for 20% of total U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. ENERGY STAR certified homes perform better than standard code-built homes and require less energy for heating, cooling and hot water. This amounts to reduced air pollution and a healthier environment for everyone.

Better for you
ENERGY STAR Homes have Healthier indoor air, as performance-tested ductwork keeps the air inside your home clean by reducing the possibility of drawing unwanted air from your home's attic, basement, crawl spaces and garage.

To learn more about what makes a home an ENERGY STAR Home, visit our ENERGY STAR Home Features Overview section.

In order for a home to be certified as ENERGY STAR, it must be inspected by a trained Verifier. The Verifier will ensure that the home meets strict construction and performance requirements, providing peace of mind for homebuyers. Without the inspection, the home cannot be labeled ENERGY STAR. See the list of Montana ENERGY STAR Verifiers.

Add Solar To Your ENERGY STAR Home
You can save even more money, and further reduce your impact on the environment, if you incorporate solar energy into your new ENERGY STAR home.

For more information on solar design in new construction, see:

Montana Guide to Building ENERGY STAR Solar Homes
Developed by NCAT, this brochure helps builders and designers incorporate energy efficiency and solar energy features into new home construction. It discusses Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes, grid-connected photovoltaics, passive solar and solar tempering, solar water heating, and "solar ready" design features.

How to Build a Better Home in Montana With Solar Energy and Energy Efficiency
Learn more about incorporating solar and energy efficiency features into new home construction with this homeowner brochure developed by NCAT.

Montana Solar House--An Introduction to New Home Solar Design
This 44-page publication discusses ways to include solar features in new home design.

More About Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes

Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes promotes the construction of new homes built to an energy efficiency specification negotiated specifically for Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Natural gas-heated homes built to this voluntary construction standard reduce electricity use by about 20% and natural gas use by almost 40% compared to the state energy code. Homes with electric heat built to the ESHNW standard have saved 60% on their electric use.

And, homes achieving ENERGY STAR certification are independently verified, so your clients can rest assured, knowing their new home will perform efficiently far into the future!

The Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes program sponsors builder workshops on energy-efficient new home construction every Fall and Spring. These workshops offer the opportunity to learn from building science experts how to build an energy-efficient home. For more information, call (877) 298-2172.

Tax Credit and Incentives

Home builders are eligible for a $2,000 tax credit for a new, energy-efficient home that achieves 50% energy savings for heating and cooling over the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and supplements. At least 20% of the energy savings must come from building envelope improvements. This credit also applies to contractors of manufactured homes conforming to Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards.

There is also a $1,000 tax credit to the producer of a new manufactured home achieving 30% energy savings for heating and cooling over the 2004 IECC and supplements (at least 1/3 of the savings must come from building envelope improvements), or a manufactured home meeting the requirements established by EPA under the ENERGY STAR program.

Please note that, with the exception of the tax credit for an ENERGY STAR qualified manufactured home, these tax credits are not directly linked to ENERGY STAR. Therefore, a builder of an ENERGY STAR qualified home may be eligible for a tax credit but it is not guaranteed.

These tax credits apply to new homes located in the United States whose construction is substantially completed after August 8, 2005, and that are acquired from the eligible contractor for use as a residence from January 1, 2006, through December 31, 2009.

Montana homeowners can take advantage of the $500 energy conservation tax credit to lower your first costs when you build a home that is above the building code. Saving money on your taxes is nice, but most individuals feel the increased comfort alone is a good reason to build an energy-efficient house. Energy-efficient houses are draft-free, resulting in uniform temperatures throughout all rooms. Lower space-heating requirements over the life of the house saves you money each month and protects the homeowner against increases in the cost of energy supplies.


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