At a minimum every new home should be designed to meet the federally funded Energy Star standards. Though entry-level certification is trivial, the advanced levels typically produce homes that are 15% more energy efficient than the IRC (International Residential Code) and up to 30% more efficient than non-rated homes. In addition to tax credits and rebates earned through this program, the resulting design will use less energy for the life of the building.
Watch this video of the “Net-Zero Home of the Future”:
Beyond just energy, the NAHB has published a painless set of Green Guidelines that will help the beginner get their bearings with regard to resource conservation, health and general sustainability. This is really not much more than a primer but it’s a very good introduction.
The following video shows a Home Energy Rating (HERS) test being performed on a home:
Far better and almost as accessible is the National Green Building Standard, also from the NAHB. Without getting too complicated or too expensive, you can design or purchase a home certified to be environmentally sound, healthy and even more energy efficient than some levels of Energy Star homes. Indeed, the rebates and tax credits from the Energy Star program can more than pay for the certification and testing fees associated with this program.
Watch the following videos to witness a “Deep Energy Retrofit”: