Plant certification must be performed by a third-party consultant called a Plant Certifier who has been accepted by an EPA-approved Quality Assurance Provider to have met established requirements for training and credentials. This process is done once and usually requires a few weeks to complete, concluding with submission of the ENERGY STAR Partnership Agreement to EPA.
Successful completion of the following eight requirements certifies that the plant can manufacture ENERGY STAR certified homes and establishes the plant as an ENERGY STAR partner:
The Plant Representative is responsible for hiring a Certifier. The Certifier is an independent, third-party consultant certified by an EPA-approved Quality Assurance Provider. An organization may apply to the Quality Assurance Provider to be approved as a manufactured housing Certifier for ENERGY STAR.
The Certifier will certify that the plant meets the ENERGY STAR guidelines for producing ENERGY STAR certified homes. The Certifier will also ensure that the plant’s ENERGY STAR certified home designs meet ENERGY STAR guidelines, and will verify the in-plant and in-field performance of at least three homes produced by the plant. The Certifier also inspects a sample of each plant’s ENERGY STAR certified homes on a regular basis. More information on field inspections is provided under Producing ENERGY STAR Certified Manufactured Homes.
Quality Assurance Providers maintain a list of plant Certifiers. Contact Systems Building Research Alliance (SBRA) for their list of Certifiers. Contact the Northwest Energy Efficient Manufactured Homes Program (NEEM) for Certifiers in (Washington , Oregon , Idaho , and Montana ).
The Plant Design/Engineering Staff, and Manufactured Housing Certifier ensures that the plant creates home designs that meet ENERGY STAR guidelines as well as ensuring that the designs and the methods used to create them are certified to be ENERGY STAR compliant by the Certifier. The Certifier must review and approve each of the qualifying home configurations and designs.
Because a duct leakage value is needed as part of the design process, EPA recommends that the ducts be tested during this step to determine their level of leakage and their potential for improvement. The duct leakage measured in the plant can be used to estimate whether the ducts will meet required leakage levels when homes are set up in the field. Field tests will be valuable aids in verifying this estimate. For guidance on constructing efficient duct systems for manufactured homes visit SBRA’s web site .
The Plant Engineering/Quality Control Staff ensure that the ENERGY STAR features in the new home designs must now be incorporated into the Design Approval Primary Inspection Agency (DAPIA)-approved packages, the plant Quality Control Manual, and the Manufacturers’ Installation Manual.
Plant Production/Engineering Staff and the Manufactured Housing Certifier ensure that the homes produced maintain duct tightness standards. As part of the certification process, a plant must manufacture a minimum of three consecutive homes that meet ENERGY STAR duct system guidelines. As these homes are manufactured, their ducts are tested to determine the level of leakage. The Certifier verifies that the ducts do not exceed allowable leakage levels. If one of the qualification homes fails the duct test, three additional homes are tested until three consecutive homes pass the duct leakage test. Even if the ducts are tightened to the point where they meet the ENERGY STAR target, a home that initially fails the duct test cannot be counted as one of the three qualifying in-plant test homes.
“Three consecutive homes” are defined as three homes coming through the production line that are built using the revised duct system design that is designated for the plant’s ENERGY STAR production. This is only a test of the duct system. These three consecutive homes do not need to meet all of the other requirements (e.g. insulation) to be certified as ENERGY STAR. The Certifier will determine whether the qualification homes are of like or unlike “type,” and whether more than one set of three homes (one set for each home “type”) must be tested. Homes are of different "types" with respect to ENERGY STAR if their design differences have the potential to impact their energy performance significantly. For example, homes with ducts located in the attic and homes with ducts located in the floor would be different “types,” as would single- and double-section homes.