A few weeks ago, I drove by Stockwell Manor, a new homes community in the border of McLean and Falls Church and saw the big sign that reads, "100% Energy-Star Certified Homes." The 100% Energy Star homes, peaked my interest to go back and revisit. Because sometime in 2006, I visited the community when they just opened up the office. Don't remember if at the time, they'd started marketing the Energy Star certified homes yet. Maybe they did, or didn't.
With no end sight on how high oil prices can climb, Camberley Homes, the developer really took the plunge and committed to build Energy Star certified homes. Even in today's standard, it's not 'main stream' yet. Wait a few years from now, this type of homes will be trendy by that time, especially as more and more home owners feeling the pinch.
This is probably the first Energy-Star certified community of new homes on the market in Northern Virginia that I know of. There is a few eco-friendly and LEED condos on the market. But, eco-friendly and energy efficient does not necessarily offers the same features. [We'll talk more about some other time about the differences between the two in another post]
What is an Energy-Star Certified New Homes?
According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency information, Energy-Star certified new homes must meet guidelines for energy efficiency set by the Agency. These homes must have 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code [IRC], and include energy-efficient features that typically make them 20-30% more efficient than standard homes. The energy-efficiency that separates them from the regular (standard) homes.
Energy-Star Certified homes uses energy-efficient features that contribute to improved home quality, comfort, lower energy demand and reduced air pollution.
image: front-loading washer & dryer
There are six 'Must-Have' components to qualify (or certified) for 'Energy-Star' homes:
- Effective insulation
- High-performance windows
- Tight construction and ducts
- Efficient heating and cooling
- Efficient products
- Third-party verification
Yes, they do have to be certified by an independent third-party rater.
The components are what separated a home from being energy-efficient versus today's not-so-energy efficient homes. Think about this, a well-sealed and properly insulated home is not only quiet, but it offers other features that aren't so much can be found in today's (or yesterday) standard homes. Things like better indoor air quality, lower utility bills and because it's designed to use less energy, it helps reduce the greenhouse gas emission. Less energy consumption equal to less strain on the grid.
From the outside, you probably can't see the differences between a standard homes versus energy-efficient homes. But, when you get to the inside, that's when you find most of the differences.
Here are some of the specs of Energy Efficiencies that you can find in their new homes:
- Third party energy inspections to meet ENERGY STAR certification
- Dual-zone gas heating and central AC
- Carrier Performance Series 93% high-efficiency gas furnaces
- 13 SEER Puron refrigerant AC
- Carrier 5 day programmable thermostat
- Carrier humidifier
- 75 gallon high-efficiency water heater
- Tankless hot water system
- Attic spaces insulated to R38
image: Camberley Homes
There are two types of homes available at Stockwell Manor: Townhouses and single family houses. Twenty-nine single homes are planned and seventy-one townhouses. A number of homes already been built and occupied. Single homes offered approximately 3600 s.f. to 4200 s.f. of finished square feet, comes with top-of-the-line kitchen appliances, i.e. Viking Professional and Designer series appliances. Homes are priced from low $1.5 million to high $1.7 million.
Townhouses have approximately 2600 s.f. to 3600 s.f. of living spaces comes with 10' ceilings on the main level with 9' ceilings on lower and third level. All homes come with 2-car garage. These townhouses are priced from the low $900's to high $1.1 million.