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Energy Star and Fuel Choice

Impact of Energy Star Home Program on Fuel Choice and the Environment

The purpose of this project was to evaluate the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) procedures developed by the DOE and EPA to compare the site energy consumption and annual energy cost as well as source energy consumption and atmospheric emissions for Energy Star qualified homes heated with natural gas versus all-electric homes for various regions of the U.S.  Analyses were performed using the REM/Rate software, which is one of several programs that are certified by EPA for Energy Star certification.  Given a detailed description of a residential building in terms of construction characteristics, size, number of floors, location, equipment and appliance efficiencies, etc., REM/Rate computes annual energy consumption and costs and atmospheric emissions and compares the design house to an Energy Star compliant home.  Use was made of data available from the DOE/EIA publication A Look at Residential Energy Consumption in 1997 and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) publication 2001 Housing Facts, Figures and Trends to develop four unique home models that accurately reflect variations in nine census divisions.  One of the conclusions from the analysis was that natural gas homes have lower operating costs, source energy consumption and CO2 emissions than comparable all electric homes, regardless of climate.