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Green Home Choice Certification Process

The Green Home Choice Program makes it easier for homeowners and builders to carry out a green home building project through its certification process. The program includes a point-based scoring system and guidance manual, and site visits that lead to 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!

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Review the Green Home Choice (GHC) Program materials: Application,
Guidance Manual and Scoresheet.
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 Certification Process with the GHC Program Manager and receive your certificate.


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. The 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 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 e-mail 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 GHC 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 ENERGY STAR qualified home certification for the project. It is suggested that this person be involved in early design meetings for the project as well.

ENERGY STAR certification is required for all new construction homes in the Green Home Choice Program. It is not required for renovation and/or addition projects, although another form of energy modeling and testing may be require for those projects.

Step 3)  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.

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 leave a copy of your signed score sheet with the GHC Program Manager! This is the copy that the Manager will use when doing your two site visits.

The GHC Scoresheet and application will be submitted with the building permit plans at the Inspection Services Division front counter. Please make three (3) copies of the GHC application and the GHC Scoresheet and staple that package onto the front (top left corner) of your building plan sets that you submit for permit. When the plans are delivered to the Permit Counter, please let the Inspection Services staff that this is a green home project. The staff should mark your plans: “Green Home Choice” in green marker and enter it into the Permits Plus system as a green project. You will get expedited architectural plan review as a benefit of your participation. Your green plan reviewer will either be Mari Cote, 703-228-4428 or Shinaze Saleh, (703) 228-3856. 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 add the logo 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 under way, 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.

Two or three days prior to your two “green-specific” building inspections (insulation and final), please also call your 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.

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 during the fall following your certification and will receive your official GHC certificate at that time.