TRENTON, N.J. – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Green Homes Office today was awarded the 2006 ENERGY STAR Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The Green Homes Office (GHO) received honors for creating quality, affordable housing that meets EPA’s strict guidelines for energy efficiency, and for encouraging comprehensive green building and energy-efficiency throughout New Jersey.

“DCA’s Green Homes Office is a national leader in providing environmentally-conscious options for New Jersey’s housing market, and we take great pride in our accomplishments,” said DCA Commissioner Susan Bass Levin.  “Across the state, we are creating housing that is an investment in our communities and our environment.”

The annual awards recognize organizations that help protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. 

The GHO develops and administers green building programs for the State of New Jersey, and works to improve the environmental performance, energy efficiency, quality and affordability of housing statewide.  The New Jersey Affordable Green Program, the only statewide affordable housing program in the country, has increased the use of innovative green materials and building technologies in over 2,400 affordable rental and homeownership units in the state since its inception in 2000.  For more information about the DCA’s Green Homes Office, visit www.nj.gov/dca/dh/gho/index.shtml.

The ENERGY STAR Awards are given to organizations across the country to recognize their contribution to the construction of energy-efficient homes that benefit the environment, while providing homeowners with a quieter, more comfortable home, along with significant utility savings. Award winners are selected from over 8,000 organizations that participate in the ENERGY STAR program.

Last year alone, with the help of ENERGY STAR, Americans saved $12 billion on their energy bills and enough peak energy to power 28 million homes.  Through those savings they avoided greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of more than 23 million vehicles.

“An ENERGY STAR home costs much less to operate,” said Kathleen Hogan, director of EPA’s Climate Protection Partnerships Division. “We applaud the innovative and pioneering work of New Jersey Green Homes Office to bring ENERGY STAR to affordable homes and offer the very best in terms of efficiency, comfort, and durability.”

About ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased energy efficiency. Today, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, the program offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy, money and help protect the environment for future generations. More than 8,000 organizations are ENERGY STAR partners committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes and businesses. For more information about ENERGY STAR, visit www.energystar.gov or call toll-free 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).