WASHINGTON - The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has earned its third Energy Star designation for the National Housing Center, the downtown Washington, D.C., office building that serves as the association's headquarters.

The designation recognizes buildings that conserve natural resources while providing a comfortable and healthy environment for employees and visitors.

Since the building was significantly expanded and renovated in 2001, the Housing Center's property manager, Transwestern, has continued to fine-tune the details of the original energy-efficient construction project. This year, the improvements included at least two measures that consumers can try at home, said NAHB Executive Vice President Jerry Howard.

"We replaced a number of traditional incandescent light bulbs with compact florescent light bulbs, which use two-thirds of the energy and last 10 times longer," Howard said. "We also installed motion detectors in the rest rooms rather than leave the lights on when they aren't in use."

The property managers also installed variable frequency drives on the building's cooling tower fans. The drives modulate the speed of the fans so they run in concert with air conditioning needs, rather than cycling on and off at 100 percent power. "Not only does that reduce energy consumption, but it's also better for the equipment," Howard noted.

The Housing Center's continued Energy Star designations save money and energy while they also send a strong signal regarding housing industry support for voluntary energy guidelines, he added.

"Many of our members build homes with appliances and heating and cooling systems that meet the Energy Star guidelines. These home builders' business practices show how NAHB members are leading green building practices into the mainstream - and they certainly have an effect on how we want to run our national office," Howard said.

A plaque recognizing the Energy Star achievement will be posted near the building's entrance.

Publication date:05/21/2007