Architects, Developers, and Builders of all sizes, from all areas of the country, report growing consumer interest in green energy-efficient buildings. Yet they also find that many consumers want help in making informed decisions. How can consumers tell exceptional energy performers from average energy performers or code buildings? How do they figure out just what that difference will mean in their energy bills?
Through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other Nationally Recognized Building Performance Programs, builders are implementing a voluntary effort to provide compelling answers. Participating builders will have an easy way to differentiate their best green energy-efficient buildings from other products in the marketplace, and to make the benefits clear to consumers.
The DOE's ultimate vision is that, by 2030, a consumer will have the opportunity to buy cost-neutral, net-zero energy homes (NZEH) and buildings anywhere in the United States — a grid-connected building that, over the course of a year, produces as much energy as it uses. The DOE and other Nationally Recognized Building Performance Programs establish a framework for continuous improvement that will help propel the market toward zero-energy performance.
How will the DOE and other Nationally Recognized Building Performance Programs transform the building marketplace?
- By providing research results and marketing tools so builders can build and sell cost-neutral, high-performance buildings that are third-party verified by rating organizations to ensure the best energy efficiency, comfort, construction, and indoor environmental quality on the market.
- By driving consumer demand through a national outreach surrounding these programs, so all Americans can easily understand energy performance and costs when shopping for a new building.
- By partnering with programs, non-profit organizations, real estate organizations, lenders, utilities, and state and local governments to leverage and expand the existing green buildings infrastructure.
- By creating other mechanisms such as a design competition to increase the supply of high-performance building plans.
- By recognizing and rewarding participants who contribute to a critical mass of high-performance buildings, through awards.
These elements are being implemented through collaborative efforts by the DOE and other Nationally Recognized Building Performance Programs with states, building industry associations, building trades, colleges and universities, consumer organizations, rating organizations, realtors, utilities, lenders, and energy efficiency program sponsors. Most important of all is the voluntary participation of builders across the United States.