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ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes (Version 3/3.1, Revision 11)

To certify a home to ENERGY STAR, the builder’s home must meet the mandatory requirements listed in the five checklists below and achieve a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score that is better than the HERS Target score for a Reference Design Home.

A Reference Design Home is a theoretical home built to the requirements shown in the ENERGY STAR National Program Requirements, Exhibit 1: ENERGY STAR Reference Design Home, in the builder’s climate zone. When configuring the actual home, the builder does not need to follow the prescribed features shown in Exhibit 1 but has the flexibility to select a custom combination of such measures as heating, cooling, and ventilation equipment and insulation types, so long as the house design meets or exceeds (is lower than) the Target score. The house must also meet all of the mandatory requirements shown in Exhibit 2 of the National Program Requirements; these mandatory requirements consist of five checklists described below. The builder (or designer) uses a RESNET-accredited Home Energy Rating software program to determine the ENERGY STAR HERS Target Index and uses the same software to determine if the desired home design meets or exceeds (is lower than) that Target score.

See the ENERGY STAR National Program Requirements webpage for detailed information about the certification process, including home eligibility and partnership requirements, criteria, and exceptions. Note that some states have adopted Version 3.1 or region-specific versions of ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes. See this webpage for a current table of versions required for each U.S. state and territory and adoption dates based on home permit dates. The Home Energy Rater certifying the home may define the “permit date” as either the date that the permit was issued or the date of the contract on the home. In cases where permit or contract dates are not available, Providers have the discretion to estimate permit dates based on other construction schedule factors.

After construction, a Home Energy Rater will verify that the completed home has met the HERS Target score as well as the mandatory requirements of the five checklists:

  • National HVAC Design Report –This checklist is completed by the HVAC Designer and provided to the Rater.
  • National Rater Design Review Checklist - The Rater conducts the design review and fills out this checklist after running the home energy rating software to verify that the home design meets the HERS Target.
  • National Water Management System Builder Requirements –This list does not need to be turned in, but the Builder must ensure that each certified home is constructed to meet these requirements.
  • National Rater Field Checklist – The Rater completes this Checklist during two site visits – one prior to drywall installation and the other after construction is complete.
  • National HVAC Commissioning Checklist – The HVAC installer fills out this checklist and retains it, along with a copy of the corresponding HVAC Design Report. One checklist is completed for each system installed. The HVAC installer must provide copies of the checklist to the Builder, the Rater responsible for certifying the home, and the HVAC oversight organization, upon request.

The National Rater Field checklists and the National Water Management System Builder Requirements provided below include links to installation guides for each measure.