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20 percent of new Utah homes earn Energy Star

(DESERET NEWS) The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that nearly 17 percent of all single-family homes built nationally in 2008 earned its Energy Star label — up from 12 percent in 2007.

Utah, specifically, was among 15 states whose market share of new homes exceeded the EPA's energy-efficiency standards — logging in at 20 percent last year.

Both home builders and home buyers are continuing to invest in high-performing homes that save steadfast penny pinchers money on their utility bills and help protect the environment, the EPA said.

"Every year, more Americans decide to cut their energy bills and help keep the air clean in their communities by buying a new home that has earned EPA's Energy Star," said EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Features like properly installed insulation, high-performance windows and high-efficiency heating and cooling can reduce home energy needs by 20 (percent) to 30 percent, saving American families thousands of dollars on their utility bills."

Nearly 940,000 Energy Star-qualified homes have been built to date, with more than 100,000 of these constructed in 2008.

In 2008 alone, American families living in Energy Star-qualified homes locked in annual utility-bill savings of more than $250 million — saving more than 1.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and 155 million therms of natural gas while reducing the greenhouse-gas emissions equivalent to those of nearly 350,000 cars annually, according to the EPA.

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