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Participating in the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Program

ENERGY STAR is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency recognized by more than 89% of American households. ENERGY STAR certified homes are designed and constructed to be significantly more energy efficient than those built to code while lowering homeowner utility bills and providing superior comfort, quality, and durability.

ENERGY STAR provides marketing, technical, and programmatic support to both partners and other organizations, including:

There are opportunities for a number of different types of organizations to support the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Program and the construction of energy-efficient new homes. Learn more about how different types of organizations can participate with ENERGY STAR including their eligibility to partner with the program.

Notice: The ENERGY STAR Residential Architect/Home Plan Designer Partnership Program will be discontinued effective October 1, 2018. Current partners must review all current marketing materials to identify and remove ENERGY STAR marks from electronic and printed materials by October 1, 2018.

Architects & Designers With Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR, residential architects and designers can help their builder clients ensure that their home plans meet the rigorous energy efficiency requirements of the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Program. Home plans that have earned the Designed to Earn label help consumers save energy, promote environmental protection, minimize the amount of building materials used in a home’s construction, and ensure that critical building science details and efficiency features are included in a home’s design.

Architects and designers can partner with ENERGY STAR after they have a set of plans reviewed and approved by a Home Energy Rater. Use the Partner Locator to find a Rater in your area.

Become a Partner

Community DevelopersCommunity Developers who commit to certifying all of the homes in their community can partner with ENERGY STAR and actively leverage the ENERGY STAR brand to attract top performing builders and homebuyers. Participating in the ENERGY STAR program can help standardize construction practices across a development (saving time and money) and may make a project eligible for funding for income restricted development. Some jurisdictions give expedited permitting to community developers that require builders to participate in energy-efficiency programs like the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Program.

Become a Partner

Home Builder AssociationsHome Builders Associations (HBAs) can partner with ENERGY STAR as Sponsoring Organizations and play a critical role in ensuring that their members are aware of the benefits for builders to participate in the ENERGY STAR program.  HBAs can leverage the resources on the ENERGY STAR website to hold training events to educate home builders about energy efficiency and the Certified Homes Program. HBAs can also recognize local ENERGY STAR builders and promote builders who have won national ENERGY STAR awards. In areas without an established home energy rating market, HBAs can play a key role in recruiting Raters and other key program participants like HVAC contractors.

Become a Partner

LendersA March 2013 report by the Institute of Market Transformation titled “Home Energy Efficiency and Mortgage RisksPDF (3.0MB) found that the risk of default was on average 32 percent lower in ENERGY STAR certified homes than in homes that did not earn the ENERGY STAR label. Lenders can partner with a new U.S. Department of Energy program and expand their business by issuing Energy-Efficient Mortgages (EEMs). Lenders can also expand their business by forming strategic relationships with real estate professionals and appraisers and using the Partner Locator to identify ENERGY STAR builder, Rater partners, and utility partners that provide incentives for certified homes.

Local GovernmentsLocal governments are in an ideal position to partner with ENERGY STAR as Sponsoring Organizations to raise awareness about energy efficiency in their communities and help recruit participants through their existing communication channels. The ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Program equips policy makers with a proven marketing platform and technical specifications to help reduce long-term energy use and peak demand in a community and contribute towards climate change mitigation goals. ENERGY STAR can serve as a stand-alone program or complement an existing residential energy efficiency initiative. The program can also help reduce monthly energy costs for low income residents who spend a higher proportion of their income on utility bills. Local governments can also promote energy-efficiency by requiring ENERGY STAR certification for developers to quality for public funding.

Become a Partner

Home AppraisersAppraisers play a critical role in ensuring that the energy efficiency features of certified homes are properly reflected in the valuation process. Appraisers can browse the ENERGY STAR website or review resources like the ENERGY STAR fact sheets to learn more about the features and benefits of certified homes.

The Appraisal Institute, a global membership association of professional appraisers, also provides support for the appraisal of energy efficient new homes. Their website Exit ENERGY STAR hosts information on valuing green buildings, including information on their certificate program called the Valuation of Sustainable Buildings Professional Development Program as well as a Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum PDF (303KB) that can be completed by appraisers as well as homeowners to identify and describe a home's green and energy efficiency features.

Real Estate AgentsConsumers increasingly demand energy-efficiency and rank energy costs as one of the most important considerations when purchasing a new home. Real estate agents can help their clients understand the value of energy efficient new homes by educating themselves about the features and benefits of ENERGY STAR certified homes and forming relationships with ENERGY STAR builder and Rater partners.

While many industry professionals claim to understand energy efficiency, there is little consistency in their definitions. The Certified Homes Program provides an industry vetted set of technical specifications, terminology, and metrics that industry professionals can rely on.  You can help promote ENERGY STAR by contacting your local Realtor Association and advocating for the addition of certified homes into your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Visit the Green MLS Tool Kit Exit ENERGY STAR for more information.