To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), based on extensive experience with the nation’s homebuilding industry including builders, Home Energy Raters, and building scientists. Homes that are certified to earn the ENERGY STAR are 20–30% more efficient than standard homes. Homes achieve this level of performance through a complete package of building science measures including :
To ensure that a home meets ENERGY STAR guidelines, third–party verification by a certified Home Energy Rater (or equivalent) is required. The rater works closely with the builder throughout the construction process to help determine the needed energy–saving equipment and construction techniques and conduct required on–site diagnostic testing and inspections to document that the home is eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR label. Learn more about the process of how a new home earns the ENERGY STAR.
Since the inception of the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Program in 1995, the program's requirements have continued to evolve in response to increased rigor in mandated code requirements and more efficient standard builder practices to ensure that homes that earn the label continue to represent a meaningful improvement over non-labeled homes. As codes and standard practices continued to increase across the country, EPA released a third-generation of guidelines ("ENERGY STAR Version 3") in 2010 that largely became mandatory for homes permitted after January 1, 2012. Please visit the transition timeline for more information.
By implementing an ENERGY STAR Certified Homes program, utility sponsors can leverage a powerful brand advantage, along with fully-developed technical specifications and associated training and technical support available from EPA at no cost. Specific benefits to utilities of using this program platform include:
More detailed verification of efficiency measures: The inspection checklists allow for a high level of verification that provide sponsors with greater assurance that efficiency measures are being properly installed and that ENERGY STAR certified homes meet performance and quality expectations.
Greater savings per home: ENERGY STAR certified homes are approximately 20% more efficient than homes built to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Further, the size adjustment factor ensures that larger homes include additional energy efficiency measures to account for their added size.
More definitive savings: Demand and peak savings will be much more reliable with every certified home due to greater rigor of the Reference Design and mandatory checklists. As a result, there will be less opportunity for builders to omit important energy efficiency improvements, and utilities can more confidently quantify the specific savings associated with ENERGY STAR certified homes.
Leverage nationally recognized ENERGY STAR name: ENERGY STAR makes it easy for homebuyers to select energy-efficient homes with its high consumer brand recognition. Efficiency programs based on ENERGY STAR benefit from this level of awareness and builder partners also benefit from being able to leverage ENERGY STAR for effective differentiation from the resale market.