Builders, Raters, and HVAC Contractors (if applicable) must meet the following requirements prior to certification of homes:
Builders: A builder signs a Partnership Agreement with EPA acknowledging their roles and responsibilities as a partner and documenting their commitment to meet the SFNH Program Requirements. Builders also select an Energy Rating Company to work with (see below), which can be found using the Partner Directory.
Energy Rating Companies: An Energy Rating Company signs a Partnership Agreement with EPA acknowledging their roles and responsibilities as a partner and documenting their intent to provide the energy analysis and/or on-site inspections and testing for homes certified using the ENERGY STAR SFNH program, under the oversight of an EPA-recognized Home Certification Organization (HCO).
All Raters or equivalently-designated individuals completing the third-party verification are required to complete EPA-recognized training, which can be found at www.energystar.gov/newhomestraining. In addition, projects must select one of two tracks to satisfy the program’s HVAC design and installation requirements. If Track A – HVAC Grading is selected, then any HCO-mandated training for the use of ANSI / RESNET / ACCA / ICC 310 must also be completed.
HVAC Contractors: Projects must select one of two tracks to satisfy the program’s HVAC design and installation requirements. If Track B – HVAC Credential is selected, then the HVAC installation contractor must be credentialed. Recognized companies can be found in the HVAC Credentialed Contractor directories.
During the design phase, the Rater (or equivalently-designated individual) should complete preliminary energy modeling to ensure that project design meets or exceeds the program’s performance target. This is defined as the ENERGY STAR ERI Target except in California, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands. The regional program requirements for these locations can be consulted for more details.
In addition to the energy model, the following items must be completed:
HVAC Design Report
- A report completed by the HVAC system designer in the design phase. The report may be site-specific or may encompass one plan with multiple options and potential orientations if they fall within specified design limits. The report covers items related to mechanical ventilation design, heating & cooling loads, heating and cooling equipment selection, duct design, and duct quality installation. The format of the report depends on whether Track A or Track B has been selected:
HVAC Design Report Options Track A - HVAC Grading Track B - HVAC Credential
- Complete an HVAC design report compliant with ANSI / RESNET / ACCA / ICC 310 plus the ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes / Multifamily New Construction National HVAC Design Supplement to Std. 310 for Dwellings & Units.
- Complete the ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes National HVAC Design Report
Rater Design Review Checklist
- A Rater-verified checklist completed in the design phase. This checklist covers items related to partnership, high-performance fenestration and insulation, and HVAC design review.
Finally, all projects are required to meet certain mandatory requirements that impose certain constraints on the efficiency measures selected (e.g., insulation levels, insulation installation quality, window performance, duct leakage). These are contained in the following documents. While no specific action related to these documents is required in the design phase, they should be reviewed to ensure that the home will be compliant once constructed.
Rater Field Checklist
- While this is not required to be completed during design, the home should be designed to meet all requirements listed in this checklist.
Water Management System Requirements
- It is the responsibility of the builder to ensure that each home meets these requirements. This list covers items related to water-managed site and foundation, wall assembly, roof assembly, and building materials.
Builder constructs the project with the mandatory requirements and the measures selected during the design phase to achieve the performance target. Throughout the construction process, raters perform inspections and diagnostic tests to verify proper installation of the selected energy-efficient features and ENERGY STAR mandatory requirements. A minimum of two inspections are required: one at pre-drywall and the other at final.
Mandatory requirements are listed in the following program checklists and reports:
Rater Field Checklist
- A Rater-verified checklist completed in the construction phase. This checklist covers items related to the thermal enclosure system and HVAC system, which are verified during a pre-drywall and final inspection. Note that separate requirements apply to some homes in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The regional program requirements for these locations can be consulted for more details.
Water Management System Requirements
- It is the responsibility of the builder to ensure that each home meets these requirements. This list covers items related to a water-managed site and foundation, wall assembly, roof assembly, and building materials.
HVAC Commissioning Checklist
- If pursuing Track B - HVAC Credential, then the credentialed HVAC contractor must complete this checklist during the construction phase. This checklist covers items related to HVAC functional testing of refrigerant charge, indoor HVAC fan airflow and optional room-by-room air balancing.
All ENERGY STAR certifications are subject to the oversight of a Home Certification Organization (HCO). After the final inspection, the Rater (or equivalently-designated individual) updates the energy model based on conditions verified during their inspection to ensure that the project meets the performance target. They then submit each home’s energy modeling file to an EPA-recognized HCO for final certification and follow the HCO’s certification and oversight procedures (e.g., quality assurance, recordkeeping, and reporting).
Once the final rating has been submitted, the Energy Rating Company will provide documentation to the builder notifying them that the homes have earned the ENERGY STAR.
Each certified home must be issued a completed ENERGY STAR label to be affixed to the circuit breaker box (or other suitable location) and an ENERGY STAR certificate. Certificates and labels are issued to the Rater by their Provider. For more promotional opportunities, visit the Marketing Resources page.