Right Choice Standards

All homes in the program must meet the requirements of the Georgia Energy Code, which is the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 2009 Edition with Georgia Supplements and Amendments. A copy of the supplements and amendments may be downloaded from www.dca.state.ga.us.

Download PDF Version of Certification and Standards
Download Powerpoint Version of Certification and Standards (19 MB)

Program prerequisites are:

  • Homes must be served by Jackson EMC
  • Homes must have heat pumps and electric water heaters
  • No unvented gas fireplaces allowed

Air Sealing

Insulation and Windows
Heating and Cooling Systems

Moisture and Indoor Air Quality

1. Air Sealing

(Air sealing is required by IECC 2000 section 502.1.4 Numbers in parentheses below refer to the air sealing diagrams on pages B-24 and B-25 of the Georgia Supplements and Amendments to the IECC 2000)

Blocking and Sheathing

A. Chases must be capped. (11 & 15)
Code Required.

B. Solid sheet must be installed behind tubs and showers on insulated walls. (2 & 10)
Code Required.

C. Attic kneewalls must be sheathed.
Recommended by Code.

D. Stud cavities must be blocked from attic.
Code Required.

Blocking or top plate will be needed at change in ceiling height and attic kneewalls. (18)
Code Required.

E. Joist cavities under attic kneewalls must be blocked. (17)
Code Required.

Pre-Insulation Air Sealing

F. Top and bottom plate penetrations must be sealed. (1)
Code Required.

G. Bottom plate must be sealed to poured wall, slab, or subfloor. (7)
Code Required.

H. Penetrations in exterior wall sheathing must be sealed.
Recommended by Code.

I. Penetrations in exterior wall sheathing must be sealed.
Code Required.

J. Gaps greater than 1/8" between pieces of exterior sheathing must be sealed. (8 & 9)
Code Required.

K. Exhaust fan penetrations must be sealed at band joist. (5)
Code Required.

L. Exterior walls of fireplace chase must be sealed (including at combustion air inlet).
Code Required.

M. Penetrations through insulated subfloor must be sealed.
Recommended by Code.

N. Shower and tub drains must be sealed (rock wool / fiberglass not acceptable) (14)
Code Required.

O. HVAC boots in insulated floors must be sealed to subfloor. (13)
Code Required.

P. Soffits must be sealed at cantilevered floors.
Recommended by Code.

Q. Gaps in chase caps and blocking must be sealed. (11 & 15)
Code Required.

R. Recessed can lights in insulated ceilings must be air-tight. (4)
Code Required.

Post-Drywall Air Sealing

S. Ceiling mounted electrical fixtures, including lights, ceiling fans, and speakers in insulated ceilings must be sealed to drywall. (6 & 12)
Code Required.

T. HVAC boots in insulated ceilings must be sealed to drywall. (13)
Code Required.

U. Attic kneewall doors must seal tight - this requires weatherstripping and a latch. (16)
Code Required.

V. Attic scuttle holes must seal tight - this requires weatherstripping. (19)
Code Required.

W. Attic pulldown stairs located in conditioned space must seal tight. A sealed cover box with weatherstripping is recommended. The preferred location is in an unheated space such as a garage.
Recommended by Code.

X. Exterior doors must have weatherstripping and thresholds. This includes all doors that penetrate the building envelope, which may include the door between the house and the basement.
Recommended by Code.

Testing

Y. All homes must pass a blower door test with a result of 0.50 ACH or less.
Recommended by Code.

(Parentheses indicate IECC 2000 code reference)

2. Insulation & Windows

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. (502.1.5 & 502.2.2)
Code Required.

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. (101.4.1)
Code Required.

C. Wall insulation must fill cavities completely.
Recommended by Code.

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.
Recommended by Code.

E. Blown attic insulation may not block soffit vents - baffles must be used to prevent blocking attic ventilation.
Recommended by Code.

F. Blown attic insulation must have rulers (one per 300 square feet) and have an attic card in each accessible attic space. Installed insulation must have a depth throughout the attic that meets or surpasses the depth indicated on the card. (102.5.1.1)
Code Required.

G. Limit the number of 4x8 sheets of subfloor installed in the attic. This application reduces the effectiveness of the ceiling insulation located under the subfloor. If more than two sheets of subfloor is desired, it is recommended that they must be raised up to provide room for the full attic height of insulation underneath.
Above Code.

H. Attic kneewalls must be insulated to a minimum of an R-19 value. (502.2.1)
Code Required.

I. Basement foundation walls must be insulated to a minimum of R-5 if they are part of the building envelope. (502.2.1)
Code Required.

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.

(Parentheses indicate IECC 2000 code reference)

3. Heating and Cooling Systems

Equipment

A. Heat pump must be sized to Right Choice specifications as determined by ASHRAE Fundamentals. (503.3.1)

B. Indoor and outdoor units must be matched and ARI rated.
Above Code.

C. Electric strip heat may only engage when heat pump is unable to meet or maintain the thermostat setting. (503.3.2.3)
Code Required.

Ductwork

D. Duct joints and seams must be sealed with mastic or mastic tape, including the plenum seams and the duct liner to duct collar connection. (503.3.3.4.3) Flex duct joints must also have straps securing the flex joint in addition to the mastic sealant.

E. Dampers are necessary to allow easy alteration of flow to each room on rigid 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.
Above Code.

F. Ducts must be sized and designed according to the principles outlined in ACCA Manual D.
Above Code.

G. 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.
Above Code.

H. 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.
Above Code.

I. No ducts may be run through roof-ceiling combinations, exterior wall cavities, or wall cavities between the garage and the house.
Above Code.

Zoned Systems

J. 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.
Above Code.

Testing

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

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

 

 

(Parentheses indicate IRC 2000 code reference)

4. Moisture and Indoor Air Quality

A. All fireplaces and other combustion equipment must be equipped with a flue and an outside combustion air supply. No ventless fireplaces are allowed.
Code Required (in tight homes).

B. Grade must slope away from house a minimum of 5% (6" over 10 feet). (R401.3)
Code Required.

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.
Above Code.

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

E. No polyethylene is allowed in above or below grade wall assemblies.
Above Code.

F. Crawlspace floors must have 100% coverage with polyethylene sheeting or have a concrete dust cover.
Above Code.

Black type: Program standards required by Georgia Energy Code
Orange type: Program standards recommended by Georgia Energy Code