Incentives can jumpstart program participation and, if strategically designed, can lead to a healthy, self-sustaining market even after they are phased out. Incentives can include direct monetary payments, such as rebates, indirect monetary assistance such as free HERS ratings; or non-monetary assistance such as free training. Direct payments are typically provided to builders rather than homebuyers to reduce transaction costs and to maximize builder interest in participation. Incentives currently offered by program sponsors for ENERGY STAR for New Homes include:

  • Cash rebates
  • Free or subsidized home energy ratings
  • Advertising (e.g., cooperative, sponsor paid)
  • Training (e.g., technical, sales)
  • Free marketing materials
  • Discounted utility bills for homeowners
  • Rebates for ENERGY STAR qualified products (e.g., lighting fixtures, appliances, CFL bulbs)
  • Rebates for high-efficiency equipment (e.g., furnaces, heat pumps, and water heaters)

It is important to note that the cash value of incentives offered for ENERGY STAR certified homes does not necessarily correlate with the growth of certified homes. Therefore, even though incentives can play a role in the success of a program, other factors, such as the development of healthy builder and rater competition and consumer education and demand, are often more important.