WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the Energy Star program has reached a milestone by surpassing 1 million Energy Star qualified homes built in the United States. Since the program began labeling new homes in 1995, EPA said Americans have saved $1.2 billion on their energy bills, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 22 billion pounds. This year alone, EPA noted, families living in Energy Star qualified homes will save more than $270 million on their utility bills, while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from about 370,000 vehicles.

To earn the Energy Star label, a home must meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA. These include effective insulation systems, high-performance windows, tight construction and ducts, efficient heating and cooling equipment, and high-efficiency lighting and appliances. In addition, an independent home energy rater conducts onsite testing and inspection to verify that the home’s performance meets Energy Star requirements.

EPA said there are more than 6,500 builders across the nation building homes that earn the Energy Star label and qualified new homes can be found in every state in the country. The top 20 markets for Energy Star qualified homes built to date include: Houston; Dallas; Las Vegas; Phoenix; Los Angeles; New York; Tucson, Ariz.; San Antonio; Sacramento, Calif.; San Diego; Columbus, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; Indianapolis; Austin, Texas; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Boston; Denver; Orlando, Fla.; and Oklahoma City.

For more information about the Energy Star qualified homes program and participating builders, visit www.energystar.gov/onemillionhomes.

Publication date:11/23/2009