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Environmental Protection

Making the Most of Your Energy-Efficient Home

Randy Noel

Chairman, National Association of Home Builders

One of the many benefits of buying a new home is its increased energy efficiency. Builders are using the latest technologies to reduce household energy consumption with tools like improved insulation and energy-efficient appliances.

Recent analysis by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shows that, on a per-square-foot basis, the newer a single-family home is, the less energy it uses. Even though newer homes are larger, their increased efficiency means that homes built since 1999 tend to use the same or slightly less energy than homes built before 1950.

Builders generally have a greater influence on the efficiency of a home’s HVAC system as a home is designed and built. In fact, more efficient HVAC equipment installed by builders, as well as better insulation and sealing, is a key reason for the greater efficiency of new homes.

Things like watching television, charging electronic devices and using a computer account for the majority of a home’s total energy use. That means that most of the energy that a home uses will be based upon the behavior of the household and not the design or construction of the home. The daily electricity usage has the most significant impact on your new home’s overall energy consumption. Whether you live in a new or previously-owned home, you can make it more energy efficient with a few simple steps.


One of the easiest ways to save electricity is to install compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs both inside and outside your house. This is especially important if you have an outdoor light that remains on overnight.

Electronic products

With homes using an increasing number of electronic products, it’s important to turn them off when not in use. To help save the standby power often wasted with some devices, use a power strip to turn off equipment not being used. Unused appliances and chargers that remain in standby mode still use electricity.


Use your dishwasher and washing machine only with full loads. Use large appliances in the early morning and late evening when demand for energy is not as high.

Programmable thermostat

Consider installing a programmable thermostat, which can automatically adjust the temperature of your home when you’re away. Even small temperature adjustments can add up to big energy savings. 

Randy Noel, Chairman, National Association of Home Builders, [email protected]

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