Program Requirements

To earn the ENERGY STAR, a new or substantially rehabilitated multifamily mid and high rise building must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by EPA, making them designed to be at least 15% more energy efficient than MFHR buildings built to ASHRAE Standard 90.1–2007.

Is the ENERGY STAR MFHR Program Right for My Building?

To ensure that a building meets the ENERGY STAR requirements, the developer of a project participating in the program must provide EPA or its designated agent with program specific submittals. These submittals, which must be validated by a Licensed Professional are used to demonstrate that the program’s requirements have been met, that all prerequisites are included, and that each energy conservation measure is installed to specification. Please visit the Certification Process page for more information on how buildings earn the ENERGY STAR.

Although an eligible building may qualify for the ENERGY STAR by meeting the requirements of the Performance Path or the Prescriptive Path, building performance is as much a function of proper building management as the energy conservation measures incorporated into the structure. Therefore, after the project qualifies for the ENERGY STAR, the developer/owner must commit to benchmarking their building in Portfolio Manager for a period of two years. For more information please see the Benchmarking page.

Performance vs. Prescriptive Path

There are two paths to certify a multifamily mid or high rise project to meet ENERGY STAR’s requirements for energy efficiency. 

  • ENERGY STAR MFHR Performance Path PDF (157KB): An approach to meeting program requirements where software is used to model the building’s energy use to verify that it meets the Performance Target.
  • ENERGY STAR MFHR Prescriptive Path PDF (278KB): An approach where a developer constructs the project using a prescribed set of construction specifications that meet program requirements.

Please note that although the Performance Path allows for some trade-offs when selecting energy conservation measures for meeting the Performance Target, the program has set some minimum prerequisites for specific energy efficiency components. Although the prerequisite measures can be used to help the project meet the Performance Target, failure to meet the prerequisite requirements will result in the project not being qualified as ENERGY STAR. The prerequisites are found within the ENERGY STAR MFHR Performance Path document.

Both the Prescriptive Path and Performance Path require that partners comply with mandatory Testing & Verification Protocols available on the Guidance Documents page. All program documentation for both paths is available for download in a .zip file for convenience.

Policy Changes and Clarifications

EPA periodically revises the MFHR program requirements in response to partner questions and evolving standards (e.g., ENERGY STAR product specifications, NAECA standards, model energy codes). The purpose of this revision process is to be responsive to partner questions, to disseminate policy changes in a consistent manner, and to adapt the program as needed for success. Revisions will be made on an as needed basis; however, it is expected that the guidelines will not be updated more frequently than every six months.

  • Current Policy Record PDF (183KB) – This document contains policy issues that were received and have been resolved since the last revision of the program documents, sometimes resulting in modifications that will be incorporated into the next version of the program documents. It also contains unresolved issues pending resolution by EPA. This document was last updated on September 6, 2013. Licensed Professionals should review this document for clarifications and updates to the program requirements.

Revisions to Program Documents