Efficient Homes

Certified Homes/Next Step Site-Built Homes

Building higher performing and more comfortable homes

NEEA and its utility partners accelerate market adoption of energy-efficient homes by partnering with the EPA to offer builders the tools they need to verify and certify energy-efficient homes, and by providing regional marketing, recruitment and training support in the Northwest.

Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes offers information, tools and resources on the energy-efficient features and increased comfort of homes that are at least 15 percent more efficient than existing state building codes. NEEA is now leveraging its work through Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes and relationships with strong market partners and utility support, to explore the next phase in new construction through the Next Step Home pilot.

This pilot will be used to identify the most cost-effective methods for achieving the greatest amount of energy savings, while paving a pathway for future code adoption.


  • Next Step Home Builder Focus Groups
    The primary goal of the Next Step Homes initiative is to identify best practices and advanced technologies that the region can adopt into building codes over the next three to four code cycles. To encourage builders to incorporate high performance features into their new projects and to accelerate adoption of advanced energy-efficient building practices and technologies, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance commissioned Curtis Research Associates to investigate the motivations and obstacles to building more energy-efficient homes. Results from focus group discussions held in Portland, Seattle and Spokane suggest that builders have different motivations to build higher than existing code standards such as differentiating themselves in the marketplace, or strong personal ethics that favor energy efficient building practices. Common challenges to building above code homes include higher costs, appraisers’ inability to assess higher value to more efficient homes, and lack of buyers’ awareness or appreciation of energy-efficient homes.
    PDF, 237.93 KB
  • Next Step Home Baseline Estimation Study
    This report estimates the baseline for the Next Step Home (NSH) Initiative. The report includes documentation of the current market size for newly constructed homes (energy efficient or not), forecasted market growth, and barriers to energy efficient construction and purchases among homebuilders and homebuyers. Findings suggest that approximately 0% of single-family home construction in all states in the Northwest (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington) currently meet the Next Step Home requirements without assistance from NEEA or utility partners. Furthermore, for the 20-year baseline, NEEA should utilize varying state-level market share estimates derived from the builders phone survey (Idaho 20%, Montana 15%, Oregon 20%, and Washington 12%). These estimates are generally consistent with similar estimates provided during in-depth interviews with efficient home program managers, when the potential impacts of increasingly stringent building codes are not taken into consideration.
    PDF, 1.98 MB
  • Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes Retrospective Report
    This is a retrospective report of Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance's Northwest Energy Star Homes initiative since it launched in 2004. The report assesses the initiative’s impact on the Northwest market following nearly a decade of ongoing market interventions. These interventions served to increase consumer awareness of the ENERGY STAR homes label; engage utility partners to develop a building and verifier network and train these professionals on energy efficiency best building practices. It also led to the adoption of more stringent codes in the Northwest. Update 07/16/2015: This report has been modified to include an addendum memo providing a review of the Alliance Cost Effectiveness (ACE) Model established in Jan 2015.
    PDF, 2.60 MB

Article Spotlight

Efficient Homes Comes to Billings

Thirteen super-energy efficient homes throughout the Northwest are incorporating the latest technologies and best building practices that increase comfort and reduce energy costs. Each home is a real-life demonstration of some of the most efficient homes available to today’s buyers and at any size, style or budget.

Watch how

NEEA Team Lead

Neil Grigsby

Initiative Manager