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LEED v4
Homes
Energy and Atmosphere
Minimum energy performance

LEED CREDIT

Homes-v4 EAp1: Minimum Energy Performance Required

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Requirements

Meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Complete all mandatory measures of ENERGY STAR for Homes version 3. Achieve a HERS Index rating that meets or exceeds the ENERGY STAR HERS Index Target (or USGBC-approved equivalent for projects outside the U.S.). Certified passive house projects automatically meet the Thermal Enclosure System section of the Rater Design Review checklist.
  2. If installed, at least one of the following appliances must be ENERGY STAR qualified (or performance equivalent for projects outside the U.S.) in each dwelling unit:
    • refrigerator;
    • dishwasher; or
    • clothes washer.
  3. All duct runs must be fully ducted (i.e., building cavities may not be used as ducts).
Existing portions of an existing building are given the following allowances: Rater Design Review Checklist 3.1. Slab insulation is strongly encouraged but not required to meet or exceed 2009 IECC levels. Rater Field Checklist 3.1. Attic insulation at the intersection of existing roof and existing exterior walls does not have to meet R-value requirements. 3.4. Advanced framing is not required on existing framed walls, 4.3. Existing sill plates on top of concrete are not required to be placed on a foam gasket. Water Management System Builder Requirements Water-Managed Site and Foundation 1.3. A capillary break under an existing slab is not required unless there are visible signs of moisture damage on the slab floor. 1.5. Exterior below-grade walls are not required to be damp-proofed on the exterior surface unless there are visible signs of moisture damage on the interior of the wall. 1.8 - Drain tiles surrounded with clean gravel and fabric filter are not required for existing slabs, unless there are visible signs of moisture damage on the slab floor 2, 3. Water-managed wall and roof assembly requirements are not required for existing walls or roofing unless there are signs of moisture damage related to vulnerabilities in the walls or roof.
Prerequisite required for all projects, whether they use the EA performance or EA prescriptive path
See all forum discussions about this credit »

What does it cost?

Cost estimates for this credit

On each BD+C v4 credit, LEEDuser offers the wisdom of a team of architects, engineers, cost estimators, and LEED experts with hundreds of LEED projects between then. They analyzed the sustainable design strategies associated with each LEED credit, but also to assign actual costs to those strategies.

Our tab contains overall cost guidance, notes on what “soft costs” to expect, and a strategy-by-strategy breakdown of what to consider and what it might cost, in percentage premiums, actual costs, or both.

This information is also available in a full PDF download in The Cost of LEED v4 report.

Learn more about The Cost of LEED v4 »

Addenda

11/9/2020Updated: 12/7/2020
Regional ACP
Description of change:
See the Resource Library for full ACP requirements and documentation.
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
10/14/2019Updated: 10/14/2019
Regional ACP
Description of change:
Refer to attached resource to view the Energy & Atmosphere Alternative Compliance Paths for Canada Projects,
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
7/25/2019Updated: 7/30/2019
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
Replace sentence "Comply with USGBC’s residential midrise simulation guidelines." with the following:

"Comply with USGBC’s multifamily energy model simulation guidelines. "
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
1/27/2017Updated: 7/30/2019
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
CORRECTION #1 OF 3:
In the Residential Simulation Modeling Guidelines Table 2.3.1, Baseline design column, HVAC section: replace the two paragraphs in this box that begin with "Residential-associated spaces" with the following:"Residential-associated spaces (i.e. corridors, stairwells, lobbies, amenity spaces, and other spaces that primarily serve the residents) may be considered non-residential area OR residential area when determining applicability for that do not meet Exception (a) or Exception (e) of Section G3.1.1 Exception (a). If the total non-residential area is less than 20,000 square feet, the non-residential spaces shall be modeled with the same HVAC system type (System 1 or 2) as the in-unit spaces.
If classified as a residential space, Residential-associated spaces that have a different heating source than the in-unit spaces exceeding 20,000 square feet or building area perand satisfy Exception (a) of Section G3.1.1 shall be modeled with the appropriate residential system type (System 1 or 2), per Table G3.1.1A."
CORRECTION #2 OF 3:
In the Residential Simulation Modeling Guidelines Table 2.3.1, Baseline design column, Ventilation & Infiltration section: At the end of the sentence "The baseline design mechanical ventilation rate shall be modeled as equal to the rates allowed by ASHRAE 62.2 (in dwelling units) or 62.1 (outside dwelling units)", add the following text: ",or the applicable local codes, whichever is more stringent. "
CORRECTION #3 OF 3:
In the "Exceptional Calculations required for residential projects" section: delete the last bullet that begins with "Demand-controlled garage ventilation..."

**July 25, 2019 update:

Multifamily Energy Model Simulation Guidelines
Replace "35 degrees F" for system type 2 with "25 degrees F".
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/17/2016Updated: 3/29/2018
Regional ACP
Description of change:
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
10/2/2017Updated: 10/20/2017
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
Remove 9 instances of references to qualified energy rater in LEED v4 Homes and Midrise rating system requirements, as indicated below.

(Instances 1 and 2) EA PREREQUISITE: MINIMUM ENERGY PERFORMANCE (MIDRISE), Option 2. Commissioning using Prescriptive Path:

Requirement 1. Reduced Heating and Cooling Distribution System Losses for In-unit HVAC: remove the phrase "verified by a qualified energy rater." at the end of the second sentence under 1.
Requirement 4. Multifamily Midrise Thermal Enclosure Inspection Checklist: replace the first sentence under 2 with the following text: "Inspect and verify each item on the checklist."

(Instance 3 & 4 ) EA CREDIT: AIR INFILTRATION (HOMES): Delete sentence in both Case 1 and Case 2 "The rate of air leakage to outside must be tested and verified by a qualified energy rater" from credit language.

Instance 5) EA CREDIT: ENVELOPE INSULATION (HOMES): Delete sentence "Installation must be verified by a qualified energy rater conducting a pre-drywall thermal enclosure inspection" from credit language.

(Instance 6 and 7) EA CREDIT: HEATING AND COOLING DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS

Option 2. Ductwork in Unconditioned Space: Delete the phrase ", verified by the qualified energy rater." after the sentence that begins with "for each installed system" under requirements for both Large Homes or Multifamily Units and under requirements for Small Homes or Multifamily Units.

(Instances 8 and 9) EQ CREDIT: BALANCING HEATING AND COOLING DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS

Option 2. Supply Air-Flow Testing: Delete the phrase "by a qualified energy rater" from the sentence that begins "Have the total supply air-flow rates in each room tested ."

Option 3. Pressure Balancing: Delete the sentence "The testing must be verified by a qualified energy rater."



Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/8/2017Updated: 7/8/2017
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Rating System Correction 1: Requirements for Homes
Remove:
Meet the requirements of ENERGY STAR for Homes, version 3
Complete the thermal enclosure system rater checklist, the HVAC system quality installation rater and contractor checklists, and the water management system builder checklist. Certified passive house projects automatically meet the thermal enclosure system rater checklist requirement.
Achieve a HERS index rating at or below the HERS index target (or USGBC-approved equivalent for projects outside the U.S.) or meet the requirements of the ENERGY STAR for Homes version 3 Prescriptive Pathway, which includes meeting or exceeding all components of the ENERGY STAR Reference Design.
Replace With:
Complete all mandatory measures of ENERGY STAR for Homes version 3.
Achieve a HERS Index rating that meets or exceeds the ENERGY STAR HERS Index Target (or USGBC-approved equivalent for projects outside the U.S.).
Certified passive house projects automatically meet the Thermal Enclosure System section of the Rater Design Review checklist.

Rating System Correction 2.
Remove: Thermal Enclosure System Rater Checklist
Replace with: Rater Design Review Checklist

Rating System Correction 3:
Remove: 2.1
Replace with: 3.1

Rating System Correction 4:
Remove: 4.1
Replace with: Rater Field Checklist 3.1

Rating System Correction 5:
Remove: 4.4.5e
Replace with: 3.4

Rating System Correction 6:
Remove: 5.2.1
Replace with: 4.3

Rating System Correction 7:
Before ‘Water-Managed Site and Foundation’, add: Water Management System Builder Requirements.


Reference Guide Correction 1: Homes Step-by-Step Guidance
Remove ‘Step 2. Choose Compliance Path’ (it includes 3 bullets) of ‘Step-By-Step Guidance’. Update remaining Step numbers accordingly.

Add the following:
Under Step-By-Step Guidance, Step 4. Design HVAC System, add the following as the 2nd bullet.
“The EPA requirement for the HVAC commissioning contractor credential does not apply. Instead this expertise is encouraged via the EA credit HVAC Start-Up Credentialing.”


Reference Guide Correction 2: Further Explanation
Delete ‘Prescriptive Path’ section. Remove both paragraphs in this section.
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/8/2017Updated: 7/8/2017
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
Rating System Correction 1: Requirements for Homes
Remove:
Meet the requirements of ENERGY STAR for Homes, version 3
Complete the thermal enclosure system rater checklist, the HVAC system quality installation rater and contractor checklists, and the water management system builder checklist. Certified passive house projects automatically meet the thermal enclosure system rater checklist requirement.
Achieve a HERS index rating at or below the HERS index target (or USGBC-approved equivalent for projects outside the U.S.) or meet the requirements of the ENERGY STAR for Homes version 3 Prescriptive Pathway, which includes meeting or exceeding all components of the ENERGY STAR Reference Design.
Replace With:
Complete all mandatory measures of ENERGY STAR for Homes version 3.
Achieve a HERS Index rating that meets or exceeds the ENERGY STAR HERS Index Target (or USGBC-approved equivalent for projects outside the U.S.).
Certified passive house projects automatically meet the Thermal Enclosure System section of the Rater Design Review checklist.

Rating System Correction 2.
Remove: Thermal Enclosure System Rater Checklist
Replace with: Rater Design Review Checklist

Rating System Correction 3:
Remove: 2.1
Replace with: 3.1

Rating System Correction 4:
Remove: 4.1
Replace with: Rater Field Checklist 3.1

Rating System Correction 5:
Remove: 4.4.5e
Replace with: 3.4

Rating System Correction 6:
Remove: 5.2.1
Replace with: 4.3

Rating System Correction 7:
Before ‘Water-Managed Site and Foundation’, add: Water Management System Builder Requirements.


Reference Guide Correction 1: Homes Step-by-Step Guidance
Remove ‘Step 2. Choose Compliance Path’ (it includes 3 bullets) of ‘Step-By-Step Guidance’. Update remaining Step numbers accordingly.

Add the following:
Under Step-By-Step Guidance, Step 4. Design HVAC System, add the following as the 2nd bullet.
“The EPA requirement for the HVAC commissioning contractor credential does not apply. Instead this expertise is encouraged via the EA credit HVAC Start-Up Credentialing.”


Reference Guide Correction 2: Further Explanation
Delete ‘Prescriptive Path’ section. Remove both paragraphs in this section.
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/1/2015Updated: 8/24/2016
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Under "Step 2. Create Energy Model" replace all instances of "USGBC's Multifamily Midrise simulation guidelines" with "USGBC’s Multifamily Energy Modeling Guidance"/n/n

Under "Exceptional Calculation Method" section, after "Element that cannot be simulated by modeling program” paragraph add the following sections: "Exceptional Calculations Required for Residential Projects" and "Typical Exceptional Calculations." After “Ashrae 90.1, 2010 Versus 2007” section add the following new section: "Multifamily Energy Modeling Guidance." Make "Common Issues with Energy Modeling" a new primary section. /n/n

10/1/16 addenda release: In Further Explanation Sections 'Residential Simulation Guidelines' and 'Exceptional Calculations Required for Residential Projects', replace any references to “Appendix B, Section B.1, B.2, and B.3” with "See Section: Typical Exceptional Calculations”. References to “Appendix B, Section B.1, B.2, and B.3” occur on the following pages in the pdf reference guide:

- pg. 175: Exceptional Calculations Required for Residential Projects
- pg. 185: Table 4: Domestic Hot Water section; Receptacles & Other Plug Loads section
- page 186: Quality Control
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/1/2014
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Can projects use the NFRC's Component Modeling Approach methodology for verifying performance specifications for windows in the energy model or EA credit Windows? CMAST is a software tool created by NFRC for custom commercial windows.

Ruling:

Fenestration used to satisfy LEED for Homes prerequisites and credits must meet the following condition: 1) the installed fenestration components correspond to approved components listed within the NFRC Component Modeling Approach Software Tool (“CMAST”) library; 2) the CMAST project developed for each home has been generated by an ACE (Approved Calculation Entity) Organization; and 3) the fenestration products for the home are included in a Project Label Certificate that has been approved and certified by an Independent Certification and Inspection Agency (“IA”) licensed by NFRC.

Custom fenestration modeled using CMAST or LBL's WINDOW and THERM software - but not certified by NFRC - may be used for no more than 10% of the total window area in the home. This window area still must meet the performance requirements in LEED for Homes.

Updated ruling on 8/15/17 for rating system version applicability.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/5/2018
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

LEED Interpretation 10422 provides a pathway for LEED v4 Homes projects located in California to use Title 24-2013 to comply with the Energy and Atmosphere credit category. Can my project use Title 24-2016 Part 6 in order to comply with the Energy and Atmosphere credit category?

Ruling:

Yes. Projects in California may use the standard LEED for Homes v4 scoring approaches for the Energy and Atmosphere section, or they may elect to use this ACP, which combines energy modeling to Title 24-2016 Part 6 and EA credit High-Efficiency Appliances.

The Title 24 energy models must be performed by a CEA. All aspects of ENERGY STAR v3 Homes are met by Title 24 2016 compliance, save for the two following measures, which must be met by all projects:

1) Cooling equipment selection and sizing limits. All installed cooling equipment must be sized within the following parameters.

Compressor Type:
Single-Speed: 90-130%
Two-Speed: 90-140%
Variable-Speed: 90-160%

2) External static pressure of ducted heating and cooling systems must be measured by a qualified energy rater at contractor-provided test locations

Scoring in EA credit Annual Energy Use is as follows:
Points for reducing energy usage below T-24 2016 Energy Design Rating (EDR) of Standard Efficiency

% savings Points
1% 5
2% 6
3% 7
4% 8
5% 9
6% 10
7% 11
8% 12
9% 13
10% 14
13% 15
16% 16
20% 17
25% 18
30% 19
35% 20
40% 21
50% 22
60% 23
70% 24
80% 25
90% 26
100% 27

In addition, Title 24-2016 Homes projects that are zero net energy (ZNE) - as defined by site energy, source energy, or TDV - are granted maximum points and don’t need to complete the Home Size Adjuster.

The percent savings over T-24 2016 baseline is calculated using the project’s Energy Design Rating (EDR).

Title 24 savings = 1 - (Final Proposed EDR / EDR of Standard Efficiency)

This information is found on the Energy Design Rating tab of CBECC-Res, as well as the CF1R-PRF-01 report

**April 9, 2019 Update:
Add a third required measure to the LEED interpretation for projects complying with Title 24 as an ACP to ENERGY STAR v3 Homes:

3) Completion of California Quality Installed Insulation (QII), or the LEED Multifamily Thermal Enclosure Checklist, may be used in lieu of the ENERGY STAR v3 Rater Field Checklist, Thermal Enclosure System section.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
7/1/2014
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

When can load sizing calculations be reused on different units?

Ruling:

Requiring every unique iteration of units to have a separate Manual J is burdensome, especially considering the small heating and cooling loads in many multifamily units, and large relative HVAC equipment size. Response: The HVAC designer can use their professional experience when performing load calculations on similar units. A unique Manual J (or equivalent calculation) must be performed on any unit that is expected to have a load difference of at least 25% from other units (based on different sizes or energy efficiency measures), or the next equipment size up, whichever is smaller. Separate calculations must be performed for each similarly sized group of units that have unique orientation and exposure.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/25/2019
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Our multifamily low-rise project is pursuing ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction Certification (Version 1, 1.1, OR-WA 1.2). Is this considered equivalent to an ENERGY STAR v3 New Homes Certificate?

Ruling:

Yes, the ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction certification is considered equivalent to ENERGY STAR v3 New Homes certification.

ERI energy model:
Projects may elect to earn credit based on their improvement over ENERGY STAR. The ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction v1 (or v1.1 and v1.2) Energy Rating Index and Energy Rating Index Target are recognized as equal to the HERS v3 Index and HERS v3 Index Target respectively. The Home Size Adjuster shall not be used to adjust the number of points awarded when using this path.

Prescriptive path:
Projects that earn the ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction Certification using the Prescriptive path shall automatically receive a HERS 70 score, for the purposes of documenting points under EA Credit: Optimize Energy Performance or EA Credit: Annual Energy Usage. The Home Size Adjuster shall not be used to adjust the number of points awarded when using this path. \

ASHRAE 90.1 model:
Projects that earn the ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction Certification using the ASHRAE path shall automatically receive a HERS 70 score, for the purposes of documenting points under EA Credit: Optimize Energy Performance or EA Credit: Annual Energy Usage. The Home Size Adjuster shall not be used to adjust the number of points awarded when using this path.

Projects using ASHRAE 90.1-2010 Appendix G (or a LEED approved equivalent standard under LEED v4 BD+C: Multifamily Midrise) may earn up to 29 points by following the requirements and scoring LEED Midrise: Annual Energy Use. The Home Size Adjuster shall not be used to adjust the number of points awarded when using this path.

International projects:
International projects that are ineligible to achieve ENERGY STAR certification may document achievement of the ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction certification requirements rather than submitting the ENERGY STAR v3 New Homes Certificate. For projects pursuing the prescriptive or ERI paths, all Mandatory and Prescriptive requirements apply, except for analogous requirements with LEED approved exceptions for International projects (e.g. LEED Interpretation 10443 allowing exceptions to HERS Qualified Energy Raters, LEED Interpretation 10444 allowing visual inspections in lieu of HERS testing, etc.). For projects pursuing the ASHRAE path, the ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction, Version 1 / 1.1 Mandatory Requirements in dwelling units for fenestration, high-performance insulation apply.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/1/2014
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

How are variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems addressed for the refrigerant charge test?

Ruling:

VRF systems are exempt from the refrigerant charge test, per EPA ENERGY STAR for Homes program notes, until a protocol is created for these systems.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/1/2016
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

There are very few HERS raters outside of North America. Can other professionals be considered qualified professionals?

Ruling:

Yes, for projects outside of the U.S. and Canada, individuals with the following qualifications will be considered a qualified professional:

1. Completion of one of the following forms of education-

An Associate or Bachelor’s degree program that includes coursework in applied building science. If performing blower door testing and/or duct leakage for the LEED project, the individual must provide evidence that the Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree coursework specifically covered these topics, or provide evidence of at least 4 hours of formal training for each relevant topic.

OR

At least 4 hours of formal training in each of the following: building science fundamentals, blower door testing (if being performed for the project), air sealing inspections, insulation inspections, and duct leakage testing (if being performed by the project).

2. Experience performing energy inspections and testing on at least two building projects with a similar scope of work.
3. At least three years of professional experience in residential construction.

Additionally, the individual may not be part of the design or construction team.

***Updated 7.10.2020 to include applicability to v2008***

**Updated 1.08.2021 to align terminology with "qualified professional". For projects outside of the U.S. and Canada, the qualified professional meeting the qualifications above may perform all tasks required to be performed by the HERS Rater (also referred to as the “qualified energy rater” in the LEED v4 Homes Reference Guide).

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/8/2017
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

ENERGY STAR for Homes and ENERGY STAR Multifamily Highrise have requirements on how to perform load calculations and then sizing heating and cooling equipment to those loads. Is our project required to follow the EPA guidance for equipment sizing requirements?

Ruling:

Homes and Midrise projects must follow HVAC load calculation and equipment selection sizing guidelines laid out by the EPA, specifically in the ENERGY STAR for Homes or ENERGY STAR Multifamily Highrise programs. These requirements include:

Cooling system total capacity must be is 95- 115% of total heat gain, or next nominal size.

Heating system total capacity must be 100-140% of total heat loss, or next nominal size.

Parameters used in the design calculations shall reflect the unit’s actual specifications, specifically, outdoor design temperatures, orientation, number of bedrooms, conditioned floor area, window area, predominant window performance and insulation levels, infiltration rate, mechanical ventilation rate, presence of MERV6 or better filter, and indoor temperature setpoints = 70° F for heating; 75°F for cooling.

In addition, the internal loads must be within 80% to 200% that of 2009 ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals, or 80% to 150% of Manual J v8. If there are uncommon internal loads, they can be added as supplemental calculations outside of these limits, but the mechanical engineer will have to support their claim for adding any these additional internal loads.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
11/2/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Can 4- or 5-story multi-family buildings use the low-rise Rating System and the HERS Index?

Ruling:

**Update April 2019:
"This LEED Interpretation is no longer applicable and is superseded by Rating System Selection guidance."

________________________________________________________________
For 4-5 story projects that meet all of the following criteria, the decision of whether to use LEED for Homes or LEED for Homes Mid-Rise is at the discretion of the project team, Green Rater and Provider: (1) the project is 5 stories or fewer; (2) the project has individual heating, cooling and water heating for each unit; and (3) the building includes no more than 20% residential-associated spaces (i.e. common spaces that serve the occupants). Providers are advised to disallow these projects from using the low-rise Rating System if they believe that the project has certain qualities (e.g. large common space loads, high ceilings and large stack effect) that are poorly reflected in the HERS Index and associated modeling tools.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
4/2/2014
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

How are minisplits addressed for the refrigerant charge test?

Ruling:

Minisplits are exempt from the refrigerant charge test, per EPA ENERGY STAR for Homes program notes, until a protocol is created for these systems.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/1/2015
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Can LEED Homes v4 projects use Title 24-2013 in order to comply with the Energy and Atmosphere credit category?

Ruling:

All projects in California must meet Title 24-2013 requirements, and reduce their energy use by 10% or more compared to Title 24.

Once this requirement is met, projects in California may use the standard LEED for Homes v4 scoring approaches in the Energy and Atmosphere section, or they may elect to use the prescriptive pathway with some modifications that combine credits from the EA performance and prescriptive pathways in order to fully cover all major energy uses in housing.

Prescriptive pathway: Projects using Title 24-2013 must add EA credit Lighting and EA credit High-Efficiency Appliances. For EA credit Lighting Option 1 Indoor Lighting, projects can either:
- Follow rating system requirements
- Meet CAHPC lighting requirements
- Install 100% high-efficacy luminaries (as defined by Title 24).
To use the 100% high-efficacy luminaries approach, every room must have at least one hard-wired fixture.

Scoring in EA credit Annual Energy Use follows the adjusted point scale shown in the related resource "Title 24-2013 Point Scale for LEED Homes v4 Projects".

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
10/1/2014
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

How are small HVAC types that serve multiple dwelling units defined for the purpose of testing and commissioning systems and rating system selection?

(Note: The LEED for Homes Rating System selection guidance allows multifamily projects that are 4 and 5 stories to use LEED for Homes (low-rise) if they have greater than 80% in-unit space, and all HVAC systems are non-central.)

Ruling:

USGBC considers the following systems to be non-central:

1) Multi- split heat pumps where one condenser serves evaporator-air handlers in different units;
2) Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) systems with a common loop but heat-pumps in each unit.

If a building with these systems uses Homes low-rise, all energy associated with the HVAC system must be included in unit-by-unit modeling. This may require outside calculations to distribute ground source loop pump or shared condenser energy among apartments.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/1/2016
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

There are few professionals who are trained to perform envelope leakage, compartmentalization, and duct leakage tests in residential projects outside of North America. Is there another approach that projects can take to demonstrate compliance?

Ruling:

Yes, projects outside of the U.S. and Canada may perform a visual inspection of the air sealing measures in lieu of performing envelope leakage, compartmentalization, and duct leakage testing.

The visual inspection must be performed by a qualified professional and demonstrate that each unit meets the requirements of the ENERGY STAR Thermal Enclosure Checklist (for Homes projects) or Multifamily Midrise Thermal Enclosure Checklist (for Midrise). Each item on the checklist must be documented with photo evidence. For multifamily units, all common walls, ceilings, and floors must be considered 'unconditioned spaces' when completing Section 5 - Air Sealing, of the checklist. Note that this visual inspection requires an insulation inspection site visit at a mid-construction phase, in addition to a final site visit when construction is complete.

If this approach is used, energy savings for tight construction cannot be claimed. This approach is not available for related credits such as EA credit Air infiltration and EQ credit Enhanced compartmentalization.

***Updated 7.10.2020 to include applicability to v2008***

***Updated 11.9.2020 to include additional detail regarding required site visits***

**Updated 1.08.2021 to align terminology with "qualified professional". For projects outside of the U.S. and Canada, the qualified professional meeting the qualifications above may perform all tasks required to be performed by the HERS Rater (also referred to as the “qualified energy rater” in the LEED v4 Homes Reference Guide).

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/5/2016
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Will USGBC allow projects located in mild climates that do not install heating and cooling systems to use the prescriptive path in EA?

Ruling:

LEED for Homes projects in mild climates that do not install mechanical heating and cooling may use the prescriptive Energy & Atmosphere (EA) pathway for scoring, as well as automatically earn heating and cooling related credits. In addition, they do not need to contract with an energy rater.

In order to use this approach, projects must:
1) Be located in a mild climate, defined as those where each mean monthly temperatures falls within 21 degree C and 27 degree C, and
2) Not install a heating or cooling system, and
3) Use LEED for Homes and Multifamily Lowrise. This approach is not valid for LEED Midrise, and
4) Receive explicit approval from USGBC/GBCI after a formal request is submitted and reviewed. Formal requests must be submitted to homestechnical@gbci.org and must include information on the mean monthly temperatures and relative humidity of the project’s location, as well as details on the project, such as size, envelope features, and ventilation strategy.

If a project is approved, the Energy & Atmosphere prescriptive pathway may be used, and EA prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance is automatically met.

Points within EA HVAC Start-Up Credentialing, EA Building Orientation for Passive Solar, EA Air Infiltration, EA Envelope Insulation, EA Windows, EA Space Heating & Cooling Equipment, and EA Heating & Cooling Distribution Systems may be awarded automatically, with the following limitation:

The number of points awarded in the above credits cannot exceed the number of points earned and awarded in EA Efficient Hot Water Distribution System, EA Advanced Utility Tracking, EA Efficient Domestic Hot Water Equipment, EA Lighting, EA High-Efficiency Appliances, and EA Renewable Energy. For example, if a project earns 7 points in the non-space conditioning related EA credits (such as Efficient Hot Water Distribution System, Lighting, and High-Efficiency Appliances), they are awarded 7 additional points total in the space conditioning credits – for a total of 14 points in the EA category.

In Indoor Environmental Quality, projects may automatically earn 3 points in EQ Balancing of Heating & Cooling Distribution Systems.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
See all forum discussions about this credit »

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Requirements

Meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Complete all mandatory measures of ENERGY STAR for Homes version 3. Achieve a HERS Index rating that meets or exceeds the ENERGY STAR HERS Index Target (or USGBC-approved equivalent for projects outside the U.S.). Certified passive house projects automatically meet the Thermal Enclosure System section of the Rater Design Review checklist.
  2. If installed, at least one of the following appliances must be ENERGY STAR qualified (or performance equivalent for projects outside the U.S.) in each dwelling unit:
    • refrigerator;
    • dishwasher; or
    • clothes washer.
  3. All duct runs must be fully ducted (i.e., building cavities may not be used as ducts).
Existing portions of an existing building are given the following allowances: Rater Design Review Checklist 3.1. Slab insulation is strongly encouraged but not required to meet or exceed 2009 IECC levels. Rater Field Checklist 3.1. Attic insulation at the intersection of existing roof and existing exterior walls does not have to meet R-value requirements. 3.4. Advanced framing is not required on existing framed walls, 4.3. Existing sill plates on top of concrete are not required to be placed on a foam gasket. Water Management System Builder Requirements Water-Managed Site and Foundation 1.3. A capillary break under an existing slab is not required unless there are visible signs of moisture damage on the slab floor. 1.5. Exterior below-grade walls are not required to be damp-proofed on the exterior surface unless there are visible signs of moisture damage on the interior of the wall. 1.8 - Drain tiles surrounded with clean gravel and fabric filter are not required for existing slabs, unless there are visible signs of moisture damage on the slab floor 2, 3. Water-managed wall and roof assembly requirements are not required for existing walls or roofing unless there are signs of moisture damage related to vulnerabilities in the walls or roof.
Prerequisite required for all projects, whether they use the EA performance or EA prescriptive path
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