Each year the EPA regional Energy Star program (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana) recognizes the best development of the year. For 2011, that award went to zHome. Here is Northwest Energy Star’s press release in full:
“Ichijo USA Co., LTD was recently awarded the Development of the Year award by Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes and its Washington utility partners such as Puget Sound Energy. The Seattle, Washington-based builder has been selected for their commitment to incorporating energy-efficient building techniques and design into a specific housing development, practicing social responsibility within their communities, and providing their customers with improved comfort and reduced energy bills.
Since joining the program in 2011, Ichijo USA has built a total of seven ENERGY STAR qualified homes. The Development of the Year award is given based on a range of criteria including the number of qualifying homes the builder constructed, use of the ENERGY STAR brand in marketing and sales and a commitment to quality that meets and even extends Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes standards.
“We are so impressed by the dedication of Ichijo USA to continue to build high quality, energy-efficient homes in a market where increased requirements and downward price pressures are causing many builders to cut costs and cut corners,” said Neil Grigsby, program manager for Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes. “Our builders’ commitment to excellence is exemplified by Ichijo USA, who is a true leader in building high-performance, energy-efficient homes and educating the homebuyer on the importance of energy efficiency and better quality construction.””
By providing carbon neutral homes in a market context, my hope is that zHome will set the tone for the future of Energy Star, the energy code, etc. I am glad to see that Energy Star was willing to recognize this even though Ichijo USA is a new entry into the marketplace.