To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home or apartment must meet strict program requirements for energy efficiency developed by ENERGY STAR's Residential New Construction program. These program requirements are based on extensive interaction with the nation’s home-building industry, including builders, developers, verification professionals, and building scientists.
ENERGY STAR certified homes and apartments are at least 10% more efficient than homes built to code and achieve a 20% improvement on average. Homes and apartments achieve this level of performance through a complete package of building science measures, including:
- A Complete Thermal Enclosure System (PDF, 785 KB) — Comprehensive air sealing, properly installed insulation, and high-performance windows work together to enhance comfort, improve durability, reduce maintenance costs, and lower monthly utility bills.
- A Complete Heating and Cooling System (PDF, 738 KB) — High-efficiency systems that are engineered and installed to deliver more comfort, better moisture control, improved indoor air quality, and quieter operation.
- A Complete Water Management System (PDF, 1.3 MB) — A comprehensive package of best building practices and materials protects roofs, walls and foundations from water damage, provides added protection, and reduces the risk of indoor air quality problems.
- Energy-Efficient Lighting and Appliances (PDF, 584 KB) — ENERGY STAR certified lighting, appliances, and fans are commonly installed throughout ENERGY STAR certified homes and apartments, helping to reduce monthly utility bills, while providing high-quality performance.
To ensure that a home or apartment meets ENERGY STAR program requirements, third−party verification by an Energy Rating Company (i.e., home energy rater or rating provider) is required. An Energy Rating Company works closely with the builder or developer throughout the construction process to help determine the needed energy−saving equipment and construction techniques and conduct required on−site diagnostic testing and inspections to document that the home or apartment is eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR label.
Since the inception of the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes program in 1995, the program's requirements have continued to evolve in response to increased rigor in mandated code requirements and more efficient standard builder practices to ensure that homes that earn the label continue to represent a meaningful improvement over non-labeled homes.