To maintain consumer trust and improve the oversight of ENERGY STAR certified products, homes, and commercial facilities, EPA has implemented independent certification requirements.
ENERGY STAR Products
Ensuring that products labeled with the ENERGY STAR deliver on their promise to the consumer is critical to the success of the ENERGY STAR program. In response to a finding by the Government Accountability Office that the program was vulnerable to fraud, EPA implemented third-party certification of ENERGY STAR products starting in 2011. Third-party certification enhances the value of the program to partners, including retailers, manufacturers, and utilities, ensuring that products are properly tested and reviewed prior to being labeled. It also eliminates the competitive advantage associated with cheating and preserves the label’s value in the marketplace.
Prior to 2011, ENERGY STAR products were self-certified by partners. The change from self-certification to third-party certification required an increase in EPA investment in the ENERGY STAR program. EPA currently oversees third-party certification and manages certified product lists for more than 50,000 certified product models, including oversight of 25 accreditation bodies, 23 certification bodies, and more than 600 recognized labs. EPA also oversees the testing of a sample of products post-market (in 2016, more than 1,800 products were tested) to ensure product performance, as well as an annual audit of labeling of products on shelves at major retailers to maintain program integrity. Learn more about product certification.
ENERGY STAR New Homes
EPA requires independent, third-party verification of new homes’ energy performance and compliance with all applicable program requirements for them to be eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR label. For site-built homes, this verification is provided by certified Home Energy Raters and Accredited Rating Providers. For factory-built homes, a Plant Certifier verifies that a manufacturing plant has systems in place to consistently build ENERGY STAR certified homes and performs ongoing quality control testing. In turn, these third-party verifiers and certifiers are overseen by EPA-recognized Verification Oversight Organizations for site-built homes and by Quality Assurance Providers for factory-built homes. To be recognized, an organization must submit an application to EPA to demonstrate that it meets the program’s eligibility criteria and can successfully perform the required roles and responsibilities set forth in the application. Learn more about ENERGY STAR Certified Home program requirements.
ENERGY STAR Commercial Buildings
Buildings achieving a score of 75 or higher using Portfolio Manager must be verified by a Licensed Professional (Professional Engineer or Registered Architect) to be eligible to apply for the ENERGY STAR. The Licensed Professional must verify that all energy use is accounted for accurately, that the building characteristics have been properly reported (including the square footage of the building), that the building is fully functional in accordance with industry standards, and that each of the indoor environment criteria has been met. Learn more about building certification.
ENERGY STAR Industrial Plants
For Industrial Plants: A Professional Engineer must certify that the information used to calculate the plant‘s 75 or higher energy performance score is correct. In addition, the plant must satisfy EPA environmental compliance criteria screen. Learn more about plant certification.
The program’s emphasis on testing, independent review, and compliance screening bolsters its integrity and ensures that consumers can trust ENERGY STAR certified products, homes, and commercial facilities to deliver the energy savings promised by the label.