Live Efficient: Build maximum efficiency into new homes

The NHSaves’ utility partners encourage New Hampshire residents to participate in energy efficient practices in all new home and renovation construction projects.

Every Energy Star certified home helps reduce energy costs and offers quality, comfort and increased value.

Benefits for homeowners

Peace of mind: Tried-and-true best building practices followed by independent inspections and testing from certified professionals mean that you can be confident that things were done right.

Enduring quality: Value adding energy efficiency features that deliver better performance and an overall superior level of quality.

Wall-to-wall comfort: You’ll see, feel, and hear the difference of a heating and cooling system that has been engineered and installed to efficiently deliver comfort. Enjoy consistent temperatures across every room and a constant supply of fresh, filtered air reducing indoor pollutants, dust, pollen, and other allergens.

Proven value: Better energy efficiency and performance means lower utility and maintenance costs. Homes earning the ENERGY STAR label use 15-30 percent less energy than typical new homes, and even more when compared to most resale homes on the market today.

What’s different about an Energy Star home?

To earn the EPA’s Energy Star certification, your home must meet guidelines that will make it 15-30 percent more efficient than a standard, code-built home. Homes achieve this level of performance through a combination of energy efficient improvements including:

Air tight construction
Effective insulation
High performance windows
High efficiency heating and cooling equipment installed by a certified HVAC contractor
Well-insulated and sealed heating and cooling ducts
Energy Star certified lighting and appliances
Water Protection Systems to improve indoor air quality and durability
Third-party testing and verification for superior energy performance

To ensure that your home earns the EPA’s Energy Star certification, third-party verification by a certified Home Energy Rater is required. The Rater will work closely with you and the builder throughout the construction process to help determine the necessary energy saving equipment and construction techniques.

Drive to Net Zero Home CompetitionNHSaves’ Drive to Net Zero Home Competition celebrates the homeowners, contractors and architects who are building high efficiency, net zero energy homes. This ongoing challenge demonstrates that building a home that produces more energy on site than it consumes is affordable and achievable.

How Can You Enter?

NHSaves’ utility partners introduced the Drive to Net Zero Home Competition in 2017 as a design and build competition for single and multi-family homes. Another seven entered the competition in 2018.

Homes entered in the Drive to Net Zero Home Competition are also part of the Energy Star Homes program. Homes earning the Energy Star label use 15 to 30 percent less energy than typical new homes.

Prizes are awarded to the top three entries: $5,000 for first place, $2,000 for second and $1,000 for third.

Why Net Zero?Net zero homes produce as much energy as they consume by minimizing energy use through efficiency and meeting their remaining needs through renewable energy systems. These best practices are helping Granite Staters drastically reduce their energy bills – possibly to zero.

Among the many features of a net zero project are thicker and more air-tight walls, fresh filtered air and advanced window technologies that result in homes that not only save energy and money, but are more comfortable and durable.

Awards for winning are First Place, $5,000; Second Place, $2,000; and Third Place, $1,000.

The competition weighs five criteria: 1. Lowest overall HERS Index (technical); 2. Lowest HERS index prior to renewables technologies (technical); 3. Most affordable project, cost per square foot (technical and will be treated confidentially); 4. The home’s estimated total annual net operating cost using REM/Rate (technical); 5. Technological innovation (judged).
All homes entered in the competition must participate in the NH Utilities NHSaves Energy Star Homes program. Projects are also eligible for Home Energy Rating services and NH Energy Star Homes incentives.

The home must earn the ENERGY STAR Label. Homes must be completed and in move-in condition.Homes will be inspected and tested by one of the NH Utilities certified HERS raters during construction and at the completion of home.All renewables must be installed and operational at final inspection to be considered for scoring.The home must be built in the service territory of one of the participating utilities (e.g., Eversource, Liberty, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, Unitil).Builders may be eligible for additional promotional activities including advertising, media events, website profiling, publications and a final awards ceremony.

Throughout the process, each builder agrees to occasional inspections, will need to take photos to support the renewable energy and/or technologies involved (especially those that will be inaccessible at completion), and monitoring and evaluations in order to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations of the challenge. Visit for more information.