GreenStar Homes Certification Manual Version 4                        

Thank you for your interest in making our existing housing stock better.  This resource is free and open-source to use for residential buildings with the goal to certify through the GreenStar program. 

Keep up to date with the latest workbook here which can be used in google sheets or excel. Great for design evaluations.

If you are a GreenHome Institute Inspector or just want something to use to evaluate a home onsite for the basic level of GreenStar use our inspection form here. 

The below is not meant to be read like a book from front to back. You can sort it by your project type and/or goals.   In order to find what you are looking for try using control F for keywords or clicking the links in the latest checklists on the credits which bookmark directly to each reference detail here in the manual.

Watch our 3 part how to achieve GreenStar Homes Webinar CE series to learn more

Eligible project types that can certify 

  • Single-Family
  • Multifamily 
  • Mixed-Use 
  • Light Commercial office space
  • Building Updates overtime 
  • Renovations 
  • Gut Rehabs
  • New Construction 
  • Focused on North America 
  • Available Globally 

Most of the points and requirements are the same across project types, but there are variations between renovations, rehabs, additions, new builds, and single vs. multi-family. 

Certification process 

The GreenStar program requires you to meet mandatory items for each level. So certified, silver requires all certified, gold requires all certified + silver, and platinum requires certified, silver and gold. Most of the requirements remain the same for single-family detached, attached, multifamily, and renovations; however, all have minor differences to note as some things may or may not be required. 

There are two ways to certify

  1. Hire a GreenHome Institute Inspector (GHII) to review the product at completion and they will, as a 3rd party, inspect all the various green items and submit them to GHI for approval. The project leader may provide some items for verification through documentation. A % of assessor projects will be audited. 
  2. A certified GreenHome Associate can submit documentation and a virtual walk-through video documenting all the credits and requirements. This is an ideal path for projects far from local assessors. 

Stay updated on changes to the program by joining our mailing list here and checking the box at the bottom that you want to be informed about GreenStar Homes. 

https://greenhomeinstitute.org/mailing-list/

Here is an overview of how to understand each requirement or opportunity below.

Credit or Prerequisite Name – Brief Description of what it is 

Level or opportunity – This tells you if the specific item is required to certify or just an opportunity 

What is required – Several details on what is required to meet the credit or requirements. If details are missing, please get in touch with us for further clarification

An alternative approach – This gives you potential alternative ways to meet it. Do you have an idea for one not listed? Let us know!

Resources & Studies – While many help links will be sprinkled throughout. This area has specific areas for more ways to implement the credit or requirement. 

Products that can help – Making this program is not free! Many sponsors of real products help us fund it, so we list their products there. It can also give you ideas if you don’t know where to start, but you are not required to use the product(s) listed there.

Verification – This is how the project team leader or assessor verifies the credit or requirements are real and implemented correctly. It could be photos, receipts, calculations, sign-offs, testing details, etc. If you have an alternative idea, let us know. 

Badge(s) – Badges show your project is just meeting a certain level of certification. All projects can add a badge to baseline certified projects by meeting Certain credits or requirements. Badges include but may not be limited to,

  • Zero energy capable 
  • Zero energy ready 
  • Zero water capable
  • Electrified living 
  • Healthier Home 
  • Accessibility 
  • Reduced Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF)
  • Resilience
  • Foam Free

Versions and program upgrades 

The GreenStar Homes Certification just as green building science is a work in progress and always continuously improving based on new information. Please check back frequently for new and better versions but you can certify under the current version you started if you completed a preliminary rating with GHI or an approved inspector. See here in the manual for version updates. 

The current version is 4

Quickly determine climate and flood risks and document

Certified | Silver | Gold | Platinum

Determine the risks associated with the existing project site from

floodfactor.com and https://climatecheck.com/.

Document risks and communicates them to occupant(s) or owners.

Actions need to be taken to mitigate flood risk on these items 

  1. Certified  – 10 Flood Score
  2. Silver – 5 Flood Score or higher
  3. Platinum – 3 Flood Score or higher

Alternative approach 

Alternative flood and climate change reports may be allowed. Please let us know what you have in mind.

Resources & Studies: floodfactor.com and https://climatecheck.com/ FEMA

Verification – Upload reports to email or file share. If action needs to be taken, document and submit what it will be for flood mitigation.

Home Energy Cost Rating and Performance Testing Opportunities

Certified | Silver | Gold | Platinum

This program requires a final energy rating to be completed on the home, and it should be 50% better than the average home’s energy in the area to get to the certified level. Here are some details, requirements, and resources to get there. 

For existing homes, you can use the DOE Home Energy Score to easily determine your rating in the GreenStar system; however, if you prefer to use an alternative tool, then you can get your rating from the level of the corresponding mtbu energy use, and your local weather station found here. 

What is required 

Existing Homes 

  1. Home Energy Score 5 or Pearl Gold – Certified 
  2. Score 6 – Silver
  3. Score 8 – Gold
  4. Score 10 (pre-solar) – Platinum
  5. Zero Energy Capable Certified Badge 
  6. Zero Energy Certified Badge

New Construction 

  1. Use 34 mbtus or 10,000 kWhs or less or HERS 55 for certified 
  2. Use 30.6 mbtus or 9,000 kWhs or less for or HERS 40 for Silver 
  3. Use 24.5 Mbtus or 7,200 kWhs or less for HERS 30 for Gold 
  4. Use 17.1 mbtus or 5,400 kWhs or less for HERS 20 for Platinum
  5. Zero Energy Ready Badge 
  6. Zero Energy Capable Certified Badge 

If you are doing multifamily, mixed-use, or small commercial, you can use the DOE Home Energy Score. Any commercial space must use comparable thermal envelope and HVAC systems. Lighting, appliances, and computer systems must use an alternative way to measure energy use on top of this rating. More info coming soon on using this for commercial and offices. 

Alternative approach

There are approved tools you can use. Others may be approved as well on a case-by-case basis.

  •  Home Energy Saver Pro 
  •  Home Energy Rating Score (HERS Index) 
  •  WUFI Passive 
  •  Passive House Planning Package 
  •  BeOpt

Resources & Studies 

According to the EIA, the average home in the US in 2015 used 77 MBTUs of energy per year or 22,500-kilowatt-hours (kwh’s) per year. According to one study, the average existing home age in the US is 37 years old, or from the year 1981. The average newly built home from 2010 – to 2015 in the EIA study used 67 MMBTU/year or 20,000 KWH’s. The GreenStar program seeks to reduce energy in our housing stock by 50% – 90%, and therefore all new homes must consume only 34 Mbtu / year or 10,000 Kwh / year at a bareminum. 

Multifamily and attached housing inherently use less energy than single-family detached homes. Constructing multifamily instead can be much easier to achieve these ratings, and our program is solely based on reducing energy in single-family. Still, it can certify multifamily, midrise, and mixed-use. 

DOE has launched a DIY home energy score tool.  https://guest.hescore.labworks.org/guest-access

Which tool to pick? Watch comparing resident energy rating systems CEU webinar 

https://youtu.be/1vxvdd2QV38

Products that can help 

Mitsubishi Heatpumps, both ducted and ductless, can help cut utility bills and emissions to improve your energy score. Reducing penetrations required by gas appliances can reduce air leakage and reduce venting and gas piping costs. Ducted heat pumps can replace furnaces, or ductless can cut costs and energy loss of ducts. Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems can heat, cool, and ventilate multifamily buildings as needed, all at the same time.  https://www.mitsubishicomfort.com/

Rheem – Airsource heat-pump water heaters use significantly less energy than standard electric or gas water heaters. https://www.rheem.com/innovations/innovation_residential/hybridsavings/

AprilAire – Features more energy-efficient dehumidifiers which can be run at a lower energy usage than traditional A/C. Removing humidity makes rooms feel less hot, thus reducing (or highering) the overall A/C setting. https://www.aprilaire.com/

Ekotrope – An online energy rating software that can produce HERS index ratings and so much more. Designers and builders can use this tool to make more informed decisions and do cost-benefit analyses on projects. Works on single-family and multifamily. https://www.ekotrope.com/

Verification 

Submit a completed energy rating from the appropriately certified professional at the final submission stage. The appropriate certification body should certify the energy rating and not be in draft form. However, if a non-draft cannot be obtained, please contact us to discuss it, as some programs and providers require more than just the model & rating to get a certificate. We are willing to review without certification on a case-by-case basis. Home Energy Saver Pro cannot certify. 

Badge(s) 

Zero Energy Ready must be 5,000 Kwhs or less with solar PV ready features 

Net Zero Energy Capable Certified must be 0 kwhs or less (net positive)

Moisture and wall water leak assessment + repair

Certified Level

All GreenStar Homes Certified projects need to be evaluated for water entry and moisture risk.

This can be done by using a Home Inspector or the GreenHome Inspection Checklist on existing homes or the Energy Star for Homes Water Management Checklist required for new homes.

Items to review include 

  1. Roofing Health
  2. Old chimneys
  3. Flashing issues
  4. Roof ventilation
  5. Gutters and downspouts
  6. Siding issues
  7. Structural issues
  8. The carpeting in moisture-rich areas like entries, kitchens, basements, and bathrooms
  9. Moisture meter test in the basement
  10. Visible mold, mildew, or damage
  11. Ground slope away from the home
  12. Drain pan under washers and water heaters in or above living space
  13. Nonpaper face drywall behind shower and tub or ASTM certified

Alternative approach 

If the home has well-draining sandy soils based on an engineering study, you can skip gutters. 

You can use steel braided hoses on washers instead of the drain pan

French drains can be used instead of sloping ground

Resources & Studies 

The Energy Star Water Management System – Not a wet blanket part 1 – 3 Webinar series https://youtu.be/GE7T0Dpd488

https://basc.pnnl.gov/checklists/energy-star-certified-homes-version-331-revision-08#ui-accordion-1-header-3

Verification 

Completed GreenHome Inspection checklist with photos of existing homes

Builders can sign the Energy Star Water Management Checklist on New Construction and major renovations.

Properly exhausting bath fans in each bathroom

Certified Level

Every bathroom requires a properly installed bath fan that is vented outdoors and ventilates appropriately based on the toilet paper test. Hold up a piece of toilet paper and see if it can stay attached to the fan without falling. Preferably the fan should be tested by HVAC or rater to hit 50 CFM or higher (required in Silver)

An alternative approach – Ideally, you may want to use a heat or energy recovery ventilator instead.

Resources & Studies – Bath fans ensure moisture removal from showers to stop mold and mildew. They can also be used as a quick and easy ventilation method for the entire house. For GreenStar, your water heater will be tested to ensure it is not spilling out carbon monoxide, which could be brought up or out by a running bath fan. Bath fans should be installed with a straight duct going up, or out. Avoid bends or kinks, and do not vent in the attic. Bath fans should be energy-star rated with a low sone rating, so they are not too loud. Learn more at https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/bathroom-exhaust-fans

Products that can help – Panasonic makes many different types of bath fans to meet all your needs, and their whisper green and value are very quiet if it is being used for continued ventilation.

Verification – Video of the toilet paper test, fan photo, and specifications on the fan. Receipt of installation.

Electric stove OR Range Hood is tested to vent at 100 CFM outdoors

Certified Level

Stoves give off PM2.5, humidity, CO2, CO and NO2, and other pollutants that needed be vented to ensure a healthier home. Electric stoves give off much less pollution, and so at the certified level, the project team can decide between having an electric or induction stove or venting the rangehood directly outside and having it tested at 100 CFM or higher. Ideally, both should be done when food is burned on an electric stove. It can still cause a significant pollution event as well moisture of general cooking.

BPI protocols must test older gas stoves on the burns to ensure limited emissions from CO. 

An alternative approach 

  1. If the kitchen has a bath fan or some supply or exhaust fan (such as from an ERV), you can use that and show that area as five air changes per hour based on the volume of the defined kitchen space. Note ERVs without boost function do not vent pollution as quickly as direct vents.
  2. The project has a window in the kitchen and a RESET-certified device that can detect PM2.5, VOCs, and Humidity and alert the occupant to higher levels. The occupant must be trained and educated on this, and that must be documented to certify.
  3. If the developer/builder is not including the stove but has no gas hook up in the house or gas line to where the stove goes, this requirement can be met.

Resources & Studies 

A recent study finds ventilation significant reduces cooking pollution except for NO2 put off by gas stoves https://nchh.org/2022/04/new-study-finds-ventilation-significantly-reduces-indoor-pollutant-levels-and-adds-new-evidence-for-eliminating-gas-stoves/

https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/kitchen-exhaust-fans

https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/kitchen-exhaust-retrofit-duct-guide

Products that can help – Panasonic offers a variety of ventilation systems that can be used to exhaust a kitchen, depending on your project type. Range hoods, vent fans, stand-alone ERVS, or whole home ERVs. Learn more here https://na.panasonic.com/us/home-and-building-solutions/ventilation-indoor-air-quality/

If taking an alternative approach, the Awair air quality monitor can detect PM2.5 and alert occupants to take action to improve air quality. https://www.getawair.com/

Verification 

Photos and documentation of the electric stove or documentation, reports, and testing results of the ventilation system in place are ideally completed by the GreenHome Institute Inspector during final testing. 

No gas leaks found from inspection

Certified Level

Every home or unit with gas must be tested to ensure there are no gas leaks both inside and at the meter. Test all gas using appliances and piping. Note that even newly installed equipment is more frequently found to have gas leaks. This must be done with a handheld natural gas/propane sniffer.

An alternative approach – Consider going all-electric to avoid gas leaks.

Resources & Studies – RESNET Chapter 8 proposed amendment 

“806 GAS LEAKAGE TEST

If there is a noticeable odor indicating gas buildup within the home, the occupants and Auditor shall leave the house and the appropriate authorities and utility providers shall be notified from outside the home. The Auditor should use a gas detector upon entry into the home to detect the presence of natural gas. If gas is suspected or confirmed, ensure that switches are not operated while exiting and no ignition concerns are present. The audit shall not proceed until the proper

authorities have deemed it safe to re-enter the home. If there is no noticeable odor indicating gas buildup within the home, the Auditor shall determine if there are gas leaks in the fittings and connections of natural gas appliances within the home and natural gas/liquid propane supply lines following these protocols.

Inspect all fittings and joints in supply lines and appliance connectors and confirm suspected leaks with leak-detection fluid. Identify for repair or replacement any kinked, corroded or visibly worn flexible gas lines and any flexible connectors manufactured prior to 1974. 

806.1 Equipment needed

 Combustible gas detector capable of measuring 20 ppm

 Leak detection fluid (non-corrosive)”

Products that can help – https://www.trutechtools.com/BPI-Basics-Kit

Verification 

The GreenHome Institute Inspector should complete a test, and reports and results should include if there are any leaks and where they are found. Video documentation of HVAC, plumber, and/or utility company leak testing may be allowed. A home inspection report is sufficient. If the home is all-electric, no further requirements are needed. 

Test combustion-based appliances for CO leaks and replace or repair if found

Certified Level

Every home or unit with gas must be tested to ensure no excess carbon monoxide from combustion-based appliances per the BPI standard.

An alternative approach – Used sealed combustion equipment and/or ideally go all-electric

Resources & Studies –  http://www.bpi.org/sites/default/files/COMBUSTION%20APPLIANCE%20SAFETY%20INSPECTION%20FOR%20VENTED%20APPLIANCES.pdfCombustion Safety Standard for Vented Appliances – BPI

Verification

The GreenHome Institute Inspector should complete a test, and reports and results should include if there are any issues and where they are found. Video documentation of HVAC, plumber, and/or a home inspector is allowed. If the home is all-electric, no further requirements are needed.

Carbon Monoxide detectors installed on all floors and near fireplaces

Certified Level

CO detectors must be installed on all floors and next to any fireplaces. Must be battery backup and hardwired. It is required in all-electric homes. Ideally, it would help if you considered low-level CO detectors; however, dual smoke/co will work.

An alternative approach – Homes or buildings that obtain the power resiliency badge may skip this because backup energy should prevent the use of bringing in generators or CO generating heating devices during an outage.

Verification

Photos of the installed CO detectors, receipt of order. 

No radon detected above PCL 4 when tested or system installed

Certified Level

Complete a radon test of the property using any valid method such as laboratory kits, home inspector 3-day test, or an ongoing radon monitor. If numbers come back above 4, an active radon system must be installed.

All new construction homes for all EPA zomes and existing homes EPA zone 1 must install a system. It can be active or passive, including foundation work when applicable and passive venting described in EPA indoor air plus.

An alternative approach – Each first-level home or unit installs a RESET certified or other approved continuous radon monitor at the lower level. It must include instructions and training detail for the occupants and building managers to operate.

Resources & Studies https://www.epa.gov/radon

Products that can help 

Aprilaire offers a radon mitigation system that can be used in new and existing homes. https://www.aprilaire.com/radon-control

Verification 

Test report results 

If system is installed include photos of the system install and any foundation work completed

Use at least MERV 8 – 16 Rated Filters on Ducted Systems.

Certified Level – MERV 8 | Silver Level – MERV 10 | Gold Level – MERV 13 | Platinum Level – MERV 16 

MERV filtration helps remove pollution from the air improving indoor air quality. Higher levels such as 13 and especially 16 can reduce airborne viruses.

Energy or Heat Recovery Ventilators should have at least MERV 13 filters installed. 

An alternative approach 

  1. HEPA-rated filters may be used instead up through the Gold level.
  2. Mini-splits and radiant systems can avoid this requirement.
  3. Have the HVAC or the rater complete a static pressure test to ensure the system can handle the higher-rated filter. Especially in older systems, if this harms static pressure, this requirement can be skipped through the silver level by installing at the higher allowed. Existing Homes only though newer homes should be tested with appropriate static pressure. 

Resources & Studies – 

  1. Nate the house whisperer, short video on static pressure – https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rEa8IYs9mlo
  2. Trutech tools static pressure testing details – https://www.trutechtools.com/static-pressure-test.html

Products that can help 

Aprilaire air filters can help quickly reduce airborne pollution.

https://www.aprilaire.com/whole-house-products/air-purifiers/air-filter-buying-guide

Mitsubishi offers Ducted Airsource heatpumps, which can handle higher-rated filters or mini-splits to avoid these filters altogether.

Verification – Photos, receipts of filter purchase, and/or static pressure reportsIdeally, a GreenHome Institute Inspector will review in the field and note it on the GreenHome Inspection Checklist. GreenStar Remodeling Inspection Checklist – GreenHome Institute

Water Flow Rate Prescriptive Requirements

Certified | Silver | Gold | Platinum

There are two ways to get credit and meet requirements for lowering water usage.

Prescriptive Pathway

If taking this path, each rated flow or a lower rate must be achieved on the three corresponding fixtures below for the desired level of certification. If you wish to get recognition for other water-using devices, you may wish to use the Home Water Score detailed below.

This includes an average of all flow rates if multiple flow rates exist.

Fixture  Type  Level 
Toilet* <1.6 Gallons Per Flush (GPF)

<1.3 GPF

1.0 GPF

.8 GPF

Certified 

Silver

Gold

Platinum

Bathroom Aerator  2.0 Gallons Per Minute (GPM)

1.75 GPM

1.00 GPM

.75 GPM

Certified
Silver 

Gold

Platinum

Shower Head 2.2 Gallons Per Minute (GPM)

2.0 GPM

1.5 GPM

1.25 GPM

Certified
Silver

 Gold

Platinum

*Dual Flush Toilets – When calculating the toilets take the Low Flow Rate in GPF x 2 + High Flow Rate / 3 = # GPF to input. Example, 1.28 GPF low and 1.6 high = 1.28*2 = 2.56+1.6=4.6/3 = 1.39 gpf to insert

At this time, you must take the performance path to get points for outdoor water usage through better landscaping, irrigation, greywater, and/or rainwater catchment. 

Home Water Score Pathway

The Home Water Score developed by the GreenHome Institute is a calculator that gets water savings from using lower flow devices than the standard and more water-efficient landscape plans and/or rainwater catchments. The water usage is based on data from the Residential Trends and End uses of water 2016 study and put in a formula based on the estimated number of people living in the home, counting bedrooms + 1. The scores credits are as follows. The score is an asset score, so you must use the actual bedrooms instead of the actual or estimated number of occupants. 

  1. Home Water Score of 2 – Certified 
  2. Home Water Score of 3 – Silver 
  3. Home Water Score of 5 – Gold
  4. Home Water Score of 6 – Platinum 
  5. Home Water Score of 10 = Zero Water Capable Badge 

Missing Dishwasher or Clothes Washer  – If these items are not installed when the project is completed, and the score is submitted, you must keep the worst-case numbers in there, assuming the occupant will buy a nonenergy star certified unit or will use hand washing which may be less efficient. 

Outdoor Water Usage

This pathway requires the use of the Outdoor Water Budget tool from the EPA. Note that this tool has an online version that you can only use once and are not able to save or an excel version that you can save and change multiple times. Another thing to note is that the tool calculates water for all 12 months in the event in areas where you would not water all month, like during a winter season. So feel free only to count the months you would water in and dive in and out of the usage for the other months to get a more accurate picture of usage and water needs for outdoor water. 

New Construction projects must use the outdoor water pathway, but renovations that are not planning a landscape change-over do not need to. 

Xeriscaping or zero outdoor water landscapes due to having no landscape at all can keep the number 1 in the first section and the 0 in the 2nd for 100% savings. 

We do not have formulas for greywater or rainwater catchment, so we will look for your proposed plans on these until we develop these under different formulas.

Leaks 

Leaks are assumed to either be 100% or 0% at this time unless another formula or idea is proposed to show that only some of the leaks are fixed. The inspector can make a judgment call to determine not all leaks are fixed. Typical new construction has no leaks but must be tested to prove it. 

Test leaks by taking the required pressure test reading with a pressure gauge, then make sure no water is turned on for 30 mins. Check for pressure drop and see if the water meter moves. 

For multifamily and different fixtures in multiple bathroom homes, just average all the units together if certifying the entire building or set of units to use as the main input.

Homes with recirculation loops in faucets reduce water waste in those areas by 12%. We are planning to build this out in v2 but we can superimpose this in your project for now if you have these. 

Resources & Studies 

The GreenHome Institute Youtube playlist on water conversation can help you save water, and it includes a 4 part series on how to use the Home Water Score https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtOuBSUfZX7pXeVE7_7UM0FH5VdtFC594

Products that can help 

Niagara Conservation Stealth and Shadow Toilets ensure .8 Gallon per flush toilets and have ADA complianceThey have higher flowing toilets as well. https://niagaracorp.com/

Verification 

Submit photos and receipts of installs of devices. The inspector will visually verify the installation in the field and may do leak testing or submit plumber leak test results. Inspectors may eventually test flow rates to ensure proper flow. Inspectors may use water testing if they are unable to read the label on the water device. For landscaping, a landscape plan and plant list should be submitted.

Badge(s) 

Zero Water Badge is available for homes scoring 10 or showing zero water usage. Groundwater can be used to get the zero water badge but must be put back in the ground at the same rate and cleanliness as it is taken out. See living building challenge water petal for more details on this. 

Plumbing leak and pressure test shows no leaks

Certified Level

Every home or building must be tested to ensure no water leaks and determine water pressure. The test can be done by taking a pressure reading inside or out, turning off the water at the mainline, and then waiting to see if there is a significant pressure drop. Ideally, the test is taken by a plumber using the line depressurization test. If there is a leak, it must be fixed. If pressure is above 80 PSI, a regular or a fix must be applied.

An alternative approach – Consider a water leak and water use real-time monitoring system.

Resources & Studies – The spruce – Water pressure test how to –  https://www.thespruce.com/testing-water-pressure-in-your-home-2718692

BobVilla water leak testing. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-find-a-water-leak/

Verification – The plumber working on the project may sign off on the plumber leak verification report here

https://www.dropbox.com/s/lv9chzdfcwr0zgd/Water%20Pressure%20and%20Leak%20Verification%20Report%20LEED%20for%20Homes.docx?dl=0

A GreenHome Institute Inspector ideally will test and give their testing results or on the GreenHome Inspection Checklist. GreenStar Remodeling Inspection Checklist – GreenHome Institute

Use steel braided hoses or drainpans under clothes washers

Certified Level

If the washer leaks, it must prevent further damage to the area

Steel braided hoses reduce leaks by 90%. Alternatively, a drain pan or floor drain either directly under or near will suffice.

An alternative approach –A water leak monitoring device that restricts flow automatically is installed and set up.

Verification – Photos or A GreenHome Institute Inspector ideally will update inspection results or on the GreenHome Inspection Checklist. GreenStar Remodeling Inspection Checklist – GreenHome Institute

Drains under tank water heater in or above living space

Certified Level

Tank water heaters that are above living space or located in it, including a basement with any finished space, must have a drain pain that is piped to a drain. This is to protect against water damage if a leak springs

An alternative approach – Utility rooms with sloped ground towards the drain will work in place of a pan

Resources & Studies – None

Products that can help – None

Verification – Photos or A GreenHome Inspector ideally will update inspection results or on the GreenHome Inspection Checklist. GreenStar Remodeling Inspection Checklist – GreenHome Institute

Gutter system draining away from home or well-draining sandy soils

Certified

Ensure gutters are set up either externally or internally and are draining away from foundations to prevent moisture and water entry issues.

Gutters should appear in working order and not clogged upon inspection.

Alternative approach – Using USDA maps or an engineer’s sample report, you can verify if the area has well-draining sandy soils which can quickly drain water and need gutters. There can also be foundational gutters installed around the home’s perimeter, such as french drains, which may be more appealing and work just as well.

Resources & Studies – https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/gutters-and-downspouts

Verification – Photos and/or GreenHome Inspection report completed by GreenStar Homes Inspector. A good home inspection report may suffice too.

Review and resolve any potential lead issues in pre-1978 homes

Certified 

Lead is a serious issue that can cause behavioral issues in children and other health problems. Homes built before 1978 require a lead action plan and/or disclosure signed off on by the project developer. Lead can be a very subjective issue, so this can be discussed with your GreenStar Homes Reviewer on a case-by-case basis.

Lead may also exist in old pipes and plumbing, and you may wish to test for this. 

Alternative approach – Ideal approach is to have a lead specialist review and lead sampling.

Resources & Studies – https://www.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family-sources-lead 

Verification – Lead abatement contractor or inspector, builder disclosure, and/or GreenHome Inspection Report. Homes newer than 1978 do not need to do this.

No known asbestos or it was removed, documented, and/or sealed

Certified 

Asbestos is a serious issue that can cause many health problems. A GreenHome Inspector or traditional inspector must inspect the home for asbestos and confirm it is at least not up in the attic or on duct boots. Conversely, an abatement or encapsulation plan can be presented.

Alternative approach – Completed work includes new ducts and insulation in the attic

Resources & Studies – https://www.asbestos.com/exposure/home/

Verification 

Energy Rater should avoid blower door testing if asbestos is present and estimate air leakage until it is repaired.  

Review of lead remediation report or GHI Inspector’s notes on lack of leadership. 

No knob and tube wiring remains in the home

Certified Level

If knob and tube wiring exists, it must be removed and replaced as it is a fire hazard.

An alternative approach – None

Resources & Studies –  TBD

Products that can help – TBD

Verification – Electrification work receipt or ideally, a GreenHome Inspector ideally will review in the field and note on the GreenHome Inspection Checklist. GreenStar Remodeling Inspection Checklist – GreenHome Institute

A majority of lighting should be LED or CFL

Certified 

Verification – Receipts, photos and/or GreenHome Inspection Report

Reduce Air Leakage Between Units in Attached Housing

Certified

Ensuring air does not move between units is good for occupant health and comfort including concerns about the spread of airborne viruses.

New construction has more opportunities than existing to ensure this is met.

Construction Type Air leakage rate allowed @ CFM 50 per square foot of wall enclosure  Additional items
Certified New Construction 

Certified Existing Housing 

.4 or less New Construction only
Doors must be sealed with a weatherstrip. No Hallway air
Silver New Construction 

Silver Existing Housing 

.3 or less on new construction only and .4 on renovations
Gold New Construction 

Gold Existing Housing 

.23 or less on new construction only and .3 on renovations
Platinum New Construction 

Platinum Existing Housing 

.15 or less on new construction only and .23 on renovations

Alternative approach – None at this time 

Resources & Studies – https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/article/compartmentalization-in-multifamily-buildings & GHI CE Webinar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiPBRY2A1Ew

Products that can help 

One study shows Indow Interior Storm windows may reduce air loss by up to 10% https://indowwindows.com/

Verification – Energy Rater Testing Reports from Blower Door

If a fireplace exists, ensure occupants are not exposed to bad air quality

Certified

A fireplace needs to be sealed, vented, and with makeup air with a carbon monoxide detector placed in the same room.

Alternative approach 

Suppose the fireplace is not meeting all of the above applications. In that case, there needs to be a low-level CO detector installed nearby along with a RESET certified air quality monitor that can detect and easily inform occupants about rising levels of PM2.5 and Carbon Dioxide. Occupants must be trained and informed on why and why to use this.

Or, use an electric or LED fireplace.

Resources & Studies – https://basc.pnnl.gov/indoor-airplus-checklist/51-emissions-standards-met-fuel-burning-and-space-heating-appliances

Products that can help 

If using the alternative approach, consider using an Awair device https://www.getawair.com/

Verification – Report and details in GreenHome Inspection report. Photos and receipts of devices and install

Evaluate projects embodied energy or upfront carbon in materials

Certified Level

Embodied or upfront carbon is now making sometimes half or more of the carbon home will emit over its lifetime compared to carbon from energy use.

While it is up to industry and governments to solve this problem, project teams can make better choices on materials selections to reduce embodied energy.

New construction projects, as well as additions, must evaluate and report the embodied energy or upfront carbon associated with all materials feasible going into the project as well as the construction of the project.  Further reductions or offsets are only required at the silver level.

Here are the currently approved tools

  1. Beam Estimator – https://www.buildersforclimateaction.org/beam-estimator.html
  2. EC3 Tool https://www.buildingtransparency.org/
  3. Passive Housing Planning Package Ribbon Software https://naphnetwork.org/phribbon/

Alternative approach 

  1. Achieve the Zero Energy Capable Badge
  2. Build 800 square feet or smaller or 600 on average in multifamily housing
  3. Build with no concrete

Verification – Report out the tool results

Properly sized cooling equipment

Silver Level 

Ensure a properly sized cooling system is installed using a certified manual J version 8 report (or newer versions as they come out). This will make sure the system runs appropriately and dehumidifiers. Consider using a modulating or 2 stage system to handle extreme loads as the weather warms up during heat waves.

An alternative approach

  1. ASHRAE Manuals used for larger systems on multifamily
  2. RESNET HERS loads when ratings are certified
  3. Passive House load calculations if done by a credentialed professional
  4. Not required if there is no cooling

Resources & Studies – Manual J Version 8 ACCA 

Products that can help 

Mitsubishi offers air source heatpumps including ducted, ducted mini splits and full mini-splits that are right-sized for low load homes that demand little cooling

Verification – Sizing report and details of the installed system

Moisture resistant flooring in bathroom, kitchen & main entryways

Silver Level 

All main entrances, kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms must a moisture-resistant flooring, usually that means avoiding carpet. We recommend avoiding or removing all carpet if possible

An alternative approach – None

Resources & Studies – https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/carpet-not-installed-wet-areas

Products that can help – None

Verification – Verification by GreenHome Inspection Report and/or photos.

Bathfans must be tested to at least 50 CFM or more in each bathroom

Silver Level

Every bathroom requires a properly installed bath fan that is vented outdoors and tested to ensure at least 50 CFM or higher when it is running on and off or 20 CFM when continuously running if providing whole-home ventilation.

An alternative approach – Ideally you may want to use a heat or energy recovery ventilator to do this instead. If a GreenHome Inspector is not available we may be able to use the toilet paper test on a video.

Resources & Studies – Bathfans ensure moisture removal from showers to stop mold and mildew. They can also be used as a quick and easy ventilation method for the entire house. For GreenStar your water heater will be tested to ensure it is not spilling out carbon monoxide which could be brought up or out by a running bathfan. Bathfans should be installed with a straight duct up, or out. Avoid bends or kinks and do not vent in the attic. Bathfans should be energy-star rated with a low sone rating so they are not too loud. Learn more at https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/bathroom-exhaust-fans

Products that can help – Panasonic makes many different types of bathfans to meet all your needs and their whisper green and value is very quiet if it is being used for continued ventilation.

Verification – A GreenHome Inspector ideally will use a device to test the flow of the bathfan and report in their testing results or on the GreenHome Inspection Checklist. GreenStar Remodeling Inspection Checklist – GreenHome Institute

Whole-Home Fresh air supply provided

Silver Level 

The home must have adequate fresh air provided either by supply or exhaust air. Balanced ventilation is suggested but not required for silver. Exhaust air is recommended in cooler climates and supply air in warmer climates. This is done using a continuously running or intermittent running bath fan or supply air fan in the furnace or alternative means. Systems must be tested to ensure they ventilating correcting at the right rate under the ASHRAE 62.2 2016 standard or higher.

An alternative approach – Passive ventilation may be allowed in milder climates.

Resources & Studies –

  1. https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/carpet-not-installed-wet-areas, 
  2. https://www.redcalc.com/ashrae-62-2-2016/

Products that can help – Panasonic has several bath fans, supply fans, and energy recovery ventilators that will help you meet this goal. Learn more here. 

Verification – Verification by GreenHome Inspection Report with fans being tested,  alternative tests done by an energy rater, details and system photos, and installation.

New gas appliances must be sealed/vented or all-electric

Silver Level 

All gas furnaces and water heaters that are gas-powered must be sealed combustion or power vented for the exhaust. 

Alternative approach Use electric systems to avoid the need for combustion. 

Resources & Studies 

3 problems with naturally drafted appliances 

Sealed combustion – BSC

Products that can help 

Rheem has many products that can help from sealed combustion, on-demand tankless, and all-electric heat pumps. 

Mitsubishi ducted and ductless all-electric heating systems avoid the need for gas and venting. 

Verification – Photos and product specs. GreenHome Inspection report details.

The kitchen must have proper ventilation through rangehood or outdoor air system or monitor

Silver Level 

The kitchen must have an outdoor air hoodrange tested to at least 100 CFM but no more than 400 CFM without additional makeup air such as a window nearby or intake that turns at 400 CFM. If the system is modulating, the makeup air is not required but owner education is.

Alternative approach 

All these approaches require the stove to be electric

  1. If an alternative system like an ERV/HRV or fan is serving the kitchen it must 5 air changes per hour or more defined by tested fan CFM AND kitchen volume.
  2. Or – Use a RESET certified PM2.5 monitor and have a CO detector in the kitchen with a window and educate the occupant to use to be informed on pollution build-up in the kitchen.

Resources & Studies https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/kitchen-exhaust-retrofit-duct-guide | https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/kitchen-exhaust-fans

Specify the exhaust system with 120 CFM or more to ensure the fan pulls at 100. When designing a system reduce bends and turns in ducts to ensure proper pull

Products that can help 

  1. Panasonic rangehoods https://na.panasonic.com/us/whisperhood-iaq
  2. RESET certified Pm2.5 sensor https://www.getawair.com/

Verification – Reports of duct testing, note on plans, photos and other calculations

Refrigerant charge test completed on all AC / Heatpumps

Silver Level 

Have an HVAC contractor complete an energy star charge test (section 2 of this form) or equivalent. This must be done on a new or existing AC or heatpump unit. Older AC or heatpumps replaced during the project must ensure the refrigerant is recycled or captured. This is important to ensure the unit functions correctly, efficiently and avoid high

An alternative approach – Many newer systems come pre-charged and will not need this to be done.

Resources & Studies – Certified technicians 

Products that can help – Mitsubishi air source heatpumps come pre-charged and do not require an additional test.

Verification – Submit completed energy star report signed by HVAC technician.

Instructions created documenting how to maintain the building

Silver Level 

Instructions needed to be completed and given to the homeowner or building manager. These to include 

  • Dates and times for equipment maintenance and repair or replacement
  • Easy access to equipment manuals
  • Details how to maintain items in an easy to understand way

Alternative approach – Create a virtual walkthrough with videos and/or matterport

Resources & Studies – TBD

Products that can help – TBD

Verification – All manuals must have a digital component and this will need to be shared

Homeowner or tenant trained on how to maintain the building

Silver Level 

The people who live in the home or manage the building must be trained briefly on how to do that.

Alternative approach – Create a virtual walkthrough with videos and/or matterport that can be used anytime. If this is an owner-occupied project where the homeowner is managing the project, this is met.

Resources & Studies – TBD

Products that can help – TBD

Verification – Submit a summary on how the training takes place or how tenants are educated during unit turnover.

No new ducts in floor panned in joists

Silver Level 

Panning ducts in the joists can cause leaky ducts and moisture issues. Ensure if any new duct work is being done that the ducts are fully ducted in both supply and return.

Alternative approach – Go ductless mini split or radiant 

Resources & Studies https://www.nachi.org/building-cavities-supply-return-ducts.htm

Products that can help – Mitsubishi ductless minisplits are the most efficient HVAC for air source heatpumps and eliminate costly ducting. Check them out

Verification – Photos and reports GreenHome Inspector

New shower/tub surrounds use certified wallboard, coating or is drywall free

Silver Level

To help keep mold and mildew from growing ensure that the shower and tub surround either has no drywall behind it or has that one that is either coated or has a certified ASTM D 3273 rating on it. Only required for new shower and tub surrounds. 

Resources & Studies – https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/cement-board-installed-behind-tile-and-panel-tub-and-shower-enclosures#edit-group-scope

Verification 

Photos of the install and details on the product specs

Reduce embodied energy or upfront carbon in materials by xx%

Silver Level 10% | Gold 15% | Platinum 30%

Embodied Carbon or upfront energy is the amount of carbon released to build a new home or building before the building is started. It includes material extraction, production, transportation, and disposal. It also includes construction practices and processes as well as emissions from refrigerants. 

Passive Buildings of Canada and Builders for Climate action lead the first of it’s kind embodied energy study across Canada and until further studies are done, the GreenStar Homes program will require reductions from the average 154 kg CO2e/m2 per the level of 10% for silver, 15% for gold and 30% for platinum. 

Currently approved modeling tools that can be used include 

  1. Beam Estimator – https://www.buildersforclimateaction.org/beam-estimator.html
  2. EC3 Tool https://www.buildingtransparency.org/
  3. Passive Housing Planning Package Ribbon Software https://naphnetwork.org/phribbon/

Alternative approach 

Use one or more of these pathways

Silver Level Only

  1. Build a home or building with no concrete (besides landscape or site) to automatically meet this and not need to evaluate.
  2. Use Renewable Energy Credits to offset the exact carbon produced from construction
  3. Use only electricity and renewable-powered on-site construction or modular construction powered factory
  4. Add additional solar to the project (not allowed with Zero Energy Capable badge) to offset all embodied carbon

Any level alternative

Build a small single-family home of 800 square feet or lower or 600 square feet average units per multifamily building

Resources & Studies 

YouTube Webinar CE Playlist on embodied energy https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtOuBSUfZX7ohitcFl0mwMQD5tw_EY_b5

Canada Study on emissions

Click to access 833b9c_f872cdf803c34eec9acc7f0ef3840efc.pdf

Products that can help 

Compared to foam insulation, mineral wool reduced embodied energy and upfront carbon in most cases. Consider the use of Rockwool exterior insulation or batts https://www.rockwool.com/north-america/

Verification – Report out the tool results of the home and match them to the plan and specifications of the savings. 

Badge – Zero Embodied Carbon can be obtained by at least a 50% reduction and the remaining 50% through additional onsite solar or carbon offsets.

Balanced fresh air system installed and tested

Gold Level

Better ventilation systems regularly both supply fresh air and exhaust stale air at the same rate in compliance with the ASHRAE 62.2 2016 ( or higher) standard based number of bedrooms and square footage of the home. These systems may include a supply air vent fan as a standalone or in heating/cooling system and then exhaust air from a bath fan or other exhaust fan. 

An alternative approach – Natural ventilation is allowed in warmer climates. Options TBD

Resources & Studies – https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/whole-house-ventilation & GHI CE Webinar – How to improve the air with ventilation.

Products that can help

Panasonic select cycler can communicate with a bath fan and furnace intake to bring in the fresh air as needed.

https://na.panasonic.com/us/home-and-building-solutions/ventilation-indoor-air-quality/ventilation-systems/selectcyclerr-whole-house-ventilation-solution

Build Equinox CERV2 goes above and beyond ensuring balanced fresh air, air quality detection, and a built-in heat pump. https://buildequinox.com/

Verification 

During predrywall or installation confirm that the ducts do not have significant bends, turns, or drops to ensure proper flow. For verification photo document the device and label and use ventilation testing equipment to ensure proper flow to the ASHRAE 62.2 2016 ( or higher) standard which may also include results from a blower door test. 

Insulate cold water pipes or keep them out of unconditioned space

Gold Level

Cold water pipes running in unconditioned spaces may have moisture issues and cause water damage. Keep these pipes out of those spaces, add conditioning or insulate the pipes to R4. For existing homes insulate as much of the piping as can be reached. 

Resources & Studies – https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/insulating-plumbing-pipes

Verification 

Plumbing plans if present, photos of the installation of piping and location. 

Add an air quality sensor to the main the living area or ducts

Gold Level

With more affordable air sensors coming to the market it’s now easier than ever to know the continuous air quality in a home and help ensure the home is healthy long after the construction project. Ideally, you may want to use a device like this before you start a project to determine what the issues are. 

At a bare minimum, this shall be certified to the RESET standard and be able to measure 

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  • Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC)
  • Humidity 
  • Temperature 
  • PM2.5 

The device shall be set up and working and the homeowner needs to be trained on how to use it. 

Resources & Studies – https://www.reset.build/directory/monitors – Introduction to real time air quality monitoring and scores webinar – https://youtu.be/UdYDj5Ff2NM

Products that can help

Awair features an integrated and standalone air quality monitoring system that show air quality scores based on pollutant and communicates with a phone or PC to track air quality issues and patterns as well as sends notifications if there is an issue. Get Awair today https://www.getawair.com/

Verification 

Receipt of purchase of a product, photos of it being set up, and details on how to use it in the homeowner or tenant training manual.

Water heating is all electric or solar 

Gold Level

Water heaters should be all-electric or solar thermal. Best approaches include geothermal desuperheaters or air source heatpumps. Resistance water heaters are allowed but may be expensive to operate and have high energy consumption. 

Resources & Studies 

Can we heat our water better using the air? CE Webinar https://youtu.be/ZGDFzqJIxBw

Products that can help

The Rheem Proterra features one of the highest efficiency rated heat pump water heaters on the market with a building smart system for time of use setting, leak detection, temperature set, and maintenance notices.

https://www.rheem.com/group/rheem-hybrid-electric-water-heater-professional-prestige-series-hybrid-electric-water-heater

Verification 

Photos of installed device and label. 

Cooking is all-electric 

Gold Level

Induction cooking is ideal but resistance is allowable. 

Resources & Studies

The future of the sustainable kitchen induction cooking webinar – https://youtu.be/QKJr1PHN4EA

Verification 

Photo of installed device

Dryer is all-electric 

Gold Level

A heat pump is the most efficient, but traditional works as well. Condensing dryers can allow for reduced penetrations in the walls which can leak air. The dryer should be certified energy star and it is recommended to be a smart dryer or have the ability to set it to dry at a later time. 

Verification 

Photo of installed dryer and label. 

Heating is dual fuel/hybrid or all-electric 

Gold Level

All heating systems that are gas-fired must have a heat pump integrated into them that can run when the temp gets cold down to a particular set point.  Newly installed systems in climate zone 4 + must-have cold-weather climate models or integrated geothermal. Projects with mini-splits that meet this are allowed. Occupants must be educated on how and when to make the switch. 

An alternative approach – Fireplaces used as backup heat in climate zone 4 + are allowed 

Resources & Studies – Heatpumps and gas – Cold Climate Dual Fuel Systems webinar https://youtu.be/_iNpK7E0L_U

Products that can help

Mitsubishi Intelli-HEAT has the ability to connect with an outdoor condenser and use a new or existing gas unit. https://www.mitsubishicomfort.com/commercial/products#residential

Verification 

Photo document of installed products inside and out, labels, and details on occupant education on how to operate system listed in the manual and training.

Tap water filtration added that is appropriate to the area

Gold Level

Our water is getting worse when it comes to quality and to protect our health a water filter such as reverse osmosis or other filtration application needs to be installed for at least the drinking water. Every water system is different so water quality testing needs to be for relevant local pollution that may be in the tap. 

RO systems should be ones that waste minimal water

An alternative approach 

Rainwater systems are allowed to help alleviate issues from the city or groundwater but they do present their own challenges through filtration and other protocols only need to be added where the rainwater system comes in and not necessarily at the tap. 

Resources & Studies

Introduction to air and water purification systems CE webinar https://youtu.be/WXoKjcBanc8

Verification 

Results of water tests at the tap water area and/or city or well area. Photos and specifications of the system installed. Details in the owner manual on how to maintain and operate.

Well water systems must use on-demand softeners when present

Gold Level

Water softeners when needed shall run automatically rather than at a setup based on the amount of water used. Make sure hardness is set to the appropriate level based on water testing. This is not needed for city water systems. 

Verification 

Photo of the system install 

If installing new wood products, do not use tropical OR make sure it is certified 

Gold Level

To help alleviate pressure on tropical forests please specific FSC or SFI certified wood products if you are using wood, not from North America or Europe.

Resources & Studies

Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Green Building CE Webinar https://youtu.be/sdFbo_MMUaE

Verification 

Chain of custody documentation of wood products that are installed from tropical areas. A letter from the lumber supply house stating no tropical wood is being used is helpful. 

All ducts are fully ducted and none are panned in the joists 

Platinum Level

New and existing duct systems need to be fully ducted either hard or flex to ensure a better functioning HVAC system that reduces energy loss, moisture issues and increases comfort. Ideally, ducts should be fully sealed with tape or mastic and tested for low duct leakage though this is not required.  Existing duct systems must be repaired to be fully ducted. 

An alternative approach 

Going ductless or using ductless mini-splits 

Radiant systems 

Using a blown-in duct agent in existing home projects to achieve energy-star homes v3 duct leakage levels may be allowable when the expense of replacing all ductwork is of concern. This will be taken on a case-by-case basis. 

Existing ductwork that panned in the joist may be used for the ERV / HRV or supply air fan when using alternative heating and cooling. 

Resources & Studies https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/building-cavities-not-used-supply-or-return-ducts

Products that can help

Mitsubishi has many ducted air source heatpumps and ductless systems as well that use hyper heat to work in very cold climates. 

https://www.mitsubishicomfort.com/residential/products/horizontal-ducted-hvac#scrolled?modelID=SEZ

Verification 

Onsite inspection by GreenHome Inspector and photo documentation of duct systems.

All Heating is all-electric 

Platinum Level

The main space heating system cannot be combustion-based and must be powered by electricity. Ideally, a heat pump system whether ground or air will be the most efficient. 

An alternative approach 

Passive solar water heating systems may be acceptable in appropriate climates combined with passive solar heating. 

Resources & Studies 

GHI youtube heat pump playlist has all the education and detail you need for heat pump systems air or ground https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtOuBSUfZX7rIzaVm8XYhYkLGZXtdT2ro

NEEP has a great resource page including details, product lists, and installation guides for cold weather climate air source heatpumps https://neep.org/high-performance-air-source-heat-pumps/air-source-heat-pump-installer-and-consumer-resources

Products that can help

Mitsubishi offers multiple solutions for heating and cooling efficiency and all electrically using ductless, ducted furnace-like systems and ducted mini-split systems. They also have VRF for commercial solutions. Their system uses hyper heat to keep operating when it is cold.  Check out all their products here https://www.mitsubishicomfort.com/residential/products/wall-mounted-heating-and-cooling?modelID=MSZ-FS

Build Equinox has an all-in-one heating, cooling, and ventilation system that can work as a standalone in some smaller or milder climates or pairs well to distribute Mitsubishi mini-split air.  https://buildequinox.com/

Verification 

Photos of installation both inside and outside. Photos of labels. 

Ventilation includes energy/heat recovery or smart features 

Platinum Level

Approach 1 – The home will have balanced ventilation with heat (HRV) or energy (ERV) recovery to ventilate the entire living space to ASHRAE 62.2 2016 ( or higher) standard based number of bedrooms and square footage of the home.

Approach 2 – Have a smart system that works in coordination with the balanced system to detect poor air quality and ventilate the space as needed based on the settings of the system. 

The system will need to be able to sense and detect these features including range will need to be able to detect and turn on to exhaust PM2.5 unless a balanced system provides air to the cooking area. The system shall operate in all bathrooms and kitchens at the least and be able to sense and take action to expel pollutants that include

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  • Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC)
  • Humidity 
  • Temperature 
  • PM2.5 

If approach 2 is used it meets the air quality monitoring requirement in the Gold level even if not RESET certified 

An alternative approach 

Resources & Studies

GHI youtube playlist on smart ventilation and air quality monitoring systems https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtOuBSUfZX7q665D9dr_7lKLZFqvotPPV

Products that can help

Build Equinox CERV2 monitors air pollution in the home such as CO2 and TVOCS and ramps to exhaust when levels are high but run low saving energy when the air quality in the home is good. https://buildequinox.com/

Panasonic offers several solutions fitting smaller projects with decentral nonduct systems up to larger projects requiring fully ducted 200 CFM energy recovery ventilators. 

https://na.panasonic.com/us/home-and-building-solutions/ventilation-indoor-air-quality/energy-recovery-ventilators

Also, they offer a monitoring switch system that can communicate with bath fans, air supply, and rangehood to detect air quality and exhaust as needed.

https://na.panasonic.com/ca/home-building-solutions/smart-devices/

Verification 

Photos and specifications on the system as well as ventilation testing data. Details on homeowner/tenant training and operations need to be presented as well. 

Humidity control is present where appropriate by climate 

Platinum Level

Being able to control humidity both when it is humid and dry is very important for health and durability. Additional dehumidification also reduces A/C demand and overall energy use and can ensure dryer air in the shoulder seasons. Whole-home dehumidification or humidification shall be installed in appropriate climates and be able to maintain 40 – 50 dewpoint at all times. 

An alternative approach 

Natural humidity control can be done in appropriate climates and verified through air quality monitoring to ensure it is done. 

Resources & Studies

GHI Youtube webinar playlist on humidity control https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtOuBSUfZX7p1tTry_ythnUO0iRJpve3L

Products that can help

AprilAire dehumidification & humidification devices help ensure homes are comfortable and healthy in water and energy efficient matter. 

https://www.aprilaire.com/whole-house-products/dehumidifiers

https://www.aprilaire.com/whole-house-products/humidifier

Controlling vapor in the building shell also helps ensure proper humidity levels. Rockwool insulation helps with this https://www.rockwool.com/north-america/products-and-applications/products/

Verification 

Photos and labels of installed systems. Details on how to use and to maintain the system should be present in the homeowner manual and walkthrough. 

Advanced plumbing or hot water test passed

Platinum Level

Following the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Requirments Rev 7 page 7 “No more than 0.6 gallons (2.3 liters) of water shall be collected from the hot water fixture before hot water is delivered. Only the fixture with the greatest stored volume between the fixture and the hot water source (or recirculation loop) needs to be tested. To field verify that the system meets the 0.6 gallon (2.3 liter) limit, verifiers shall first initiate operation of on-demand recirculation systems, if present, and let such systems run for at least 40 seconds….Next, a bucket or flow measuring bag (pre-marked for 0.6 gallons) shall be placed under the hot water fixture. The hot water shall be turned on completely and a digital temperature sensor used to record the initial temperature of the water flow. Once the water reaches the pre-marked line at 0.6 gallons (approximately 24 seconds for a lavatory faucet), the water shall be turned off and the ending temperature of the water flow (not the collection bucket) shall be recorded. The temperature of the water flow must increase by ≥ 10 °F.”

Resources & Studies 

Review the GHI CE Webinar Practically Perfect Plumbing https://youtu.be/Lf9IVa35O_A

Products that can help

Verification 

Complete and document the hot water test as listed above. 

Water leak detection and real-time metering

Platinum Level

Similar to energy monitoring, water needs to be able to be monitored in real-time to determine water usage, waste, and savings opportunities. The water metering system also needs to be able to detect if water is flowing for an inappropriate amount of time and may show a leak is present and be able to shut down the water flow if there is a leak automatically or inform the occupant or building owner to turn the water off. 

Verification 

Photos of the device installed and details of the device. Occupant manual and training should include details on how to operate and track water use as well as what to do in case of a leak.

No combustion fireplace present indoors

Platinum Level

Ensure no combustion-based fireplace is installed indoors or if one exists it should be removed. An electric fireplace is allowed. 

An alternative approach 

Allowed as a backup heating source in climate zones 4+ in the case of a power outage and no backup is available. 

Verification 

Photos of site verifying to the fireplace. Details on plans or lack thereof. 

Home appliances made for the time of use/peak load avoidance

Platinum Level

Approach 1 

Having devices that can be programmed to operate when the grid is low to know carbon is required, these can either be smart devices connected to the internet or have the ability to be set to run until a certain time. These include 

  1. Dishwasher 
  2. Clothes washer 
  3. Dryer 
  4. Water heater (unless geothermal or solar) 

Approach 2

Install an in-home battery system that can be set up to keep the home off of the local peak or put the home on a time of use plan set up by the local utility. 

Products that can help

The Rheem Proterra Water Heater allows to set the device up to operate and heat water during off-peak times only.  Experimental programs work with this device and utilities to have the water heater function like a battery.  https://www.rheem.com/group/rheem-hybrid-electric-water-heater-professional-prestige-series-hybrid-electric-water-heater

Verification 

Document details of each device, battery, and/or smart home system. Submit homeowner operations manual showing how to set these devices up and ensure they work to keep home off-peak with a local utility program.

Home breaker box 200 amp and can fit future solar & electric car chargers 

Platinum Level

Ensure the breaker box is set up to add future solar power and electric car charging. This automatically met if there is already solar and one car charger.  Homes or buildings with no solar access can skip this. Projects in areas with a walk score of 85 + can skip the car charger. An appropriate electrical outlet should be wired and set up in the garage or near the parking area. 

Resources & Studies 

https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/05/f22/PV-Ready%20Checklist.pdf

Verification 

Completed solar-ready checklist, photos of details from the checklist, and breaker box. 

Floorscore or Green Label Plus on new carpet

Platinum Level

All new carpets shall be certified to Floorscore or Green Label plus to ensure reduced VOCS. 

An alternative approach

Other air quality certifications for carpets may apply.  

Verification 

Photos of carpeting and specs