ENERGY STAR HVAC Design Report: 4. Heating & Cooling Equipment Selection


When certifying a home to ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, Version 3.0/3.1 (Rev. 08), the HVAC Designer completes the HVAC Design Report Checklist and provides it to the Rater to document the types of mechanical ventilation, heating, and cooling equipment specified for the home, and the heating and cooling calculation inputs and loads.

This page shows the checklist requirement for Section 4. Heating and Cooling Equipment Selection and applicable footnotes.

For information on installing HVAC equipment, see installation guides linked to the HVAC section of the Rater Field Checklist.

For information on selecting heating and cooling equipment, see the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s ANSI/ACCA 5 QI - 2015 HVAC Quality Installation Specification and ACCA Manual S - Residential Equipment Selection, second edition.

Information guide describing section 4 requirements in Version 3.0/3.1 Rev. 08 ENERGY STAR HVAC Design Report Checklist.
Checklist revised  09/15/2015.  Required for homes permitted starting 07/01/2016.18



1. This report is designed to meet ASHRAE 62.2-2010 / 2013 and ANSI / ACCA’s 5 QI-2015 protocol, thereby improving the performance of HVAC equipment in new homes when compared to homes built to minimum code. However, these features alone cannot prevent all ventilation, indoor air quality, and HVAC problems (e.g., those caused by a lack of maintenance by occupants). Therefore, system designs documented through the use of this report are not a guarantee of proper ventilation, indoor air quality, or HVAC performance.

2. The report shall represent a single system design for a house plan. Check the box for “site-specific design” if the design was created for the specific plan configuration (i.e., elevation, option, orientation, and county) of the home to be certified. Check the box for “group design” if the design was created for a plan that is intended to be built with potentially different configurations (i.e., different elevations, options, and/or orientations). Regardless of the box checked, the system design as documented on this HVAC Design Report must fall within the following tolerances for the home to be certified:

  • Item 3.3: The outdoor design temperature used in loads are within the limits defined at
  • Item 3.4: The number of occupants used in loads is within ± 2 of the home to be certified.
  • Item 3.5: The conditioned floor area used in loads is between zero and 300 sq. ft. larger than the home to be certified.
  • Item 3.6: The window area used in loads is between zero and 60 sq. ft. larger than the home to be certified.
  • Item 3.7: The predominant window SHGC is within 0.1 of the predominant value in the home to be certified.
  • Items 3.10 - 3.12: The sensible, latent, & total heat gain are documented for the orientation of the home to be certified.
  • Item 3.13: The variation in total heat gain across orientations is ≤ 6 kBtuh.
  • Item 4.16: The cooling sizing % is within the cooling sizing limit selected.

Provide the HVAC Design Report to the party you are providing these design services to (i.e., a builder or credentialed HVAC contractor) and to the Home Energy Rater. The report is only required to be provided once per system design, even if multiple homes are built using this design (e.g., in a production environment where the same plan is built multiple times, only one report is required). As long as a report has been provided that falls within these tolerances for the home to be certified, no additional work is required. However, if no report falls within these tolerances or if any aspect of the system design changes, then an additional report will need to be generated prior to certification.

Visit for a tool to assist with group designs and for more information.

18. This Revision of the HVAC Design Report is required to certify all homes permitted after 07/01/2016, but is allowed to be used for any home permitted or completed prior to this date. 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 discretion to estimate permit dates based on other construction schedule factors.

19. Equipment shall be selected using the maximum total heat gain in Item 3.12 and the total heat loss in Item 3.14 per ACCA Manual S, Second Edition, except that cooling ranges above ACCA Manual S limits are temporarily allowed, per Item 4.15.

20. As an alternative for low-load spaces, a system match-up including a single-speed compressor with a total capacity ≤ 20 kBtuh is permitted to be used in spaces with a total cooling load ≤ 15 kBtuh. A system match-up including a two-speed or variable-speed compressor with a total capacity ≤ 25 kBtuh is permitted to be used in spaces with a total cooling load ≤ 18 kBtuh.

21. Evaporators and condensing units shall be properly matched as demonstrated by an AHRI Reference #. If an AHRI Reference # is not available, a copy of OEM-provided catalog data indicating acceptable combination selection and performance data shall be attached.

22. Per ACCA Manual S, Second Edition, if the load sensible heat ratio is ≥ 95% and the HDD/CDD ratio is ≥ 2.0, then the Climate is Condition B, otherwise it is Condition A.

Contributors to this Guide: ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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