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New Guidelines for ENERGY STAR Certified New Homes

Program Document for Version 2.5 Guidelines

  • National Program Requirements for Version 2.5 PDF (109KB). This document defines the requirements for certifying a home under ENERGY STAR for New Homes Version 2.5. Version 2.5 is same as Version 3 except for several changes that will help partners successfully transition from the Version 2 to 3 guidelines.
  • December 1, 2010 Update: EPA has modified the treatment of basements as it relates to Benchmark Home Size and the Size Adjustment Factor in both Version 2.5 and Version 3 of the guidelines. Specifically:
    • Bedrooms and floor area in basements shall not be counted for the purpose of determining a home's Benchmark Home Size and Size Adjustment Factor if at least half of the basement's wall area is below grade.
    • To determine whether at least at least half of the basement wall area is below grade, use the exterior wall area from the basement floor to the bottom of the basement ceiling framing (e.g., the bottom of the joists for the floor above). Exclude the area of all common walls in the basement.
    • If, as a result of this policy, a home has zero applicable bedrooms with regard to the Benchmark Home Size determination, then the Benchmark Home Size for one bedroom shall be used.
    • Note that this change is only for the purpose of determining a home's Benchmark Home Size and Size Adjustment Factor. EPA relies upon RESNET's definition of conditioned floor area. The full conditioned floor area should be used when rating the home and determining compliance with duct leakage requirements

Program Documents for Version 3 Guidelines

  • National Program Requirements for Version 3 PDF (560KB). This document defines both the performance and prescriptive paths for certifying a home under ENERGY STAR for New Homes Version 3. See also the county-level ENERGY STAR Reference Design documents, which translate the national program requirements into county-specific requirements.
  • Inspection Checklists PDF (858KB). One requirement of the prescriptive and performance path is compliance with the four checklists contained within this document: Thermal Enclosure System Rater Checklist; HVAC System Quality Installation Rater Checklist, HVAC System Quality Installation Contractor Checklist, and the Water Management System Builder Checklist.
  • ENERGY STAR Version 3 HERS Index Target Procedure PDF (540KB). This document provides detailed instructions for determining the ENERGY STAR HERS Index Target, the highest HERS Index value that a home can achieve and still certify under the performance path of the program.
  • Revision 01 Version Tracking Document PDF (69KB). This document is a summary of the edits made to the program documents since the original release of Version 3 on April 08, 2010.
  • Estimated Cost and Savings PDF (369KB). This document includes estimates of representative incremental costs and savings for the ENERGY STAR Version 3 guidelines.

Implementation Schedule

December 1, 2010 Update: EPA has updated several important implementation details for the new ENERGY STAR for Homes guidelines:

  • EPA has delayed the implementation date for the v2.5 guidelines by three months. This change impacts the implementation timeline in several key ways (also, see chart below):
  1. Single family homes that are permitted before April 1, 2011 (prior policy was ‘before January 1, 2011’) can continue to be certified under the current v2 guidelines until July 1, 2011;
  2. Condos and apartments in multi-family buildings that are permitted before April 1, 2011 (prior policy was ‘before January 1, 2011’) can continue to be certified under the current v2 guidelines until January 1, 2012; and
  3. All homes both permitted and completed between April 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011 (prior policy was ‘between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011’) must be certified using the new v2.5 guidelines.
  4. EPA has changed the timeline and criteria for multifamily homes that are financed through low-income housing agencies. See note 4, below, for additional details.

ENERGY STAR New Homes Version 3 Implementation Schedule

New Homes Version 3 Implementation Schedule chart

This graphic illustrates the implementation timeline for the ENERGY STAR New Homes Version 3 guidelines, which generally occurs beginning 1/1/2012. The implementation date is determined using the house type (single-family versus multi-family), permit date, and certification date of a home. Single-family homes with permit dates prior to 4/1/2011 and completion dates before 7/1/2011 may certify under Version 2 of the guidelines or, at the builder's discretion, under Version 2.5. Single-family homes with permit dates prior to 4/1/2011 and completion dates between 7/1/2011 and 12/31/2011 must certify under Version 2.5 of the guidelines. Multi-family buildings with permit dates prior to 4/1/2011 and completion dates before 1/1/2012 may certify under Version 2 of the guidelines or, at the builder's discretion, under Version 2.5. All homes that are both permitted and completed between 4/1/2011 and 12/31/2011 must certify under Version 2.5 of the guidelines. All homes with completion dates beyond 1/1/2012 must certify under Version 3 of the guidelines regardless of the permit date. See the Implementation Schedule Notes, below, for further details.

Implementation Schedule Notes

  1. The completion date is the date of the final inspection for the home (i.e., the date at which all of the field inspections are complete for the home, not necessarily the date when the label is issued).
  2. The rater may define the ‘permit date’ as either the date that the permit was issued or the date of the contract on the home.
  3. Single-family homes include detached homes, townhomes, rowhomes, duplexes, and triplexes.
  4. Only condos and apartments in multi-family buildings may use this extended implementation schedule. Further, all multi-family homes financed through low-income housing agencies may earn the ENERGY STAR under the last iteration of the guidelines, Version 2, until January 1, 2013 as long as the application for funding for those homes was received by the low-income housing agency before April 1, 2011.  If the application for funding is received between April 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011, then the homes must earn the ENERGY STAR under the Version 2.5 guidelines if completed before January 1, 2012, and under the Version 3 guidelines if completed after January 1, 2012.  If the application for funding is received on or after January 1, 2012 then the homes must earn the ENERGY STAR under the Version 3 guidelines.
  5. Homes can be certified under the Version 2.5 guidelines in advance of the dates above at the discretion of builders and their raters. However, homes may not be certified as Version 3 until January 1, 2012.
  6. Where a utility or state sponsor is mandating or incentivizing early adoption of Version 3 in their area, EPA will allow the labeling of ENERGY STAR Version 3 prior to January 1, 2012 on a pilot program basis, provided that the sponsor meets certain requirements.

Comment Period Documents

Visit the Comment Period Documents page to see documents related to the First and Second Comment Periods.

Webinars

Sam Rashkin, R.A., National Director of ENERGY STAR for Homes, explained the evolution of ENERGY STAR for Homes and the value of the new guidelines. Watch a recorded video of the webinar from November 18, 2009.

Sam Rashkin discusses the new ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Program requirements. This training consists of three modules that discuss the key systems that make up the Version 3 specifications.

Questions

Please contact us with any questions about the proposed ENERGY STAR Version 3 guidelines.

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