Builders choose one of two paths when building an ENERGY STAR certified home.
The first path, called the Prescriptive Path, defines the individual energy efficiency measures that must be used. These include climate-appropriate ENERGY STAR certified heating equipment, cooling equipment, windows, and doors; ENERGY STAR certified roof products in hot climates; reduced air leakage; ceiling, wall, floor, and duct insulation; reduced duct leakage; efficient water heaters; programmable thermostats; and ENERGY STAR certified lighting in all climates. In addition, where refrigerators, dishwashers, ceiling fans, or exhaust fans are installed, they must be ENERGY STAR certified.
In contrast, the second path, called the Performance Path, defines an overall efficiency target for the home and allows the builder to mix and match upgrades until they hit this target. Builders often select many of the measures described above to meet this target.
Regardless of the path selected, the energy improvements, in total, result in a home that is at least 15% more efficient than a home built to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). In addition, regardless of the path selected, mandatory checklists help ensure that three interrelated systems are complete:
- Complete Thermal Enclosure System
- Complete Heating and Cooling System
- Complete Water Management System
These systems, combined with the energy efficiency measures, contribute to the efficiency, durability, comfort, and quality of the home.