WASHINGTON - The energy efficiency of more than 325,000 homes and apartment units across the country was improved through better building techniques and energy efficiency improvements, saving consumers close to $150 million in 2005, according to the first annual Partnerships for Home Energy Efficiency (PHEE) report. The report documents the progress of efforts by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve energy efficiency.

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Record-breaking numbers (167,000 - up from 132,000 in 2004) of Energy Star qualified homes built in 2005;

  • Increased certification opportunities for energy efficiency contractors through the Building Performance Institute, funded jointly by the three agencies; and

  • Additional $1 billion in utility bill savings for homeowners through the purchase of more energy-efficient products and appliances promoted by DOE, EPA, and HUD during 2005, compared to 2004.

    According to the agencies, Americans spend more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light, and live in their homes. Homes account for approximately 21 percent of U.S. energy and consume a significant amount of electricity and natural gas - contributing about 17 percent of national emissions of greenhouse gases.

    While American homes are getting more efficient, more can be done, the report notes. Many households could save 20-30 percent on their energy bills through cost-effective home improvements, such as buying more energy-efficient products and appliances, stopping air from flowing in and out of the home, and adding insulation.

    PHEE was created in 2005 to help American homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their homes, save money and help address the rising costs of energy. PHEE set an aggressive goal of reducing the energy consumption of the average American 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 quad (a quadrillion Btu), and avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from more than 25 million vehicles.

    For a copy of the Partnerships for Home Energy Efficiency report, go to http://energystar.gov/ia/news/downloads/PHEE2006AnnualReport.pdf.

    Publication date: 11/13/2006