ENERGY STAR Home Verification

The EPA has recently released new guidelines to accompany ENERGY STAR New Homes Version 3.0 (also known as ENERGY STAR 2011), which will soon go into effect (see the implementation section to follow for more details).  According to the EPA, ENERGY STAR Version 3.0 is designed to address several key areas that were overlooked in previous versions of the ENERGY STAR program.

The main changes seen in ENERGY STAR Version 3.0 are:

  • The Reference Design Target: With ENERGY STAR Version 2, a qualified home must achieve a HERS score of 85. Now, this target varies with the size of the home.
  • A “Home Size” adjustment now applies: Large houses with few bedrooms now get penalized. Better put, larger homes have to be more efficient than smaller homes to ofset the embodied energy consumed to produce the larger home. However, ENERGY STAR Version 3 now excludes basement square footage and anything bigger than 70 sq. ft. with a closet and egress is considered a bedroom.
    The Benchmark Home Size is based on the number of bedrooms in the home to be built. Homes of all sizes can be qualified; however homes that are larger than their Benchmark Home Size must use the Performance Path so that a Size Adjustment Factor can be applied. See the ENERGY STAR Version 3 National Program Requirements for details.
  • The “Thermal Bypass Checklist” has been renamed: ENERGY STAR Version 3 now contains the “Thermal Enclosure” checklist. It’s the same checklist but now drywall must be sealed to top plates and builder must use SIPS, ICF, double walls, or advanced framing (2×6 on 24″, etc…).  More detailed info on the items above can be found here, in our news blog.

To qualify a home under Version 3.0, a home must meet the requirements of four checklists:

  • Thermal Enclosure System Rater Checklist
  • HVAC System Quality Installation Contractor Checklist
  • HVAC System Quality Installation Rater Checklist
  • Water Management System Builder Checklist (or Indoor airPLUS Verification Checklist)The Foundation of Green Certification Programs
  • These checklists can be downloaded via this link.


We’re providing a variety of training sessions on the new ENERGY STAR Version 3 program.  Be sure to visit the training section of our website to find more details on dates and locations.