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Welcome to the fourth post in our Home Certification 101 series! In our first post, we described the what and why of certification for your energy-efficient or high-performing home. In our second, we explored how Pearl Certification and Green Door work together to help you improve your quality of life and raise your home’s value. Since then, we’ve been sharing other scores and certifications and how they work with Pearl. Today, we’re talking about another type of certification (and a Pearl Certification partner): ENERGY STAR®.

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What Is Energy-Efficiency Certification?

Certification is a process to recognize that a home or home feature — like HVAC, insulation, or solar panels — meets specific criteria for performance. It demonstrates that an independent third party has formally compared the home or product to standards developed by experts in the field.

Some certifications focus exclusively on a single performance attribute — ENERGY STAR focuses solely on the energy efficiency of products and homes. Other certifications, like Pearl, set criteria for multiple home performance attributes, including energy efficiency.

Related Post: The Ins and Outs of Pearl Certification

ENERGY STAR Logo

ENERGY STAR-certified Products

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched ENERGY STAR in 1992 to help consumers understand which home products and appliances use less energy to operate and therefore cost less to operate.

Fast-forward a few decades, and the ENERGY STAR label is one of the most well-recognized brands in the U.S. About 90% of people across the country recognize it. You too are probably familiar with ENERGY STAR product certification, which uses a small blue label to show your TV, refrigerator, or other product performs well using less energy than non-certified models.

Electronics, lighting, appliances, building products, water heaters, heating and cooling equipment, and even pool pumps can earn ENERGY STAR certification. (You can search for certified products on ENERGY STAR’s website.)

When you see the label, you know the product has been rigorously tested in an ENERGY STAR-approved lab to ensure it meets the certification’s energy efficiency criteria — without sacrificing other aspects of performance. An ENERGY STAR-certified refrigerator, for example, uses less energy than non-certified models while providing the same or better performance. So when you choose a certified product, you choose a trifecta of benefits: energy savings, associated cost savings, and quality.

ENERGY STAR Home Certification

One less well-known element of the ENERGY STAR program is that newly built homes can earn that same label. ENERGY STAR-certified homes are carefully evaluated for how many different products and building features contribute to the entire home’s energy-saving performance. On average, ENERGY STAR-certified homes are 20% more energy efficient than homes built to code.

As part of the home-certification process, the builder engages a certified RESNET Home Energy Rater to conduct an in-depth home energy performance assessment, complete a thorough report, and assign a proprietary score. All of the details collected by the rater are used to identify the high-performing features that will enable the home to meet ENERGY STAR performance guidelines.

ENERGY STAR and Pearl Certification: A Powerful Pair

At Pearl, we’re big fans of ENERGY STAR. In fact, Pearl has integrated ENERGY STAR product and home certification into its scoring system for both new and existing homes. Corey Bressler, Pearl Certification residential program specialist, describes how this works.

“ENERGY STAR certification for appliances is the gold standard. And you know an ENERGY STAR-certified home is checking all the right boxes for energy efficiency,” Bressler says. “So when Pearl assesses a home and that home or the appliances inside have the label, we award points toward Pearl Certification. We prominently highlight ENERGY STAR in our report, and then we keep adding to the information ENERGY STAR has provided to demonstrate the value the homeowner’s investment has added to the home.”

Pearl Certification augments ENERGY STAR’s home certification in four ways.

First, ENERGY STAR home certification is for new homes only, while Pearl Certification can apply to new or existing homes.

Second, while ENERGY STAR focuses solely on energy efficiency, Pearl evaluates additional high-performing attributes of your home’s features and systems, like indoor air quality monitoring, ventilation, and leak detection.

Third, as Bressler points out, “ENERGY STAR is widely recognized, but it can still be hard to figure out the value that ENERGY STAR certification adds to the home. That’s where Pearl really shines.”

Multiple studies demonstrate that ENERGY STAR-certified homes can command a premium during sale. The trick is being able to translate and market the value that ENERGY STAR brings to that home to buyers, lenders, and appraisers who might not be accustomed to working with high-performing homes.

“Pearl Certification fills out the Green and Energy Efficient Appraisal Addendum for every certified home,” Bressler says. “This document removes the guesswork when the homeowner is ready to refinance or sell. We help everyone involved understand the value of the home’s high-performing features.”

Finally, Pearl provides homeowners with a plan for continued improvements in efficiency, health, comfort, and value through its free Green Door app. Bressler says, “A lot of people use ENERGY STAR home certification to help choose a new home. That’s important. When you add Pearl Certification, you get customized guidance for ongoing improvements based on your specific home goals — whether that’s increasing home value, slashing your energy bills, or improving home comfort and health.”

Plus, as homeowners add other ENERGY STAR appliances and fixtures to their home and log those upgrades in Green Door, Pearl awards Pearl Points toward higher tiers of certification. You could say it’s a match made in home performance heaven.

Related Post: 5 Ways to Upgrade Your Home and Its Appraisal Value

Ready to Start Adding Value?

Whether or not your home is ENERGY STAR certified, you can start your journey to greater energy efficiency — and comfort, indoor air quality, and home value — by learning more about the Pearl Certification system. Sign up for our free Green Door app to accelerate that journey:

  • Get customized plans for high-value improvements to your home, including which ENERGY STAR-certified appliance types to add

  • Shop for ENERGY STAR and Pearl Certified products through our partnership with Build with Ferguson

  • Earn a Pearl Asset Certification for ENERGY STAR-certified appliances you already own

215217 HOMES CERTIFIED
241089 HOMES SCORED

Pearl Certification is transforming the housing market. We’re making a visible difference nationwide for homeowners and the businesses that serve them.