Building energy codes set minimum legal standards for the energy efficiency of new homes. That’s good for the environment because it lowers carbon emissions, and also good for Americans’ bank accounts. Houses built to stronger codes are up to 44 percent more efficient and can save a family hundreds of dollars a year on energy costs.

The two hypothetical properties depicted in our graphic — a 1983 house and a 2012 house — show the evolution of an average home and a side-by-side comparison of how energy codes make a surprising difference in home energy efficiency.

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