The National Association of Home Builders has earned a sixth Energy Star designation for its National Housing Center in Washington, D.C. The building serves as the association’s headquarters.

This latest award recognizes buildings that conserve natural resources while providing a comfortable and healthy environment for employees, tenants and visitors, said the NAHB.

Since the building was significantly expanded and renovated in 2001, the housing center’s property manager, Houston-based Transwestern, has continued to fine-tune the details of the original energy-efficient construction project. Close attention to the operation and maintenance of the building is the key to holding the line on energy use and utility costs, said NAHB Chief Executive Officer Jerry Howard.

“NAHB’s position has long been that to make a significant dent in our nation’s energy use, we need to focus on existing buildings,” Howard said. “These improvements demonstrate how we put these values into practice.”

To earn the housing center’s sixth designation, Transwestern engineers installed a control system to turn off restroom heaters after hours and added more occupancy sensors for lesser-used areas of the building. They constantly monitor equipment performance and anticipate expected use based on weather conditions and occupancy.

The Transwestern staff also regularly inspects and performs preventive maintenance on the heating and air-conditioning equipment used in the building to optimize its performance and prolong its life, Howard said. The efforts that earn the housing center’s continued Energy Star designations save money and energy while they also send a strong message regarding housing industry support for voluntary energy guidelines, he added.

NAHB has also made landscaping improvements around the building, adding more plants and greenery to help absorb storm water runoff and keep it out of the city’s drainage system. While it is not an Energy Star requirement, NAHB decided this was another way to reduce the center’s impact on the environment.

“Many of our members build homes with appliances, windows, doors, and heating and cooling systems that meet the Energy Star guidelines. In fact, more than a million Energy Star homes have been built since the program started,” Howard said. “The vast majority were constructed by our members, who build 80 percent of the nation’s homes. These home builders’ business practices show that NAHB members are at the forefront of green building - and that’s reflected in how we operate our national headquarters.”

A plaque recognizing the Energy Star achievement will be posted near the building’s entrance and will replace similar plaques installed in previous years.