1403 Brandt | Making sense of the Austin Energy Green Rating System

Green is a great color, especially when you are talking about the efficiency of your Austin home. The Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) Single-Family Home Rating was put in place by the City of Austin, as the first successful program of its kind in the Nation. The rating system is on a 150 point scale, with 150 points or more equaling the highest rating of 5 stars. What does it take to reach 5 stars, and what does that mean?
I know a 5 star green rated home in Austin, and I have seen it in action. There is a home on the east side of Austin, with easy access to both Highway 71 and Highway 183, at 1403 Brandt Drive. It is literally 8 minutes from Downtown Austin, a stone’s throw from the Colorado River, and it’s 5 star Green rated! What does it take to be a 5 star green rated home? Each home is inspected, and then verified by an independent third party, along several metrics: Energy use and efficiency, Water usage and conservation, Materials used, Health and safety in the environment, and Community and neighborhood context. Every home must meet these requirements:

  • Maximum of 1 ton of cooling per 500 square feet of living space
  • Minimum of 14 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) cooling equipment
  • Energy efficient windows, <0.55 U Factor (thermal conductance)
  • Access to sturdy grab bars for showers and tubs (safety)
  • Gas water heater efficiency
  • Vented fireplaces
  • Exterior venting for cooktops and bathrooms with tubs/showers
  • Minimum of 2 ceiling fans
  • Minimum of 75% Energy star compliant light bulbs
  • Low VOC (volatile organic component) interior paint
  • Minimum of 2 toilets selected from a preset list of efficient appliances
  • Planting beds outside have a minimum depth and composition
  • Minimum of 90% of exterior plants from a Native Texas plant list
  • Meeting all current City codes regardless of location
This list goes beyond pure “energy efficiency” to include safety elements, design factors, and community considerations. Number and location of windows, floor plan and overall layout of the home, type of building materials, pest control systems, landscaping, and location of the home in reference to community resources are all additional graded components. The points are received for each requirement that is met, and no single or group of factors will amount to a considerable gain. The home must be well-rounded and contain all of the components to reach the highest star-rating. A specific example of a 5 star rating, 1403 Brandt Drive has a long list of achievements. The home is brand new (completed in 2009), has utility bills that are under $50 a month, and is designed to last longer than a typical home. Coupled with the energy efficiency is the fact that it’s a gorgeous home nestled in a quiet community on a big backyard with a creek. Designed for someone who loves nature and wants a secluded setting but also wants the urban lifestyle through easy access to Downtown…this home has it all!

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GoodLife Realty
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Krisstina and Garry Wise founded GoodLife Team to fulfill their vision of the future of real estate.