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Stylized Text: New Home Programs.

If you’re thinking of buying a new home, an important first step is to work with a builder who is experienced with energy efficiency strategies and products. In their efforts to keep their house prices as low as possible, many builders set their energy goal as meeting the Florida Building Code. Unfortunately, this code establishes the minimum levels of efficiency for homes in the state, so in reality a home that meets the code is actually the least efficient home you can buy. There are many things beyond this minimum level that can save you significant money on your utility bills and give you a home that is more comfortable as well.

The list below gives information on the major builder programs that differentiate homes that are built to higher standards. To be assured your builder is energy-conscious, you should learn more about these programs and discuss energy efficiency with the builder you select. Note that the list of programs is organized from least to most efficient.

Picture of Sarasota Home.
This Sarasota home by Pruett Builders participated in FPL's BuildSmart Program, EPA's EnergyStar and DOE's Building America Programs. It had a HERS rating and was a designated Green Home by the Florida Green Building Coalition.

You should also visit the ENERGY STAR Web site for builders participating in their program and also the EnergyGauge site where you'll find information on home energy ratings that let you know how efficient your home will be and where improvements can be made.

Program Name
Local assistance
Energy Efficiency Level

Logo of Florida Department of Community Affairs.

Florida Department of Community

Usually code calc, insulating or HVAC contractor

Least efficient allowed by law. Evaluates heating, cooling and hot water. Method A used by most builders allows performance tradeoffs.
Utility Programs
Electric and/or
gas utility
Utility representative Varies from slightly better than code to meeting Energy Star.


US EPA Builder must sign memorandum of understanding
(no cost)
Certified Home Energy Rater to evaluate each home - EPA also has sampling and Builder Option Packages programs Energy Star for Homes is in transition. See for additional information.

Logo of Florida Energy Rating System.
Florida Energy Rating System

Administered by FSEC for DCA Trained and certified energy rater. Locate a
rater here
Florida’s official Home Energy Rating System (HERS) based on the performance method. Class 1 includes inspection and building and duct tightness testing. Can be used to qualify for Energy Star and Green designations.

Logo of Building America.
Building America
Builders Challenge

US Department
of Energy (DOE) Builder must become partner (no cost)
FSEC or other DOE Building America team Strives for minimum HERS Index of 70 while maintaining or improving good indoor air quality, durability, and cost effectiveness.

Logo of Florida Designated Green Home.
Florida Designated Green Home

Florida Green Building Coalition Green Home Certifier (see web site) Mandatory and credit point system. Has eight categories with many choices: Energy, Water, Lot Choice, Site, Health, Materials, Disaster Mitigation and General.

Logo of Green Communities.
Green Communities

Enterprise Foundation,
Green Home Certifier Reserved for affordable housing. Same as Florida Designated Green Home with a few additional prerequisites.

Logo of LEED Homes.
LEED® for Homes

U.S. Green Building Council  FSEC in Florida  Mandatory and credit point system in Energy Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, Water Efficiency, Site Selection, Site Development, Materials Selection, Residents’ Awareness, and Innovation.
US Department
of Energy (DOE)
FSEC or other DOE Zero Energy Home team/partner Demonstration home with net zero energy use because of exceptional energy-efficient design, construction, and appliances combined with renewable energy generation.