Independent Inspections & Tests

ENERGY STAR New Home Certified label

The label that comes with every ENERGY STAR certified home may look small. It measures just three by five inches. But what it stands for is really big. It means that a home has undergone a better process of independent inspections and testing to ensure it meets strict requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Learn more about independent inspections and testing in this fact sheet (PDF, 1.91MB).

How New Homes Earn the ENERGY STAR

A home that meets EPA's strict energy efficiency requirements achieves this level of performance through a complete package of building science-based energy efficiency systems and measures that are third–party verified by a Home Energy Rater. Many steps are taken by the builder and Rater during design and construction to ensure all ENERGY STAR requirements are met and verified.

Step 1: Builder Becomes an ENERGY STAR Partner
twp men shaking hands

Through a partnership with ENERGY STAR, a builder commits to constructing and verifying homes to meet all of ENERGY STAR’s strict energy efficiency requirements. The builder also selects a Home Energy Rater to work with to certify their homes. To find participating builder partners in your area, visit the ENERGY STAR Partner Locator.

Step 2: Builder and Rater Work Together to Select Climate-appropriate Energy Efficiency features
Blue prints of a home

The builder submits their architectural plans to their Home Energy Rater for review and analysis. The Rater looks for key information on the plans to help the builder choose the best combination of energy–efficient features to ensure that the home will earn the ENERGY STAR label when constructed. Some Raters rely on a prescriptive package of energy improvements developed by EPA, while others develop a customized approach for each home using specialized home energy modeling software. For a home to be truly energy efficient, its design and construction must consider local conditions. Home Energy Raters are trained in climate-specific energy saving techniques, and their knowledge and field experience help ENERGY STAR builder partners select the most appropriate energy-efficient features.

Step 3: Builder Constructs Home and Rater Performs Field Verification and Quality Assurance
man checking equipment

With the energy-efficient features selected, the builder proceeds with home construction. The Home Energy Rater conducts onsite inspections and testing* during and after construction to ensure rigorous ENERGY STAR requirements are met. Homes that earn the ENERGY STAR typically undergo significantly more systems engineering, inspections, and testing than homes built to code. This extensive and detailed verification process identifies and corrects mistakes that may impact a home’s energy efficiency before they become problems and holds builders accountable to higher standards. The process typically includes a blower door test to measure whole-house air leakage and a duct blaster test to measure air duct leakage. During the inspection process, Raters utilize a set of comprehensive ENERGY STAR checklists designed to deliver better efficiency, comfort, quality, and durability.

Step 4: Rater Certifies the Home and Issues an ENERGY STAR Label
Man and woman, with the man holding the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Label

After the Rater completes the final site inspection and determines that all ENERGY STAR requirements have been met, the Rater will provide the builder with the ENERGY STAR label, which is typically placed on the circuit breaker box of the home. This label is proof that the home is ENERGY STAR certified, and includes the home address, builder name, Rater name, and date verified. The blue ENERGY STAR label makes it simple for homebuyers to choose truly comfortable and energy efficient new homes.

* Builders who have demonstrated an ability to consistently meet ENERGY STAR requirements may have homes that meet certain eligibility criteria certified based on tests and inspections performed on a sample of the homes.

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Explore ENERGY STAR Home Features

A complete package of energy efficiency systems and measures working together mean better comfort, better quality, and enduring value.

the Thornton family

"Our home is healthy, comfortable, quiet, and energy-efficient. It is the largest home we have ever owned but our monthly energy bill is the lowest we have ever had."

David and Elise Thornton