- Home Buyers
New Home Certification Programs
ENERGY STAR for Homes
To earn the ENERGY STAR®, a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), making them 20–30% more efficient than standard homes. Homes achieve this level of performance through a combination of energy–efficient improvements, including,
- Effective Insulation Systems
- High–Performance Windows
- Tight Construction and Ducts
- Efficient Heating and Cooling Equipment
- ENERGY STAR® Qualified Lighting and Appliances
To ensure that a home meets ENERGY STAR® guidelines, third–party verification by a certified Home Energy Rater (or equivalent) is required. This Home Energy Rater works closely with the builder throughout the design and construction process to help determine the needed energy–saving equipment and construction techniques for the particular home. The Rater also conducts required on–site diagnostic testing and inspections to document that the home is eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR® label.
Any home three stories or less can earn the ENERGY STAR® label if it has been verified to meet EPA's guidelines. Home types include: single family, attached, and low-rise multi-family homes; manufactured homes; systems-built homes (e.g., SIP, ICF, or modular construction); log homes, concrete homes; and even existing retrofitted homes.
Click here to learn more about Features and Benefits of ENERGY STAR® qualified new homes.
SystemVision™ Home Program
The SystemVision program is a certification geared toward the affordable housing market. All homes in North Carolina’s SystemVision program carry a heating and cooling energy guarantee. These house plan-specific guarantees generally range from $16 to $40 per month, with most falling between $25 and $30. If a home exceeds its guaranteed usage at the end of the year, Advanced Energy pays the difference to the homeowner.
SystemVision homes also carry an Advanced Energy comfort guarantee to ensure that these homes are not only financially affordable to purchase and live in, but comfortable and enjoyable too.
SystemVision homes are also certified through ENERGY STAR®, a program administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]. In North Carolina, both Progress Energy and Duke Energy customers living in ENERGY STAR® homes qualify for discounted utility rates.
Visit the Advanced Energy website to learn more about the Systems Approach to building.
NC HealthyBuilt Homes Program
The NC HealthyBuilt Homes Program provides a certificate for homes meeting "green home guidelines" built by residential builders and developers who practice sustainable, high performance building strategies making the home a comfortable, healthy and affordable place to live. These builders implement strategies that reduce energy and water usage, promote renewable energy use, help protect the land and natural resources where the home is built, and reduce pollution and the waste of natural resources during the manufacturing and construction phases and throughout the life of the home.
The NC Solar Center and the NC HealthyBuilt Homes Program are proud to partner with ENERGY STAR® to promote energy efficient products and practices that save money and protect our environment. All NC HealthyBuilt Homes must meet ENERGY STAR® requirements to earn a label as an ENERGY STAR® home.
NC HealthyBuilt Homes is targeted at small to medium size home builders who may not have the resources to compete with larger builders in the rapidly emerging field of green building. This program offers technical assistance, marketing assistance, design reviews, workshops, presentations, and field consultation services that enable the builder to increase his or her firm’s knowledge.
There are requirements that a NC HealthyBuilt Home and builder must meet to participate. The key is that how you meet requirements is up to you-it’s your choice! There are guidelines for building in an environmentally friendly way; you may be surprised at how many “green” choices you already make.
See the NC HealthyBuilt Home F.A.Q.s for more information.
LEED - US Green Building Council
A LEED-certified home is designed and constructed in accordance with the rigorous guidelines of the LEED for Homes green building certification program. LEED for Homes is a consensus-developed, third party-verified, voluntary rating system which promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes.
The LEED for Homes Rating System measures the overall performance of the home in eight categories:
- Innovation & Design Process (ID)
- Location & Linkages (LL)
- Sustainable Sites (SS)
- Water Efficiency (WE)
- Energy & Atmosphere (EA)
- Materials & Resources (MR)
- Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ)
- Awareness & Education (AE)
The LEED for Homes Rating System (PDF) works by requiring a minimum level of performance through prerequisites, and rewarding improved performance in each of the above categories. The level of performance is indicated by four performance tiers—Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum—according to the number of points earned.
The following project types are eligible to participate, subject to the conditions described below. Providers are strongly encouraged to scrutinize all projects carefully to ensure that the prerequisites in the LEED for Homes Rating System can be addressed.
Detached single‐family homes
Conventional single‐family homes, whether custom, production, or affordable, are eligible to participate.
Attached single‐family homes
Homes that serve one family but share one or more vertical party wall with other homes are eligible to participate. This category includes townhomes but does not include stacked duplexes or triplexes, which are considered multi‐family buildings.
Low‐rise multi‐family buildings are one to three stories high and include two or more dwelling units. Residential associated spaces do not need to be included in the Home Size Adjuster, but must meet all LEED prerequisites and the same credits as the worst case unit, where applicable.
Mid‐rise multi‐family buildings are defined as buildings with four to six stories4 and at least two dwelling units. These projects are allowed to participate in the LEED for Homes Mid‐rise Pilot. Mid‐rise projects must follow the guidance laid out in the Mid‐rise Addendum to LEED for Homes, which includes special energy modeling and ventilation requirements.
Other LEED certifications are available for gut/rehabilitations, manufactured housing, mixed-use buildings, and “in-law” flats. See the LEED for Homes Scope and Eligibility Guidelines (PDF) for more information.
National Green Building Standard - NAHBGreen
The National Green Building Standard is the first residential green building rating system to undergo the full consensus process and receive American National Standards Institute approval. The four threshold levels - Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Emerald - allow builders to achieve entry-level green building, or the highest level of sustainable "green" building incorporating energy savings of 60% or more. Single-family & multi-unit homes, residential remodeling projects, and site developments are all covered in the Standard.
Dual Certification: National Green Building Standard with Builders Challenge
New single-family homes certified to the Standard may qualify to be concurrently certified the Builders Challenge. Learn more about the Builders Challenge and how your green home may qualify.