2021 Integrated Home Competition

The Integrated Home Competition provides manufacturers the opportunity to have their high quality and innovative designs endorsed in the market, contribute to the greater energy efficiency movement, and gain exposure for their brands and products among industry leaders and consumers alike. In particular, the exceptional products identified by the Judging Panel of experts are heavily promoted through the Integrated Home Competition campaign for a full calendar year.

The 2021 Competition is accepting submissions from April 19, 2021 through June 11, 2021. This year, the competition seeks connected thermostats, HVAC equipment (gas and electric), water heaters (gas and electric), combination space and water heating (“combi”) units, pool pumps, ceiling fans, lighting and lighting controls, window attachments, plug load controls, and other connected home devices.

The Integrated Home Competition is organized by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the American Lighting Association (ALA), the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) and UL.

Sign up here to receive updates and announcements about the 2021 competition.

Additional Competition Information


The annual Lighting for Tomorrow competition was created in 2002 to recognize the best decorative, energy efficient lighting fixtures in the market. Since its inception, Lighting for Tomorrow has encouraged manufacturers to develop well designed, energy efficient lighting products with a specific goal of increasing the availability and market adoption of ENERGY STAR® certified residential lighting products.

In 2017, Sponsors realized that the lighting market had been transformed to center highly efficient lighting technologies and decided to turn their attention to a new challenge: connected lighting. A 2018 workshop brought together nearly 40 individuals from 25 different organizations, including utility program administrators and regional energy efficiency groups; connected home, home energy management, and Internet of things (IoT) strategy experts; lamp, fixture, and lighting control manufacturers; designers, vendors, and consultants; and publication and research entities. They identified the key opportunities of not just connected lighting, but all connected products: interoperability, reliability, and simplicity.

The result of this workshop was the creation of an expanded Lighting & Homes for Tomorrow competition that launched in 2020. This iteration of the competition recognized nine excellent connected home products with the potential to deliver on those opportunities.

To recognize a larger suite of available integrated home products and opportunities for consumers, the Integrated Home Competition is a continued evolution of the Lighting & Homes for Tomorrow platform with an enlarged focus to include larger residential loads and a full suite of offerings that contribute to an integrated home.


The Integrated Home Competition kicked off on April 19, 2021. Key dates to note are:

  • June 11: Submissions due
  • June-July: Entry screening by the Advisory Committee
  • August: Finalists notified
  • Early September: Product shipment deadline
  • Late September: Live judging event
  • October: Winners notified; cybersecurity review
  • November – January: Awards Ceremonies

Please download the Competition Timeline and relevant Entrant Guide from the Enter Now page for more detailed information.


The diverse judging panel will include experts from fields such as the integrated home, specific product areas, home builders, sales experts, and more. The judges will score each entry according to the following criteria:

Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction


Load Management


Data Sharing


Value for Money

Value Proposition Messaging

Ease of Installation, Set Up, and Use


Innovation in Design Aesthetics / Form Factor

Innovation in Engineering

Quality (including appearance and style, as applicable)

In addition to the above criteria, the Judging Panel may award bonus points for entries exhibiting other desirable characteristics such as resiliency, future proofing, accessible design, and field serviceability. All entrants will receive feedback from the Integrated Home Competition Advisory Committee after the screening process or from the Judging Panel following the live evaluation.

Download the Entrant Guides from the Enter Now page to learn more about the specific judging criteria and desired capabilities.


Winners will be awarded at relevant industry events, including those listed below. Promotion of products will occur at additional events throughout the calendar year. We are closely monitoring industry events and ability to travel and will make updates to the promotion of winning products as applicable.

AERC Fall Meeting, November 10, 2021, Virtual – Window Attachment Awards

International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo, November 16-18, 2021, Dallas TX Pool Pump Awards

HARDI Annual Conference, December 4-7, 2021, Palm Desert CA – Heating and Cooling Awards (including water heating)

CEE Awards Webinar, December 8, 2021, Virtual – All categories

Lightovation: Dallas International Lighting Show, January 6-9, 2022, Dallas TX – Lighting, Lighting Control, Ceiling Fan, and Plug Load Control Awards

AHR Expo, January 31-February 2, 2022, Las Vegas NV – Heating and Cooling

RESNET Annual Conference, February 21-23, 2022, Austin TX – All Categories

ACEEE Hot Water Forum, March 21-23, Atlanta GA – Water Heating

National Home Performance Conference, April 11-14, 2022, Nashville TN – All Categories

Winners will also be promoted through webinars, press releases to both consumer and trade publications and among CEE members, the Integrated Home Competition website, CEE Industry Partners Meeting, and materials at key industry events. In addition, CEE member efficiency program administrators may choose to recommend winning entries to their customers and contractors or consider pilot programs.

Submission Categories

Connected Heating & Cooling Equipment
Connected Water Heating
Connected Combination Space and Water Heating
Connected Thermostats
Connected Pool Pumps
Connected Lighting and Lighting Controls
Connected Windows and Window Attachments
Connected Ceiling Fans
Connected Plug Load Controls
Open Category

Frequently Asked



Are chips and other product components eligible?

It is strongly encouraged that any unique or innovative components be integrated into a product and submitted in partnership with a manufacturer. The Competition is happy to recognize both parties if the product is selected to receive an award. If this cannot be arranged, please contact the Competition organizers to discuss.

Are battery powered or dual-powered products eligible?

Entries should be wired products. Wired products with a battery backup are allowed and encouraged.

Are commercial products eligible?

No. Product entries must be intended for primarily residential applications, which could include multi-family and hospitality.

Does my product already have to be ENERGY STAR® certified to enter?

No. Products are expected to demonstrate energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions reduction consummate with the functionality provided. Those that meet CEE or ENERGY STAR® efficiency criteria, as applicable, are preferred.

Does my product have to be manufactured in the U.S.?

No, but products must be sold directly into the U.S. and Canadian markets.

My connected submission has multiple components (i.e. product, hub, app, interface). Do I need a separate entry number for each component?

No, any components that are necessary to access the connected functionality of the product should be submitted together under a single entry number.

For example, if you have an HVAC system that requires a proprietary connected thermostat to access the product remotely, or a window attachment that requires a hub to access key functionality, then you should submit the product (in this case, the HVAC equipment or window attachment) and the additional component (in this case, the thermostat or hub) as the same entry. Please contact for help understanding the entry process.

I have a different connected product – is it eligible for the open category?

Innovative connected products are encouraged to enter the open category. Please contact the Competition organizers at to discuss the possibility of judging your product.

Submission Process

Is there a fee to enter?

No, the Integrated Home Competition does not charge for product entry. The only cost associated with entering the competition is shipping products to and from the judging location, if selected as a finalist in an applicable category.

How many products can be submitted per company?

There is no limit on the number of entries per company, but please note that the request for a submission form only allows ten submissions per page. If you would like to submit more than ten products, an additional request form is required.

What should I do if I have a product family or system that I am interested in submitting?

The Competition recommends that a manufacturer select one or two products as a representative for a product family and submit them individually along with a mention that the product is part of a larger family within the product description in the submission form. Manufacturers are also invited to submit images of other products within the family as well as marketing materials.

If you are submitting multiple products packaged and intended to be used together, please contact us at 

What type of information is required to submit?

Guidance for the competition is posted on the Enter Now page.

What is the difference between requesting a submission form and the submission form?

The Request a Submission Form assigns entrants with individual entry numbers, as well as provides the Competition organizers an overview of the number of expected entries; it is intended to be easy to complete and includes details such as entry category, manufacturer name, and product name.

After completing the Request for a Submission Form, entrants will receive an individualized link to the Submission Form for each entry, which includes more detailed product performance information and product descriptions for the judges to review.

What is meant by ‘field serviceable’?

Field serviceable means that if a component of the product fails it could be easily replaced by the consumer or technician. For example, light fixtures using light engines that are easily accessible and could be swapped out would be considered “field serviceable.” An alternative would be inseparable luminaires that would require the entire product to be replaced if a component should fail or luminaires that would need to be shipped back to the manufacturers for replacement parts.

What are the supporting documents? Are they required?

The Competition requires the submission of installation instructions, marketing materials (product package, POP signage, and advertisements), and one product photo to support product identification during the installation and judging process. Additional supporting documents can include optional items such as additional product photos and test reports. Please see the Shipping and Supporting Documents sections for more information.

What test reports are required?

Laboratory reports for energy performance and demand response functionality (if available and applicable) are only required for products selected as winners by the judging panel. However, if these reports are available, it is strongly recommended that they be submitted as part of the submission process. At the very least, we ask all entrants to indicate whether or not products have already completed this testing via an EPA recognized laboratory for energy consumption (or provide an AERC certification report for window attachments) in the Submission Form.

How does the screening process work?

The Advisory Committee will review submissions to identify the most promising candidates for further assessment based on the evaluation criteria. All entrants will be notified of their results. Finalists will move on to in-person evaluation by a panel of experts.

Shipping Entries

When do I need to ship my entry?

Shipping is not required for all entries or product categories. All entrants will be notified in August if their entry was selected as a Finalist by the Advisory Committee. Finalists submitting large load products (HVAC, combis, water heaters, and pool pumps) will not be expected to ship their entry. See the Competition Timeline and Entrant Guides for more information.

What do I need to include with my shipment?

Finalists will be provided with a complete list of instructions for shipping.

Are prototypes okay?

Yes, prototypes or production-quality products are acceptable. Paper designs, computer renderings, or product photographs may be submitted as supplementary material, but at least one working sample must be submitted in fully operable condition (for all product categories). Connected functionality must be available.

What UL is able to provide to install and what will need to be provided by the manufacturer for installation?

The manufacturer should provide all necessary components for installation along with the complete installation instructions. Products should arrive as they are intended to be received by the consumer. In addition, adapters should be sent for uncommon base types or configurations.

Can I ship multiple products in one box?

Yes. However, each individual product must be clearly marked with the entry number. The outside of the box should also include ALL the entry numbers of the products within.

How does return shipping work?

When you ship your products, please indicate how you would like your shipment returned, whether by including a return shipping label, providing an account number for billing to recipient, or by indicating that you do not need the product sample returned. A Competition Agreement Form will be provided and should be shipped along with your product(s).


Do finalists have to meet ENERGY STAR® to receive an award?

No. Products are expected to demonstrate energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions reduction consummate with the functionality provided. Winners are expected to submit laboratory energy reports if selected. See the individual product criteria for more information.

What will winners need to provide?

Winners must provide high resolution photos (standalone and application shots), laboratory energy reports, completed Integrated Home Competition cybersecurity questionnaire, cybersecurity certification if applicable, ENERGY STAR® certification status if applicable, consumer-facing product description, and product availability information.

When can awards be announced publicly?

Awards can be announced publicly following the formal awards ceremony for each product category. Date and location of these conferences vary by year, but will be communicated to winners. Winners are invited to attend the ceremony portion of the conference to receive their award.

What do the winners get?

Winners receive a year of free promotion by the Integrated Home Competition. Winners are featured on the Competition website, a Competition press release, and other promotional materials. Winners are recognized at an award ceremony at a relevant industry event, receive an award, along with files of promotional materials that display their winning products, as well as access to the Competition logo to develop additional promotional materials. Winning products are featured in several relevant industry publications. Products are promoted at relevant tradeshows, such as Lightovation, the AHR Expo, and AERC Fall Meeting through product displays.


Are holiday lights, lighted signs, or night lights eligible?

No, entries must be intended for general illumination.

Are colored LED products eligible?

No, entries must be white light products intended for general illumination. This includes color tuning in white light ranges as well as warm to dim products, but excludes colored or mood lighting.

After winners are notified, when are the photometric reports due?

If photometric reports weren’t provided as part of the final submission process, they should be completed and submitted to the Competition as soon as possible in order to determine whether award eligibility. If a manufacturer is unable to furnish a report in three weeks, it may jeopardize receipt of their award.

HVAC and Thermostats

Do I need to submit a thermostat/controller if I am submitting an HVAC product?

If a connected thermostat or other controller is necessary to access the connected functionality of the HVAC product, then you should plan to submit a thermostat as part of your HVAC entry (without a separate entry number).



Air Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) Logo
American Lighting Association (ALA) logo

Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE)

UL logo

Attachments Energy Rating Council (AERC) logo

Building Performance Institute

Commonwealth Edison
Consumers Energy logo
DTE Energy
Duke Energy Logo
Efficiency Vermont

Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) logo


Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) logo

National Grid
Natural Resources Canada / Ressources Naturelles Canada (NRCan) logo


National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) logo
Parks Associates
Pacific Gas and Electric Company


Silicon Valley Power logo

Southern California Edison logo

United Illuminating (UI) logo