Home Certification Organizations (HCOs)

Home Certification Organizations (HCOs) are independent organizations recognized by EPA to implement an ENERGY STAR certification program based on the ENERGY STAR Residential New Construction program requirements for site-built single-family and multifamily homes and apartments when an Energy Rating Index (ERI) or dwelling unit modeling compliance path is used. Energy Rating Companies (e.g., rater companies and Providers) providing third-party verification for these compliance paths are required to operate under an HCO.

EPA has recognized the following organizations as Home Certification Organizations (HCOs):

HOME CERTIFICATION ORGANIZATIONS (HCOs)
National 1
Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET)
Building Science Institute (BSI)
California 2
Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) in partnership with CalCerts
CHEERS in partnership with the National Energy Registry

1 HCOs operating at the national level may certify homes and apartments in all U.S. states and territories except for California, using an Energy Rating Index (ERI)-based compliance path within the applicable ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes or Multifamily New Construction “National” or regional program requirements.

2 HCOs Operating in California may certify homes and apartments in California, using a dwelling unit modeling approach within the ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes or Multifamily New Construction regional California program requirements. The requirement to certify through an HCO in California goes into effect for homes and apartments certified using ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes (SFNH) California Version 3.3 and Multifamily New Construction (MFNC) California Version 1.3. Visit www.energystar.gov/newhomesrequirements for more details including the Version implementation timelines.

Learn more about the HCO requirements and application process.


Frequently Asked Questions about HCOs

  • What are Home Certification Organizations (HCOs)? 

Home Certification Organizations (HCOs) are independent organizations recognized by EPA to implement certification programs based on the ENERGY STAR New Construction program requirements. EPA has a formal application/review process through which an applicant must demonstrate that it meets the program's eligibility criteria and has the capability, competencies, and proper controls to implement an ENERGY STAR certification program.

  • How does EPA decide to recognize an HCO?

In 2007, EPA first created the formal application process for organizations to be recognized to provide oversight of the ENERGY STAR certification process (called Verification Oversight Organizations or VOOs, at that time). In 2018, EPA undertook a comprehensive update of the oversight recognition structure and updated the terminology to Home Certification Organizations (HCOs). EPA will recognize an HCO when the applicant has met the requirements of the application and demonstrated that it meets the program's eligibility criteria and has the capability, competencies, and proper controls to implement an ENERGY STAR certification program.

  • What are the differences between the EPA-recognized HCOs?

While there may be some differences in the approaches that HCOs take in developing and managing their ENERGY STAR certification programs, all EPA-recognized HCOs must operate their programs in compliance with the minimum requirements that EPA has established for these organizations. EPA is committed to ensuring a level playing field for certifications that are performed via any recognized HCO program.

  • What does the recognition of an additional HCO mean to an Energy Rating Company that is currently working with another EPA-recognized HCO?

EPA’s recognition of an additional HCO does not obligate an Energy Rating Company to change any aspect of their participation with the ENERGY STAR program, nor their relationship with their current HCO. EPA neither encourages nor discourages raters from considering working with any specific HCO for their ENERGY STAR certifications.

  • Can Energy Rating Companies do ENERGY STAR certifications through multiple HCOs or must they choose one?

There is nothing in EPA’s policies that precludes an Energy Rating Company from working with multiple HCOs, depending on its needs. EPA neither encourages nor discourages working with any specific HCO.

  • Can I do HERS Index ratings through all ENERGY STAR HCOs?

The Energy Rating Index (ERI), as defined by the ANSI / ICC 301 Standard, is integrated into ENERGY STAR program requirements and all HCOs support ERI scores in their ENERGY STAR certification programs for the purpose of determining compliance. The HERS Index is a proprietary trademark of the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) and can only be offered through that organization.

  • Is EPA planning to recognize additional HCOs in the future?

EPA will evaluate applications for recognition on a case-by-case basis and will recognize additional HCOs if/when an organization demonstrates that it meets the program's eligibility criteria and has the capability, competencies, and proper controls to implement an ENERGY STAR certification program. There is no minimum or maximum number of organizations that may be recognized by EPA as HCOs.