Right Choice Standards

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All homes in the program must meet the requirements of the Georgia Energy Code, which is the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 2015 Edition with Georgia Supplements and Amendments.

*A copy of the supplements and amendments may be downloaded from www.dca.ga.gov/node/5689.

Download PDF Version of Certification and Standards

Program prerequisites are:

  1. Homes must be served by Jackson EMC.
  2. Homes must have heat pumps and electric resistance tank water heaters.
    (No electric or gas tank-less water heaters are allowed.)
  3. No unvented gas fireplaces allowed — direct vent gas fireplaces are allowed.

Air Sealing

Insulation and Windows Heating and Cooling Systems

Moisture and Indoor Air Quality

1. Air Sealing

Air sealing is required by IECC 2015 section GA R 402.4. Numbers in parentheses for A-X below refer to the “Air Barrier and Insulation Inspection Component Guide,” and the air sealing diagrams on pages 28-49 (Appendix A) of the Georgia State Supplements and Amendments to the IECC 2015, unless otherwise noted.

Blocking and Sheathing

A. Chases must be capped. (8)

B. Solid sheet must be installed behind tubs and showers on insulated walls. (13)

C. Attic knee walls must be sheathed. No bubble wrap allowed as insulation or air barrier. (1 & 8)

D. Stud cavities must be blocked from attic. Blocking or top plate will be needed at change in ceiling height and attic knee walls. (1 & 8).

Blocking or top plate will be needed at change in ceiling height and attic knee walls. (1 & 8).

E. Joist cavities under attic knee walls must be blocked. (1)

Pre-Insulation Air Sealing

F. Top and bottom plate penetrations must be sealed. (1 & 3)

G. Bottom plate must be sealed to poured wall, slab, or subfloor. (3)

H. Penetrations in exterior wall sheathing must be sealed. (8 & 12)

I. Window and door rough openings must be sealed (not chinked with insulation). (4)

J. Gaps greater than 1/8” between pieces of exterior sheathing must be sealed. (1)

K. Exhaust fan penetrations must be sealed at band joist. (1, 5, & 8)

L. Exterior walls of fireplace chase must be sheathed and sealed (including at combustion air inlet. (6 & 17).

M. Penetrations through insulated subfloor must be sealed. (1, 6 & 8)

N. Shower and tub drains must be sealed (rock wool/ fiberglass not acceptable) (12)

O. HVAC register boots that penetrate building envelope must be sealed to subfloor or drywall. (15)

P. Cantilevered floors must be sealed and insulated. (6)

Q. Gaps in chase caps and blocking must be sealed. (2 & 8)

R. Recessed can lights in insulated ceilings must be air-tight. (11)

Post-Drywall Air Sealing
S.
Ceiling mounted electrical fixtures, including lights, ceiling fans, and speakers in insulated ceilings must be sealed to drywall. (2 & 11)

T. HVAC register boots that penetrate building envelope must be sealed to subfloor or drywall. (15)

U. Attic knee wall doors must seal tight – this requires weather stripping and a latch. (2)

V. Attic scuttle holes must seal tight (GA R 402.2.4 R-10 min) – this requires weather stripping. (2)

W. Attic pull-down stairs located in conditioned space must seal tight and must be insulated to a minimum R5. (2)

W1. A sealed cover box with weather stripping is recommended. The preferred location is in an unheated space such as a garage. (2)

X. Exterior doors must have weather stripping and thresholds with a minimum R5. This includes all doors that penetrate the building envelope, which may include the door between the house and the basement. (GA R 402.2.4)

Testing
A requirement of Georgia State Supplements and Amendments to the IECC 2015.

Y. All homes must pass a blower door test with a result of less than 5 ACH50. (402.4.2.1)

Y1. All homes must comply with Georgia Energy Code regarding ventilation. (GA R 403.6)

Y2. If installing mechanical ventilation, lock-outs are required.

Z. Building envelope testing must be conducted by Right Choice Vallus Corp. certified DET technician (402.4.2.1.1).

2. Insulation & Windows

(Parentheses indicate Georgia State Supplements and Amendments to the IECC 2015, unless otherwise noted.)

A. Home must meet the overall U-value requirement and SHGC requirement of the Georgia Energy Code based on specifications provided by the builder. Right Choice will determine if the provided values meet energy code as part of the plan analysis. (Tables GA R 402.1.2, 402.1.4, & 402.1.6)

B. Insulation must be installed against a solid air barrier (OSB, drywall, concrete or solid sheet good). As an example, floor insulation must be installed in contact with the subfloor. (GA R 402.2.8)

C. Wall insulation must fill cavities completely and comply with the Georgia Energy Code (Pages 45-49 of GA amendments appendix RA GA Insulation Installation).

D. All areas of the attic must have vent openings. If there is a bonus room over the garage, the attic over the garage must be vented in addition to the main attic (IRC R 806). Power attic ventilators shall not be connected to the electric grid. Power attic ventilators connected to a solar panel are allowed. (GA R 403.13)

E. Blown attic insulation may not block soffit vents – baffles must be used to prevent blocking attic ventilation. (GA R 402.2.3)

F. A permanent certificate shall be completed by the builder or registered design professional which lists the predominant R-values of insulation installed in or on ceiling/roof, walls, foundation (slab, basement wall, crawlspace wall and/or floor) and ducts outside conditioned spaces; U-factors for fenestration and the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of fenestration. (GA R 401.3)

F1. Blown attic insulation must have rulers and an attic card in each accessible attic space. Insulation must have a depth throughout the attic that meets or surpasses the depth indicated on the card (GA Amendments appendix RA insulation).

G. For attic HVAC platforms, R-19 shall be deemed to meet R-38 ceiling for a maximum 32 inch wide passage to HVAC system. If more subfloor is desired, it must be raised up to provide room for the full ceiling R-value. (GA R 402.2.1)

H. Attic kneewalls must be insulated to a minimum of an R-18 value. R-13 + R-5 insulated sheathing; R-15 + R-3 sheathing; or R-19 compressed into a 2 X 6 cavity will meet R-18 requirement. Attic side shall have a sealed air barrier. (GA R Table 402.1.6 notes A & C)

I. When part of the building envelope, basement foundation walls must be insulated to a minimum of R-5 if continuous and R-13 if cavity. Consideration should be given for mold and moisture, and for termite inspection and treatment. (GA R Table 402.1.6) Concrete foundation walls may not be insulated with kraft-paper faced fiberglass batts. Unfaced batts, blown in cellulose, or perforated vinyl encapsulated batts are permitted.

J. Concrete foundation walls may not be insulated with kraft-paper faced fiberglass batts. Unfaced batts, blown in fiberglass, or perforated vinyl encapsulated batts are permitted. Floors over an unconditioned basement can be insulated instead of foundation walls.

Above Code.
K. Crawl space walls. As an alternative to insulating floors over crawl spaces, crawl space walls shall be permitted to be insulated when the crawl space is not vented to the outside. Exposed earth in unvented crawl space foundations shall be covered with a continuous Class I vapor retarder with 6 inches of overlap; then sealed or taped. (402.2.12)

L. Access doors from conditioned spaces to unconditioned spaces shall be weather-stripped and insulated: Hinged vertical knee wall doors, R-5 minimum; Attic scuttle holes, R-19; Pull down stairs in conditioned space, R-5 minimum. (GA R 402.2.4)

3. Heating and Cooling Systems

(Parentheses indicate Georgia State Supplements and Amendments to the IECC 2015, unless otherwise noted.)

Equipment

A. Heat Pump must be sized to Right Choice specification as determined by ASHRAE Fundamentals (GA R 403.7).

B. Indoor and outdoor units must be matched and AHRI rated.

C. Electric strip heat may only engage when heat pump is unable to meet or maintain the thermostat setting. (GA R 403.1.2)

D. Programmable thermostat—at least one thermostat per dwelling unit must be installed.

Ductwork

E. Duct joints and seams must be sealed with mastic or mastic tape, including the plenum seams and the duct liner to duct collar connection. 2015 GA code requires 2mm thickness of mastic (“Nickel Thick”) on all HVAC joints. (GA R 403.3.2 & GA R 403.3.6)

E1. Flex duct joints must also have straps securing the flex joint in addition to the mastic sealant.

F. Dampers are required to allow easy alteration of flow to each room on flex duct systems. For rigid duct systems, each room must have one damper that will control air to the supply ducts serving that room. It may be necessary to back up to the branch to install the damper to allow it to be accessible in the future.

G. Ducts must be sized and designed according to the principles outlined in ACCA Manual D or to achieve proper room air flow.

H. The return side of the duct system must be sized to carry at least as much air as the supply side of the duct system.

I. Stud cavities, joist cavities, and cabinets may not be used as ducts. If air must run through these spaces, ducts designed to fit inside those spaces must be used. (GA R 403.3.5)

J. No ducts may be run through roof-ceiling combos, exterior wall cavities, or wall cavities between the garage and house. (GA R 403.3.5)

K. Duct insulation must be at least R-8 in attics and R-6 for all others. Exception: ducts inside the building envelope. (GA R 403.3.1). *No bubble wrap allowed as duct insulation.

Zoned Systems

L. Must be designed and installed according to HVAC equipment manufacturer specifications. Every brand is expected to have its own set of installation and design instructions.

Testing

M. Total Supply and Return air flow must be 400 cfm/ton +/ - 10%.

N. Duct leakage must be less than 20 cfm per ton operating at 1/3 pressure utilizing the duct blaster.

4. Moisture and Indoor Air Quality

(Parentheses indicate Georgia State Supplements and Amendments to the IECC 2009, unless otherwise noted.)

A. All wood-burning fireplaces shall have gasketed doors and outdoor combustion air. (GA R 402.4.2 & GA R 402.4.4)

A1. All non-electric fireplaces must be vented to the exterior.

B. Grade must slope away from house a minimum of 5% (6” over 10 feet). (IRC 401.3)

C. Exhaust fans must be vented to the outside and are required in every room with a shower stall or bathtub. Exhaust ducts vented through soffits must penetrate soffit and end with a termination cap. (GA R 403.6)

D. Gutters must be present on the house and downspouts must direct water away from the foundation.

E. No polyethylene is allowed in above or below grade wall assemblies. Consideration should be given for mold and moisture, and for termite inspection and treatment. (GA R 402.2.11)

F. Crawl space walls: As an alternative to insulating floors over crawl spaces, crawl space walls shall be permitted to be insulated when the crawl space is not vented to the outside. Exposed earth in unvented crawl space foundations shall be covered with a continuous Class I vapor retarder with 6 inches of overlap; then sealed or taped. (GA R 402.2.11)

F1. ALL crawl spaces need 100% vapor barrier coverage. (GA R 402.2.11)


Black text: International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 2015 Edition with Georgia Supplements and Amendments

Blue text: Right Choice Standards