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VIRGINIA POWER'S ENERGY SAVER HOME RECEIVES FOUR-STAR EFFICIENCY RATING

 RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Virginia Power's Energy Saver Home program has received a four-star energy efficiency rating from the Virginia Home Energy Rating Organization (VHERO).
 Energy Saver Home is the first utility-sponsored new home construction program to receive an efficiency rating from VHERO. The four-star rating indicates that Energy Saver homes have excellent energy-saving features and protect the environment by reducing overall energy use. The rating also indicates that energy-saving features are found consistently in all new Energy Saver Homes.
 Incorporated in July 1992, VHERO us a not-for-profit corporation that serves as the residential energy rating service for the state energy program. VHERO will give efficiency ratings to homes using all types of fuel. The National Energy Policy Act passed by Congress in 1992 requires all 50 states to have similar home energy rating systems by early 1994.
 The four-star rating will enable buyers of Energy Saver Homes to obtain special energy efficiency mortgages from lending institutions. Buyers may qualify for larger mortgages with lower annual incomes due to the anticipated reduction in home energy costs.
 Virginia Power's inspection program for Energy Saver Home construction was a crucial factor in the four-star award. The company hires independent contractors to make random inspections of new homes to make sure they meet program standards. A new test to check the home's rate of air leakage will be added to the inspection in the near future. Inspectors already check the home's attic insulation and heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
 "We're very pleased to receive the four-star rating from VHERO. We have always been proud of our Energy Saver Home program, and it has helped thousands of homeowners enjoy greater comfort and lower energy bills. The four-star award from an independent rating organization confirms that Energy Saver Homes provide these benefits," said Thomas J. O'Neil, Virginia Power vice president, energy efficiency. "The rating should also be an important signal to consumers. It should help assure them that the many different types and styles of Energy Saver Homes are consistently energy efficient."
 More than 100,000 homes have been certified by Virginia Power as Energy Saver Homes. They meet strict thermal and equipment guidelines designed to conserve energy while providing comfort. They feature extensive insulation, high-efficiency heat pumps for heating and cooling, and standards for windows, ductwork and walls. The standards are upgraded frequently.
 The Energy Saver Home program underwent extensive evaluation by VHERO before the four-star ranking was awarded. VHERO analysts used computer models to assure themselves that the Energy Saver Home standards were effective means to save energy.
 VHERO also has the right to conduct random spot-checks of new Energy Saver Home construction. Virginia Power provides VHERO with the results of the company's own inspection program.
 Virginia Power hopes to obtain VHERO's highest rating, a five-star award, for its planned Energy Saver Home Plus program, which will begin in Virginia sometime in 1994. Homes built under this program will feature superior thermal and equipment standards.
 -0- 12/7/93
 /CONTACT: William H. Byrd of Virginia Power, 804-771-6115/


CO: Virginia Power; Virginia Home Energy Rating Organization ST: Virginia IN: CST UTI SU:

DT-KD -- DC011 -- 1308 12/07/93 13:02 EST
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Date:Dec 7, 1993
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