Program Requirements

For units in multifamily mid and high rise buildings to earn the ENERGY STAR, a new or substantially rehabilitated mid or high rise multifamily building must be designed to be at least 15% more energy efficient than a building built to ASHRAE Standard 90.1–2007. *Note: See below for performance target updates in states with more advanced building codes such as ASHRAE90.1-2010/2012 IECC.

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 to earn the ENERGY STAR.

Building performance is as much a function of proper building management as the energy conservation measures incorporated into the structure. Therefore, after units in a building earn the ENERGY STAR, the developer/owner must commit to benchmarking the 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 available to meet ENERGY STAR’s MFHR requirements:

  • ENERGY STAR MFHR Performance Path PDF (376KB): 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. (See notes below regarding states using ASHRAE90.1-2010/2012 IECC).
  • ENERGY STAR MFHR Prescriptive Path PDF (197KB): An approach where a developer constructs the project using a prescribed set of construction specifications that meet program requirements.
  • California ENERGY STAR MFHR Performance Path PDF (121KB) For projects in California, EPA has modified its National Performance Path to align with the 2013 Title 24 Standards, instead of ASHRAE 90.1.

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 earning the 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.

Performance Targets in States using ASHRAE90.1-2010/2012 IECC

To ensure that ENERGY STAR remains a mark of distinction and provides meaningful energy savings above code, MFHR projects pursuing ENERGY STAR certification in states that have adopted ASHRAE 90.1-2010/2012 IECC will be required to meet a Performance Target of 15% over ASHRAE 90.1-2010, rather than the current requirement of 15% over ASHRAE 90.1-2007.

Since EPA has not yet developed a Prescriptive Path based on ASHRAE 90.1-2010, only the ENERGY STAR MFHR Performance Path certification option will be available for projects in these states.

To provide a period of transition, all ENERGY STAR MFHR Project Applications submitted to EPA by December 31, 2014, must meet the current performance target of 15% savings over 90.1-2007, regardless of the current or future code for their state.

All Project Applications submitted on or after January 1, 2015 must pursue a Performance Target of 15% better than the state energy code under which the building is permitted. Note that the code in place at the time of the project’s ENERGY STAR application may be ASHRAE 90.1-2007, but the code at the time of permit could have changed to ASHRAE 90.1-2010. In this case, the project would need to meet a Performance Target of 15% over ASHRAE 90.1-2010 since this was the code in place at the time of permit.

  • Example 1: An application submitted in August 2014 in Maryland (a state that has already adopted ASHRAE 90.1-2010) would require 15% savings over 90.1-2007, using the transition period exemption.
  • Example 2: An application submitted in February 2015 in Maryland (already under ASHRAE 90.1-2010) would require 15% savings over 90.1-2010, since the transition period deadline has passed.
  • Example 3: An application submitted in March 2015 in Texas at a time when the prevailing code version is ASHRAE 90.1-2007/2009 IECC. The team targets 15% savings relative to ASHRAE 90.1-2007. The project experiences delays in permitting, and by the time the permit is received, the state has adopted ASHRAE 90.1-2010/2012 IECC. To earn the ENERGY STAR label, the project must now demonstrate 15% savings relative to 90.1-2010.

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 (201KB) – 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 November 15, 2014. Licensed Professionals should review this document for clarifications and updates to the Program Requirements.

Revisions to Program Documents