ENERGY STAR for Homes Version 2.5 Guidelines

Version 2.5 is a transitional specification in which homes must follow the Version 3 requirements, with some exceptions.

Should I use the Version 2.5 guidelines?

  • All homes that are permitted between April 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011 and have final inspection dates before July 1, 2012 must be certified under Version 2.5.
  • Homes that are permitted before April 1, 2011 must be certified under Version 2.5 if they have final inspection dates between January 1, 2012 and July 1, 2012.
  • If the application for financing for multi-family homes financed through low-income housing agencies 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 July 1, 2012.

Additionally, homes that are eligible for qualification under Version 2 can, at the builder's discretion, earn the label under Version 2.5. For more information about the transition from Version 2 to Version 3 guidelines, see the Transition Timeline.

How to Qualify a Home

Select the core energy efficiency measures

There are two paths to qualify a home to earn the ENERGY STAR. The Prescriptive Path is based on a predefined package of improvements, while the Performance Path is based on a customized package of upgrades. The National Program Requirements define the core energy efficiency specifications for both the Prescriptive and Performance Paths. 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. The National Program Requirements for Version 2.5 modify and should be read along with the National Program Requirements for Version 3.

Complete inspection checklists

Both the Performance and Prescriptive Paths require completion of four inspection checklists:

  • Thermal Enclosure System Rater Checklist
  • HVAC System Quality Installation Rater Checklist
  • HVAC System Quality Installation Contractor Checklist
  • Water Management System Builder Checklist

These checklists include building science practices that promote improved comfort, indoor air quality, and durability in certified homes. The Inspection Checklists document contains the four checklists that every home certified under Version 3 must complete. See the Inspection Checklists PDF (858KB) (Revision 07).

While the inspection checklists must be completed under Version 2.5, certain allowances are made that will help partners successfully transition from the Version 2 to 3 guidelines. To see these allowances, see the National Program Requirements for Version 2.5 PDF (100KB)(Revision 05).

Technical guides for the ENERGY STAR Inspection Checklists are available at the Building America Solutions Center, created by the U.S. Department of Energy. These free guides replace EPA's Inspection Checklist Field Guidebooks and provide a wealth of building science and energy-efficiency information. They are intended to be aligned with, and used as a supplemental resource to, the Version 3 guidelines but do not represent the official policy of the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Program. Where questions arise, please contact

Sampling Protocol

'Sampling' allows builders who have demonstrated an ability to consistently meet the ENERGY STAR guidelines to minimize production interruptions and verification costs. For more information, see Chapter 6 of the Mortgage Industry National Home Energy Rating Standards.

Policy Changes and Clarifications

Because the Version 2.5 guidelines are the same as the Version 3 guidelines with the allowances and exceptions noted in the National Program Requirements for Version 2.5, changes to the Version 3 guidelines affect Version 2.5.

EPA periodically makes policy changes and clarifications, typically in response to a unique situation within a particular climate zone, and shares frequently–asked questions. See Recent Policy Changes and Clarifications.

Regional Specifications

County–level ENERGY STAR Reference Design documents and regional specifications have been developed for states with advanced codes or unique climate considerations. See Regional Specifications.

Sector–Specific Policies

EPA has developed separate verification guidance for Modular and Manufactured homes. Learn More

Training Requirements and Resources

  • Version 2.5 Training PDF (450KB) – This presentation explains how to qualify homes under Version 2.5.
  • Because EPA envisions Version 2.5 as an opportunity for partners to become familiar with the requirements of the Version 3 guidelines, partners will find EPA's training resources for Version 3 helpful as they qualify homes under Version 2.5. The Version 3 Training Requirements and Resources page also explains the training and credentialing requirements that builders, raters, and HVAC contractors will need to meet before qualifying homes under Version 3. Learn More

Version 3 Development Archives

EPA has archived documents related to the development of the Version 3 guidelines, including the draft specifications, public comments, and EPA responses. View the Archives.