Building Eligibility

Determine if your building’s units are eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR through the Multifamily High Rise Program.

Is the ENERGY STAR MFHR Program Right for My Building?

EPA has developed two programs to provide ENERGY STAR certification for units in multifamily residential1 buildings. New construction 2 mid and high rise multifamily building units 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.

As of September 16, 2014, multifamily buildings, with at least 1 year of actual, whole building energy use data are eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR using EPA’s Portfolio Manager. Portfolio Manager compares a multifamily building’s measured performance against a database of similar buildings to generate a 1-100 score. Buildings that score 75 or above earn the ENERGY STAR. For more information on how multifamily buildings can earn the ENERGY STAR with Portfolio Manager please visit the eligibility criteria for the 1-100 ENERGY STAR score page.

New construction commercial facilities such as motels/hotels, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities3, and dormitories do not qualify under either the Multifamily High Rise or Certified Homes programs, however, they may be 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 (194KB) 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.

EPA ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction Program Decision Tree, Version 1.2

Decision Tree footnote 1 footnote 2 ENERGY STAR Buildings and Plants footnote 3 footnote 3 footnote 4 footnote 5 footnote 5 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 occupiable5 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 day-care facilities, gyms, dining halls, etc.

3 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.

4 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.

5 Per ASHRAE 62.2-2010, occupiable space is any enclosed space inside the pressure boundary and intended for human activities or continual human occupancy, including, but not limited to, areas used for living, sleeping, dining, and cooking, toilets, closets, halls, storage and utility areas, and laundry areas.

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