Building Eligibility

Determine if a building is eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR through the Multifamily High Rise Program by meeting the criteria outlined below.

Is the ENERGY STAR MFHR Program Right for My Building?

EPA has developed two programs to provide ENERGY STAR certification for multifamily residential1 buildings of all sizes. New construction 2 mid and high rise multifamily buildings can earn the ENERGY STAR through the Multifamily High Rise Program while units in low rise multifamily buildings can earn the ENERGY STAR through the Certified Homes Program.

Existing commercial facilities such as motels/hotels, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities3, and dormitories do not qualify under either of these programs, however, they are eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR through the EPA’s commercial and industrial programs. To learn more about how these and other existing commercial buildings can earn ENERGY STAR certification, please visit the Buildings and Plants page. To learn more about the new construction program for commercial buildings visit www.energystar.gov/DesignToEarn.

Follow the decision tree below or this flowchart PDF (91KB) to determine which program your multifamily building can use to earn the ENERGY STAR. Please note that because of their unique building characteristics, buildings with 4 or 5 stories will either fall under the MFHR Program or the Certified Homes Program depending on their mechanical systems and percentage of residential space.

Decision Tree ENERGY STAR Buildings and Plants ENERGY STAR Certified Homes ENERGY STAR Multifamily High Rise

NOTES:

1 New construction can include significant gut rehabilitations when defined as a change of use, reconstruction of a vacant structure, or when construction work requires that the building be out of service for at least 30 consecutive days.

2 The primary use of the building must be for residential purpose, i.e. the residential and residential associated common area must occupy more than 50% of the building’s occupiable square footage. A garage is not considered “occupiable”. Common area includes any spaces within the building that serves a function in support of the residential part of the building that is not part of a dwelling unit. This includes spaces used by residents such as corridors, stairs, lobbies, laundry rooms, exercise rooms, and residential recreation rooms. This also includes offices used by building management, administration or maintenance and all special use areas located in the building to serve and support the residents such as daycare facilities, gyms, dining halls, etc.

3 Long term care facilities with at least 51% of units designated as assisted living and/or skilled nursing will be able to earn the ENERGY STAR using Portfolio Manager. All other long term care facilities, such as independent senior living and group homes, can earn the ENERGY STAR in the Certified Homes or MFHR program.

4 A story includes any above grade floor with living or commercial space. An above grade story is one for which more than half of the gross surface area of the exterior walls is above grade. A floor that is 80% or more garage or other unoccupiable space is not considered a story for the purposes of this decision tree.

5 Four (4) and five (5) story buildings with in-unit heating and cooling and a central domestic hot water system where solar energy provides at least 50% of the domestic hot water needs for the residential units, will qualify through the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Program as long as all other eligibility requirements of that program are met.

6 For mixed-use buildings, exclude the retail/commercial area when determining the square footage of the “building”.