(855) 321-7473

M-F 9am-5pm Eastern

Indoor airPLUS Header

What is Indoor airPlus Certification?

By Stacey Freed Rise Writer
Jan 8, 2021

Indoor airPLUS (IAP) is a voluntary partnership and labeling program that helps home builders improve indoor air quality in new home construction. The program requires certain construction practices and product specifications. These steps help minimize exposure to airborne pollutants and contaminants. 

In 2008, the US Environmental Protection Agency developed IAP as an indoor air quality label for healthy, newly constructed homes as an indoor air quality add-on to ENERGY STAR Certified Homes. IAP later became an independent program that builds on ENERGY STAR's energy-efficient features. IAP requires that program as a prerequisite. Now, the Department of Energy's Zero Energy Ready Homes program requires IAP as part of its label, as does Passive House

Other programs such as LEED and National Green Building Standard offer points for their projects that earn Indoor airPLUS.

EPA Indoor airPLUS Logo

What Are the Benefits of Indoor airPLUS Certification?

The label helps IAP's builder partners stand out in a market where many builders advertise their skill in building energy-efficient, sustainable homes. Many builders advertise their homes as energy-efficient - which is true with most homes built to the current energy codes. But, homebuyers also want healthy homes – interest is growing rapidly since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. IAP homes are healthy and energy-efficient, enabling IAP builders to be competitive with health-conscious and energy-conscious buyers.

IAP is the only indoor air quality label backed by the EPA and verified by a third party. Industry professionals believe this verification gives consumers confidence. Confidence that their new home is supported by the best science available to improve indoor air quality, in contrast to other homes that don't carry the label. 

Air Filter

What Are Indoor airPLUS' Main Areas of Focus? 

IAP construction specifications focus on the following key areas: 

  • Moisture management to help keep mold, pest residue, and common allergens from entering a home
  • HVAC systems that are appropriately sized and include improved ductwork and filtration and whole-house spot ventilation to remove indoor pollutants
  • Radon-resistant construction systems in areas with high radon potential
  • Building materials that have fewer chemicals, which are stored on-site in protected areas to keep them from getting damaged by weather
  • Preventing pest infestation by sealing cracks and caulking or screening where pests may enter a home
  • Combustion pollutants protection with the installation of heating equipment that can't spill combustion gases into a home and preventing pollutants in the garage from entering the house 
Colorful Townhouses

What Types of Homes Can Get Certified as Indoor airPLUS Homes? 

Currently, the following site-built or modular homes are eligible to earn the IAP label:

  • Detached dwelling units (single-family homes)
  • Townhouses
  • Dwelling units in multifamily or mixed-use buildings with five stories or fewer above grade

According to the EPA website, "The program will continue to explore specifications to expand the Indoor airPLUS label to include high rise buildings as soon as feasible." Several key topics for high-rise buildings need to be addressed. These include ventilation, dehumidification, compartmentalization, and moisture management.

Fulton Homes Award
Indoor airPLUS Award. Photo Credit: Fulton Homes

How Many Homes Have Been Indoor airPLUS Certified?

To date, IAP has labeled more than 27,000 homes, and the EPA anticipates labeling over 30,000 homes by early 2021.

When Is the Expected Update to the Original Indoor airPLUS Specifications?

Version 2 of IAP is out for public comment. The EPA is developing specifications to bring the label into existing homes. The comment period for the proposed Version 2 of the Indoor airPLUS New Construction Specifications began on December 18, 2020, and goes through March 17, 2021.

EPA also is considering releasing a new partnership category called Advocate Partners. These are manufacturers or service providers such as radon service providers, who contribute to helping the builder meet one of IAP's specific requirements in its construction specification. 

Map of Western States

Where Is the Indoor airPLUS Certification Adopted the Most?

There has been widespread adoption throughout the United States. Still, the Southwest and Western states seem to be at the forefront of the healthy homes movement.

Is the Indoor airPLUS Certification Accepted Only in the US?

Indoor airPLUS is recognized only in the US and its territories. There is no similar program in Canada, although Canadian builders have reached out to the EPA to implement an IAP program or something similar. As of now, there are no plans for US EPA to make Indoor airPLUS available in Canada.


What Are the Steps to Indoor airPLUS Certification? 

Builders and HERS Raters partner with IAP to build and verify the homes, but people and businesses are not certified by EPA. The houses are Indoor airPLUS qualified, but the EPA is looking into changing that in version 2 of Indoor airPLUS Certified Homes.

EPA has a verification checklist for new homes, found here. First, the builder must build the dwelling to ENERGY STAR standards. The checklist includes sections on moisture control, radon, pests, HVAC systems, combustion pollutants, and materials.

Each section has a list of requirements. For example, in the HVAC section, checklist items include "equipment selected to keep relative humidity to <60% in 'warm-humid' climates"; "no air-handling equipment or ductwork installed in [the] garage"; "duct systems protected from construction debris AND no building cavities used as air supplies or returns."

Both the builder and the Rater who does the verification must sign off on the verification list.  

How Much Does Indoor airPLUS Certification Cost?

It doesn't cost anything for a builder or Rater to partner with EPA to participate in the program. Also, EPA provides advertising materials at no cost to partners. 

There are some costs for homes to earn the label. First, the house must undergo verification by an independent Rater who will charge for their services. And, the cost of building an Indoor airPLUS home depends on many factors. These include whether it's built to minimum code and what version of the code has been adopted by the home's jurisdiction; if it's already being built as an ENERGY STAR home; and in what climate and radon zone the home is located. Homes in hot, humid climates will likely cost more to build because of added moisture protection. But, since moisture is detrimental to indoor air quality, homes located in hot, humid climates can be the ones that need Indoor airPLUS the most.

Home Value Increase

What Is the Projected Value of Indoor airPLUS Certification?

There is no exact way to quantify the value of the IAP certification for new homes. But, many building professionals, such as Fulton Homes in Tempe, Arizona, promote the program in their advertising and marketing materials. They do this to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

From a consumer perspective, there is no data regarding the value of homes that are IAP certified. But a 2017 study from the University of Texas at Austin and the US Green Building Council (USGBC) found that new homes in the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area "built to meet green building standards like LEED … are worth an average of $25,000 more in resale value than conventional homes."

Relaxing at Home

The recent pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions have required people to remain in their homes for work, school, and entertainment. So, the home and building industries are reporting increased interest in healthy homes, especially with indoor air quality. A home with an IAP certification may well prove to increase home resale values.

 "Before publishing, this article was reviewed for accuracy by the EPA's Press Office."

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-11-26T16:35:02+0000
Stacey Freed

Article by:

Stacey Freed

I’m constantly on the hunt for a way to hike and write simultaneously.