ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes Program, Version 3.1

This page contains details on the mandatory requirements for all ENERGY STAR certified homes, Version 3.1.

Rater Design Review Checklist

The rater will ensure the following requirements are met.

Table 1. Specifies the insulation and fenestration requirements by climate zone according to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. Massachusetts is in climate zone 5. ( U.S. Department of Energy ).

Table 1. Specifies the insulation and fenestration requirements by climate zone according to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. Massachusetts is in climate zone 5. (U.S. Department of Energy).

  1. Partnership Status

    a. Builder is ENEGRY STAR partner.

    b. HVAC contractor holds credential to complete HVAC Commissioning Checklist.

  2. High Performance Fenestration

    Specified fenestration meets or exceeds the 2009 IECC component insulation levels. All windows, doors, skylights shall meet or exceed the component U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) requirements specified in Table 402.1.1.

    U-factor is the rate of heat loss of a window. The lower the U-factor, the greater a window's resistance to heat flow and the better its insulating properties.

  3. High Performance Insulation

    Specified ceiling, wall, floor, slab insulation levels meet or exceed 2015 IECC levels in Table 402.1.2 OR achieves 133% of total UA resulting from the U-factors in 2009 IECC Table 402.1.3 and specified home infiltration does not exceed 2 ACH50.

  4. Verify HVAC Design Report

    Ensures that the National HVAC Design Report is completed and contains the necessary following parameters.

Table 2. Specifies the insulation requirements for ENERGY STAR home.

Table 2. Specifies the insulation requirements for ENERGY STAR home.

This table specifies the U-Factor requirements by climate zone. Massachusetts is in climate zone 5 ( U.S. Department of Energy ).

This table specifies the U-Factor requirements by climate zone. Massachusetts is in climate zone 5 (U.S. Department of Energy).

Rater Field Checklist

  1. High Performance Fenestration and Insulation

    a. Insulation and fenestration meets specification from National Rater Design Review Checklist.

    b. Insulation achieves Grade I install, per ANSI/RESNET/ICC Std. 301.

  2. Fully-Aligned Air Barriers

    At each insulated location below, a complete, fully-aligned air barrier is provided.

    a. Ceilings at interior horizontal surface and exterior vertical surface of ceiling insulation, including dropped ceilings below unconditioned attics, and all other ceilings.

    b. Walls at exterior and interior vertical surface, including...

    • behind showers, tubs, staircases, fireplaces

    • Attic knee walls and skylight shaft walls

    • Walls adjoining porch roofs or garages

    • Double walls and exterior walls

    c. Floors at exterior vertical and interior horizontal surface of floor insulation and if over unconditioned spaces, such as floors above garages, basements, and crawlspaces.

  3. Reduced Thermal Bridging

    At above-grade walls that separate conditioned space from unconditioned space, some form of insulation must be used.

  4. Air Sealing

    Seal with caulk, foam or an equivalent material in areas where openings are introduced between conditioned and unconditioned spaces (ie. penetrating ducts, piping, wiring, recessed lighting fixtures adjacent to unconditioned space, window openings, doors, walls, attic panels, sump covers).

  5. Heating and Cooling Equipment

    The HVAC must match that which the HVAC installation contractor included in their design report. It must accommodate the calculated heating and cooling loads.

  6. Duct Quality Installation

    Duct quality applies to heating, cooling, ventilation, exhaust, and pressure balancing ducts. Ensures that ductwork has no kinks, sharp bends, compressions, or excessive coiled flexible ductwork. All ducts in unconditioned spaces are insulated and they are airtight. Minimizes room pressure differentials for any bedroom that doesn’t have a dedicated return.

  7. Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation System

    Includes mechanical whole-dwelling ventilation, ventilation override control, appropriate air inlet location from outdoors away from other contaminant sources and equipped with a rodent/insect screen, and appropriate system fans, including ENERGY STAR bathroom fans if used as part of a whole-house system.

  8. Local Mechanical Exhaust

    In each kitchen and bathroom, a system is installed that exhausts directly to the outdoors and meets rater-measured airflow and manufacturer-rated sound-level standards.

  9. Filtration

    Ensure that filter edges are sealed so that air passes through the filter prior to entering the home.

  10. Combustion Appliances

    Furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, water heaters in the home’s pressure boundary are mechanically drafted or direct-vented. Isolate attached garages from conditioned spaces by air-sealing walls and ceilings before installing insulation. Ensure all doors between living spaces and attached garages are airtight.

Water Management System Builder Requirements

  1. Water-Managed Site and Foundation

    a. Slope patio slabs, walks, and driveways; tamp back-fill to prevent setting, and slope the final grade away from the home. There is a drain tile that discharges to outside, a sump pump in basement and crawlspace walls or a Composite Foundation Drainage System.

    b. Polyethylene sheeting or extruded polystyrene insulation is installed beneath concrete slabs, including basement floors.

    c. Below-grade exterior walls of the foundation are waterproofed.

  2. Water-Managed Wall Assembly includes sealing the bottom of exterior walls, window and door openings, and the external drainage plane.

  3. Water-Managed Roof Assembly includes sealing all roof-wall intersections and roof penetrations for water resistance, and gutters and downspouts that discharge water away from the foundation drain system.

  4. Water-Managed Building Materials include framing materials and insulation products with low moisture content and moisture resistant backing materials behind tub and shower enclosures.

HVAC Design Report

  1. Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation Design

    a. Airflow - Rate and run-time must meet the requirements of at least the ASHRAE 62.2-2010. In cold climates, this is 1.2cfm/W; heat exchange with 60% SRE.

    b. System Type and Controls - The designer must specify the system type (ie. supply, exhaust, balanced), the location of the controls, and allow controls for the automatic operation of the system. Specific controls include a readily-accessible ventilation override and a label to specify its function if it is unclear. No outdoor air intakes should be designed to connect to the return side of the HVAC system, unless specified controls operate intermittently and automatically based on a timer and restrict intake when not in use.

    c. Sound - The fan of the specified system is rated three sones if intermittent and one if continuous.

    d. Efficiency - If the system utilizes the HVAC fan, the fan type is ECM /ICM, or the specified control will reduce the standalone ventilation run-time by accounting for hours when the HVAC system is heating or cooling. If the bathroom fans are part of the system, they should be ENERGY STAR certified.

    e. Air Inlet Location - Should be completed if the system has a specified air inlet location. Air must be pulled directly from outdoors, not from attic, crawlspace, garage, or adjacent dwelling unit. The inlet must be 2 ft. above the grade or roof deck, 10 feet of stretched-string distance from known contamination sources, and 3 ft. from contamination sources exiting the roof.

  2. Room-by-Room Heating and Cooling Loads

    Loads must be calculated for each room using specified indoor design temperatures (70°F for heating, 75°F for cooling), the number of occupants, the conditioned floor area, window area, the window Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), infiltration rates, and the mechanical ventilation rate.

  3. Heating and Cooling Equipment Selection

    a. Air Conditioner / Heat Pump (if they will be installed) - Includes the equipment type, including the manufacturer and model of the condenser and evaporator/fan coil. Specified the latent, sensible, and total capacity with the design conditions, and the air-source heat pump capacity. Finally, cooling sizing % is within the cooling sizing limit.

    b. Furnace (if it will be installed) - Includes furnace manufacturer and model, the listed efficiency, total capacity, and a heating sizing % within the heating sizing limit.

  4. Duct Design (if heating or cooling equipment will be installed with ducts)

    Duct system designed for the equipment selected for geating and cooling equipment. Includes HVAC fan airflow, fan speed setting, total external static pressure, and room-by-room design airflows.

HVAC Commissioning Checklist

This checklist applies to split and unitary air-conditioners, air-source heat pumps, water-source heat pumps up to 65 kBtuh with forced-air distribution systems and furnaces up to 225 kBtuh with forced-air distribution systems (ie. ducts).

  1. Refrigerant Charge

    Contractor records the outdoor ambient temperature at the condenser, the return-side air temperature inside the duct near the evaporator during cooling mode, and the liquid and suction line pressure and temperature. If the outdoor air temperature is below the manufacturer-recommended operating temperature for the cooling cycle, the system should include a Thermal Expansion Value (TVX).

    a. For System with TXV - Contractor records condenser saturation temperature, subcooling value, OEM subcooling goal, and subcooling deviation.

    b. For system with Fixed Orifice - Contractor records evaporator saturation temperature, superheat value, OEM superheat goal, and superheat deviation.

    c. The subcooling deviation must be 3°F or the superheat deviation must be 5°F.

  2. Indoor HVAC Fan Airflow

    The mode with the higher design HVAC fan airflow is used. The measured and test values of return and supply external static pressure are recorded, as well as the total external static pressure and the difference between the design estimate and the actual estimates. The HVAC fan airflow is measured and within 15% of the design HVAC airflow.

Summary of Requirements

Detailed program requirements can be found at National Program Requirements ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, Version 3.1 (Rev. 09) [PDF].

Raters must complete:

Builders must sign an ENERGY STAR Partnership Agreement and complete:

HVAC Installation Contractors must: