March 23, 2023
BetterBuiltNW Ask the Expert: Benefits of Home Certification Program
Home certification programs have existed for decades and builders in the Northwest can participate in more than ten regional and national programs. These certification platforms offer real benefits to participants, including technical support, brand recognition, environmentally responsible building practices and collaboration with utility incentive programs. Many builders in the Northwest, motivated by incentives from utilities or to distinguish themselves in the market, often pursue two or more certifications.
Over the past year, renewed interest in home certification programs was prompted by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the updated framework for the 45L tax credit, which has been extended through 2032. The base level tax credit for homes acquired on or after Jan. 1, 2023, is specifically tied to the following certifications:
- ENERGY STAR® certification for single-family homes ($2,500 per home)
- U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Homes Program ($5,000 per home)
Builders who certify new homes can take advantage of these higher tax credit incentives and additional resources the programs provide, including:
- Leveraging rater/verifier expertise: Certification programs often require working with a program-certified rater or verifier to meet requirements. The role of a rater or verifier ensures quality assurance and real savings compared to a home built to code that can provide a market advantage. In addition to providing technical support and energy efficiency design advice, experienced raters and verifiers are well-versed in many certification and utility incentive programs. They can help builders navigate working with multiple programs and tax credits. Find raters/verifiers on the BetterBuiltNW Find a Professional page.
- Incorporating holistic sustainability with energy efficiency: Home certification programs like ENERGY STAR and DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes often focus on energy efficiency. They can be paired with other home certification programs that go beyond energy and prioritize sustainable building practices related to site, materials, water, health, and indoor air quality.
If you are a builder, rater, verifier or HVAC contractor experienced in one of these home certification programs, set yourself apart from the competition by being listed in the BetterBuiltNW Find a Professional page. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here.
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