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Model Green Building Guidelines


Model Green Home Building Guidelines, a set of voluntary national guidelines for green homebuilding, is available at no cost from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

The guidelines are designed to move environmentally friendly home building concepts into the mainstream marketplace, according to the NAHB. A growing number of communities throughout the U.S. have green home building programs in place or under development. The NAHB intends to assist adoption of green home building practices with these guidelines.

The guidelines consist of six primary sections, several of which will be of interest to HVAC professionals. The sections include:

Lot Preparation & Design
Resource Efficiency
Energy Efficiency
Water Efficiency/Conservation
Occupancy Comfort and Indoor Environmental Quality
Homeowner Guidance/Documentation


The Energy Efficiency section contains the only mandatory requirement in these otherwise voluntary guidelines. Builders are required to comply with the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code, use of ACCA manuals to size HVAC equipment, and third party plan review to verify compliance with this section.

The Water Efficiency/Conservation section contains guidelines for indoor and outdoor water use that can decrease overall water use and reduce utility bills.

The Occupancy Comfort/Indoor Environmental Quality section covers how to effectively manage moisture, ventilation and related matters related to home comfort.

The guidelines also include a checklist and a point system for rating the environmental performance of a home at bronze, silver or gold levels. For example, the builder can earn eight points for compliance with the “HVAC design, equipment and installation” guideline, “to size, design and install duct system using ANSI/ACCA Manual D or equivalent.”

Another eight points can be earned by designing a radiant or Hydronic space heating system using industry-approved guidelines such as those issued by the Radiant Panel Association or the Hydronic Institute Division of GAMA, or the recommendations of accredited design professionals and manufacturers.

Thirty-seven points in the Energy Efficiency are required to reach the bronze level, 62 points for the silver level and 100 points for the gold level.

The complete, 156-page document can be downloaded at no cost from www.nahbrc.org/greenguidelines.