ALBANY, N.Y. - Carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, kills more than 200 people in the United States every year and poisons more than 10,000. In response to these incidents, some states are making residential CO detectors mandatory. New York law requires that CO detectors be installed in all one- and two-family houses, condominiums, and co-ops built on or after Dec. 1, 2002.

New York is taking CO safety even further with its Energy Star® programs and Energy Star-labeled homes. These residential energy efficiency programs have high ventilation standards for CO and use a whole-house approach to building and home improvement designed to add an extra level of safety and comfort.

"Home buyers can feel confident that every home that earns the New York Energy Star label is not only energy efficient but safe and comfortable as well," said Peter R. Smith, president of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). NYSERDA, in conjunction with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), administers the New York Energy Star-labeled homes program. "Rather than strictly focusing on energy efficiency, this aspect of the program is about proper whole-house operation, intended to keep homeowners and their families healthy and safe."

A home that has earned the Energy Star label means the furnace, boiler, water heater, appliances, and overall air quality in the house have been tested for proper ventilation of CO. For builders, this required testing offers valuable quality control on a critical safety issue.

Publication date: 02/21/2005