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Green Building Program Updates Ratings Oct 1, 2010

  The Austin Energy Green Building Program is one of the nation’s oldest and best green building programs.  The program rates homes from one to five stars with a five star rated home being their top category.  In the 6 years I’ve been building in Austin every home that I’ve built (or remodeled) has gotten enough points for the 5 Star rating.  I’m a big believer in their program because I feel the building science behind the rating system is very solid.  I also like that the program is very specific to our cooling dominated Hot & Humid climate.  In my opinion, some of the national programs are more geared to a heating climate and aren’t a great fit for building in Austin.  
  So with that background, here’s the executive summary of what’s changing…
  Reason for the new ratings:  Changes due to the adoption of the 2009 International Energy Code being adopted Oct 1, 2010.   Advances in Building Science have driven some changes.  Wanting to move the program to the next level!
New basic requirements:  (For a Minimum One Star)
  1. Texas Climate Vision Score of 0
  2. ≥ 550sf/ton of AC (formerly 500sf/ton)
  3. AC Equipment ≥ 14.5 SEER, 12.0 EER (up .5 each)
  4. Curved Blade HVAC Ceiling Registers (flat stamped registers are common)
  5. Fireplaces must be sealed with an outside combustion air input and glass doors.  
  6. Min 4 Energy Star appliances or fixtures installed
  7. Kitchen exhaust hoods >400 CFM must have make-up air.  
Two Star Requirements:
  1. Construction Waste Management Plan (Min 50% recycled by weight)
  2. Bath Exhaust fans on timer or humidistat
Three Star Requirements
  1. ≥ 600 sf/ton of AC
Four Star Requirements
  1. Cooling equipment and duct work must be within thermal envelope
  2. Any skylight must meet Energy Star requirement
  3. Water Heater must be high efficiency.  
    1. Tank Units: Sealed Combustion Direct Vent ≥.8EF
    2. Tankless Units ≥.82EF
    3. Electric Heat Pump Tanks ≥.2EF
Five Star Requirements
  1. 150 Points Minimum (formerly 125 points needed total)
  2. Glazing protection or maximum glazing (i.e. window restrictions)
    1. Overhang projection factor of .5 met for all windows facing SW to NW
    2. Glazing on E + W walls combined doesn’t exceed 25% of all glazing
    3. Glazing on West wall doesn’t exceed 10% of wall
    4. Total Glazing area doesn’t exceed 18% of conditioned floor area
  3. Irrigation must meet water efficiency criteria
  4. Any non-durable flooring is rapidly renewable or CRI Green Label
    1. Cork, Wool, Sisal, Bamboo, Linoleum
    AEGBP Rating System going online Oct 1st (requires $50 fee for all houses).  This online system will have a record of all communications w/ AEGBP staff.  It also allows upload of all project documents (Plans, Manual J, Documents), and creates researchable database of past projects.  
      -Matt Risinger