Hitting the Energy Efficiency Accelerator State by State

Moving the needle on energy-efficient homes depends on numerous variables. Some states are farther along the road to electrification and high-performance homes than others.

Mandates, code changes, incentives and new building technologies are all part of the push to electrification and to make energy improvements in homes. But regional variations also occur because of policies, practices and climate differences. 

electric power

For example, there’s a wide range in the percentage of homes in each state that have achieved Energy Star 3.1 certification. Homes that meet this standard must be at least 20% more energy efficient than local building code requirements. Compliance is based on HERS (Home Energy Rating System) ratings, with Energy Star 3.1 homes needing a HERS rating of 55 to 65 or less.


In some states, Energy Star 3.1 certification is superseded by other programs. To qualify for the certification, each home must be inspected by a HERS rater. Source: Ekotrope, a company that provides HERS software


The states with the highest percentage of Energy Star 3.1 certified homes include New Jersey, Maryland, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Texas, Colorado, Florida and New Hampshire. Source: Ekotrope Data

Other programs go beyond the requirements of the Energy Star certification program. For example, to qualify for the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program, introduced in 2013, a home must first meet the standards of the EPA’s Energy Star and Indoor Air Plus programs, then increase the energy efficiency to be 40% to 50% higher than the average home. ZERH homes, which are designed for easy installation of renewable energy, have better indoor air quality and water efficiency than standard homes.


New Jersey tops the list again of states with the highest percentage of homes that meet Zero Energy Ready Home requirements, followed by Pennsylvania, New York, Colorado, Massachusetts, Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Illinois and New Mexico. Source: Ekotrope Data

While Berkeley, California became the first municipality to ban gas in most new construction beginning January 1, 2020, numerous local governments within California and other states have enacted gas bans or a requirement for all-electric systems in newly built homes. In New York City, for example, fossil fuel hook-ups are banned in all new construction, with a phased-in law that requires electric heating and cooking in all buildings in 2027. Eventually, the expectation is that homes throughout the country will be retrofitted or built to run solely on electricity. 


Currently, Florida has the highest percentage of all-electric homes, followed by Virginia, North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Texas and Oklahoma. Source: Ekotrope Data

Want to learn more? Download a free copy of the Energy Insights Report for a deeper understanding of energy efficiency and other topics from building industry pros and consumers. 


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