The Green Home Choice Program makes it easier for homeowners and builders to carry out a green home building project by providing support, a point-based scoring system and guidance manual, and County-sponsored plan review and inspections toward certification. As a participant in the program, please follow the steps outlined below. At any point in the process, if you have questions or suggestions for the program, please contact the program manager at 703-228-4792. Thank you for your participation!
Snapshot of the Process
|Step 1||Step 2||Step 3||Step 4||Step 5|
|Review the Green Home Choice (GHC) Program materials:
|Contact and meet with the GHC Program Manager early in the project design process.||Submit a draft Scoresheet and Application form to the GHC Program Manager for review and approval prior to submission with the County building permit application.||Request and complete the two necessary site visits with the GHC Program Manager and create a Homeowners Manual.||Complete the process with the GHC Program Manager and receive your certificate!|
Detailed Process Instructions
Step 1) Review the Green Home Choice (GHC) Program Materials: Application, Guidance Manual, and Scoresheet.
Download the Guidance Manual, Scoresheet, and Application form and review them. This Guidance Manual is simply an explanation of each of the items found on the Scoresheet. The Scoresheet is a listing of all of the available credits that can be earned within the GHC certification process.
Step 2) Contact and meet with the GHC Program Manager early in the project design process.
Call 703-228-4792 or email email@example.com early in the design phase for a preliminary meeting to discuss your project goals and sustainable design concepts, ask questions, and review the program with the Program Manager. You should bring your draft GHC Scoresheet with some of the items that you are thinking about doing in your project and any design/building plans that you may have with you to this first meeting. If you are a homeowner and have already selected an architect or contractor, it is suggested that you bring them with you. A meeting with the building contractor is required at some point prior to start of construction to make sure that he/she understands the program and its requirements. If the project is a new home, an Energy Rater must be hired early in the design process to provide energy modeling, testing, and either a Home Energy Rating (HERS) score, and/or a ENERGY STAR qualified home certification for the project, depending on what certification level you are seeking. It is suggested that this person be involved in early design meetings for the project as well. An Energy Rater can also be an extremely helpful resource in renovation projects to make sure that your house is as efficient and safe as possible. Please see the GHC scoresheet for alternate energy compliance paths that involve Energy Raters.
Step 3) Submit a draft Scoresheet and application form to the GHC Program Manager for review and approval/signature prior to submission with the County building permit application.
A second short meeting will generally occur to review the draft Scoresheet and Application. At this meeting, the Program Manager will work with the building contractor (if applicable), architect, homeowner, and possibly an energy professional (if applicable), to finalize the project Scoresheet and designs for submittal with the building permit applications. At this point, if the Program Manager is satisfied that the applicant can meet the project’s stated goals and that the project team is capable of achieving GHC certification, the Program Manager will sign the GHC application. The program manager’s signature is required prior to submitting a building plan to Inspections Services for review and to receive your building permit. Please make sure that the GHC Program Manager also receives an electronic copy of your GHC Scoresheet.
The GHC Scoresheet and application will be submitted electronically online with the building permit plans. The online system will ask you if you are doing a GHC project, and if you answer “Yes”, it will ask you to attach your application and scoresheet to your building permit application.
You will get expedited architectural plan review as a benefit of your participation. The reviewers will give you feedback on basic structural and code issues related to your plans, and will review your GHC Scoresheet in coordination with the plans. With your green plans approval, you are now formally accepted in the Green Home Choice Program and are eligible to receive your building permit.
Please ask the GHC Program Manager for a Green Home Choice yard sign for your project or for the logo to add to your own sign. You receive a point on the Scoresheet for doing this. If you are a building professional working on the project, you can request that your name be added to the Green Home Choice Participating Professionals list at this point in the process.
Step 4) Request and complete the two necessary site visits with the Program Manager and create a Homeowner’s Manual.
Once construction is underway, your green home project will be visited by the Green Home Choice Program Manager at two key points in the process: just before drywall goes up/insulation inspection and right before or after your final building inspection. Please note that official County Code-based insulation and final inspections by the Building Inspectors are required in addition to your Green Home Choice site visits. For renovation projects, another site visit or two may be desired to go over final plans for insulation and air sealing and for reviewing air sealing work just prior to insulation. Please coordinate these visits with the GHC Program Manager.
Two or three days prior to your two “green-specific” building inspections (insulation and final), please also call the GHC Program Manager at 703-228-4792 or email her to let her know when you would like the visit to be scheduled. At the site visit, the GHC Manager will initial the Scoresheet in all places that are relevant. The GHC Manager will do a final visual review of the project and scoresheet close to the time of the final building inspection and complete the project certification at that time.
The Homeowner’s Manual should be completed at the time of final building inspection or if not, shortly thereafter. The manual must include the original, signed GHC Project Scoresheet with the Program Manager’s initials from both site visits. The manual must also display all of the “Product Information” and other noted items in the “Required Documentation” column of the GHC Project Scoresheet along with a bulleted list of all of the green features of the home. Please see the GHC Guidance Manual for a detailed list of items that may be included in your Homeowner’s Manual.
Step 5) Complete the certification process with the Program Manager and receive your certificate.
As noted above, the GHC Program Manager must do a final review of the home and the Homeowner’s Manual to complete the certification process. Once the final site visit has been conducted and enough points have been demonstrated to complete certification and the Program Manager is satisfied with the manual, she will do a final sign-off of the project certification. You will also be invited to the annual GHC recognition ceremony with the County Board and will receive your official GHC certificate at that time.