WASHINGTON - According to the first annual Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency (PHEE) report, 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. These techniques and improvements saved consumers close to $150 million in 2005.

The report documents the progress of efforts by the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve energy efficiency. It 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.The report showed that Americans spend more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light, and live in their homes.

These activities account for approximately 21 percent of U.S. energy consumption, contributing about 17 percent of national emissions of greenhouse gases. Combating this figure, however, record-breaking numbers of Energy Star® qualified homes were built in 2005, totaling 167,000. This number is up from the 132,000 constructed in 2004. An 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 were also reported.

The report showed an increase in certification opportunities for energy-efficiency contractors through the Building Performance Institute, funded jointly by the three agencies.

According to the agency, 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. The PHEE set an aggressive goal of reducing the energy consumption of the average American home 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 more information, visit www.epa.gov.

Publication date: 11/20/2006