USGBC is leading a national consensus for producing a new generation of buildings that deliver high performance inside and out. Council members work together to develop Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) products and resources. This includes hosting the Greenbuild annual International Conference and Expo, providing policy guidance, and educational and marketing tools, that support the adoption of sustainable building.
To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20–30% more efficient than standard homes.
Heating, cooling, and hot water: Ground source heat pumps are electrically powered systems that tap the stored energy of the greatest solar collector in existence: the earth. These systems use the earth's relatively constant temperature to provide heating, cooling, and hot water for homes and commercial buildings.
Wind Turbines: The smaller turbines today are fairly efficient, producing electricity in winds as low as 7 to 10 mph. They are also fairly quiet. The wind system usually generates power at the same voltage that your home uses, so the turbine can be wired directly to the home or business' electrical system like an appliance.
Photovoltaic (PV) systems: use solar electric panels to directly convert the sun's energy into usable electricity for the home. Silent and pollution free, modern PV systems are capable of totally eliminating the need to buy your electricity from your local utility and can often produce excess electricity that can be sold back to your local utility through a process called net-metering.
Passive and Active: With solar, hot water can be produced in a number of different ways and systems are generally categorized as either passive or active, direct or indirect. Passive systems are those that rely on natural convection to circulate water through the system while active systems employ the use of pumps and valves to circulate their liquid.
Direct and Indirect: Direct systems commonly known as “open loop” systems are those Systems that heat potable water (fit for bathing and drinking) and deliver that water directly to the faucet or appliance. Indirect or “closed loop” systems use a non-freezing liquid instead of potable water which is circulated through a coil in a storage tank or heat exchanger to heat the potable water for use.
Passive Solar: use your homes building materials such as the windows, floors walls, tile and masonry to collect and store the suns energy to use as heat.
Active Solar Heating Systems: typically use rooftop solar collectors or tubes to capture the suns energy and heat liquids which can then be pumped into the homes heating system for immediate use or stored in tanks for later use.