Supporting the Residential Energy-Efficiency Marketplace


ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) helping people save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. ENERGY STAR:

  • Awards the ENERGY STAR to household products that meet strict efficiency guidelines set by EPA and DOE
  • Sets standards for ENERGY STAR qualified new homes
  • Offers tools and resources to help homeowners plan and undertake projects to reduce energy bills and improve home comfort.

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR

Many Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partners are using the resources provided by Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) to deliver energy efficiency to their communities. HPwES, a DOE program, works with local program sponsors to offer a comprehensive, whole-house approach to improving energy efficiency and comfort at home.

HPwES is managed by a local sponsor that recruits home improvement contractors who are qualified to perform comprehensive home assessments. Based on the assessment, participating contractors offer solutions to fix comfort problems and address high energy bills. Upon project completion, the contractor assesses the home's performance again to document that specified improvements were properly installed to achieve the promised energy savings. All participating contractors are subject to quality assurance reviews by the third-party sponsor to ensure that projects meet program standards and homeowners are assured of high-quality work.

Home Energy Score

The Home Energy Score is similar to a vehicle's mile-per-gallon rating, allowing residents to compare their home energy use to other homes in their neighborhood. It is a tool developed by DOE that uses a simple scale from 1 (low score; not efficient) to 10 (high score; more efficient).

PowerSaver Loan Program

The Federal Housing Authority PowerSaver Loan Program was developed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and will offer creditworthy borrowers low-cost loans to make energy-saving improvements to their homes. Backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), these new FHA PowerSaver loans will offer homeowners money to make energy-efficient improvements of their choice, including the installation of insulation, duct sealing, doors and windows, HVAC systems, water heaters, solar panels, and geothermal systems.

Residential Energy-Efficiency Research and Development

National Laboratories

DOE's national laboratories offer, among other things, extensive scientific and technical research and development expertise for building technologies and improved building practices.

Building America

DOE's Building America program is an industry-driven research program working with national laboratories and building science research teams to accelerate the development and adoption of advanced building energy technologies and practices in new and existing homes. The program works closely with industry partners to develop innovative, real-world solutions that achieve significant energy and cost savings for homeowners and builders.

Building America acts as a national residential test bed where different building system options are evaluated, designed, built, retrofitted, and vetted to ensure that requirements for energy efficiency, quality, sustainability, risk mitigation, and comfort are met. Research is conducted on individual measures and systems, test houses, and community-scale housing in order to validate the reliability, cost-effectiveness, and marketability of technologies when integrated into existing and new homes.

Integrating Energy Efficiency Into State and Local Clean Energy Initiatives

DOE Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program

DOE's Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program provides grants, technical assistance, and information tools to states, local governments, community action agencies, utilities, Indian tribes, and overseas U.S. territories for their energy programs. These programs aim to reduce market barriers to the cost effective adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Programs include:
Weatherization Assistance ProgramTribal Energy ProgramEnergy Efficiency and Conservation Block GrantsState Energy Program, and Weatherization Innovation Pilot Program.

EPA State and Local Climate and Energy Program

EPA's State and Local Climate and Energy Program provides technical assistance, analytical tools, and outreach support to state, local, and tribal governments related to clean energy policies and initiatives, including building energy efficiency. Specific assistance includes:

  • Identifying and documenting cost-effective policies and initiatives that address climate change, including those that promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, and related clean technologies.
  • Measuring and evaluating the environmental, economic, and public health benefits of climate change and clean energy initiatives.
  • Offering tools, guidance, and outreach support for assessing the options and benefits of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Fostering peer exchange opportunities for state and local officials to share information on best practices and lessons learned about innovative policies and programs.

Related Links

Better Buildings Initiative
Better Buildings Challenge