Sustainability Consultations

Our line of services is designed to identify cost effective and energy saving measures for residential, multifamily and commercial properties.  We work with Architects, Builders, Developers, Contractors, Homeowners and Real Estate Professionals as a trusted independent third-party. We find the best suited building programs available and apply our access to millions of dollars worth of consumer research to every project.

We are a Leader with LEED

LEED FOR HOMES LEED for Homes is a rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green multifamily buildings and single family homes. Green homes use less energy, water and natural resources, create less waste, and are more durable and comfortable for occupants.

LEED for Homes is a national, voluntary certification system developed by national experts and experienced builders that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes built with sustainable practices. This program includes affordable housing, mass-production homes, custom designs, stand-alone single-family homes, duplexes and townhouses, suburban and urban apartments and condominiums and lofts in historic buildings.  LEED homes use less energy, water and natural resources, create less waste, and are more durable and comfortable for occupants.

We specialize in LEED for Homes Green Ratings. Our Verification Team is second to none and our experience shows.

LEED for Homes  certification is based on 18 prerequisites and 67 credits. The prerequisites are mandatory for every project, and no points are awarded for meeting them. To achieve certification, project teams earn credit points by exceeding the minimum standards of the prerequisites. A total of 136 credit points is available within 8 categories. Required third-party verification and performance testing differentiate and add value to the LEED for Homes rating system.

The USGBC recommends the Verication Team (green rater and provider) should be involved as early in the project as possible. One of the core strengths of the LEED for Homes program is that the green components are all verified by a third party. Third-party verification is essential to the integrity of the program because it gives prospective home buyers confidence and reassurance.

The entry level to high-performance home building.

ENERGY STAR FOR NEW HOMES ENERGY STAR certified new homes are designed and built to standards well above most other homes on the market today, delivering energy efficiency savings of up to 30 percent when compared to typical new homes. A new home that has earned the ENERGY STAR label has undergone a process of inspections, testing, and verification to meet strict requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), delivering better quality, better comfort, and better durability. When ENERGY STAR requirements are applied to new home construction, an integrated approach to design combined with tried-and-true best building practices adds up to a home with better durability, comfort and reduced utility and maintenance costs. ENERGY STAR certified homes are designed and built to include value-adding energy efficiency features and a combination of materials and equipment that deliver better performance.  Many of these features are behind walls, in the attic, and under the foundation. ENERGY STAR certified new homes offer better energy efficiency and performance compared to other homes, making them a better value for today and a better investment for tomorrow.

  • Homes earning the ENERGY STAR label use 20-30 percent less energy than typical new homes, and even more when compared to most resale homes on the market today.
  • Together, families who purchased homes earning the ENERGY STAR label save more than $350 million each year on their utility bills.
  • Should the time come to consider selling, the ENERGY STAR label will set the home apart as something better: a home of genuine quality, comfort, and efficiency.

A LOWER HERS RATING IS A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE. Homeowners want them. The MLS is listing them. Are you building them? Guess how many homes in Texas were measured using the HERS Index in 2013?  45,365!  3,401 was the combined average for all other states.

HERS RATINGS The HERS Index provides homebuyers with an easy to understand metric for a homes energy efficiency.  The HERS Rating actually gives buyers a means of comparing the cost-effectiveness of the homes energy efficient features with other homes.  For builders the HERS Ratings provide an easy to use tool to differentiate themselves from the competition, while at the same time giving their customers the energy efficient features they want. A home energy rating involves an analysis of a home’s construction plans and onsite inspections. Based on the home’s plans, the Home Energy Rater uses an energy efficiency software package to perform an energy analysis of the home’s design. This analysis yields a projected, pre-construction HERS Index. Since a rating quantifies the energy performance of a home, the HERS Index provides an easily understandable means to compare the relative energy efficiency of different homes.  And a home energy rating is a recognized tool in the mortgage industry.  To learn more why asking for the HERS Index of a home is the smart way to sell and buy a home click here –> RESNET HERS Index.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY | ZERO ENERGY READY HOME The Zero Energy Ready Home is a way for builders to be recognized as a leader. Eventually Zero Energy Ready Home is promoting zero energy ready homes across the country. Every Challenge Home offers a cost-effective, high performance package of energy savings, comfort, health, and durability unparalleled in today’s marketplace.

Since 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Home program has recognized hundreds of leading builders for their achievements in energy efficiency—resulting in over 14,000 energy efficient homes and millions of dollars in energy savings. The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home — an ambitious successor to the Builders Challenge program — represents a whole new level of home performance, with rigorous requirements that ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health, and durability.

The Building Technologies Program (BTP) offers recognition to leading edge builders meeting extraordinary levels of excellence through the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program. By taking the challenge, builders gain competitive advantage in the marketplace by providing their customers with unparalleled energy savings, quality, comfort, health, durability, and much more.  And all DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes are verified by a qualified third-party.

Climate Specific & Homegrown
The countries first green building program created in 1990, Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) remains one of the nation’s most successful sustainable building program.

AUSTIN ENERGY GREEN BUILDING | EXTENDED AREA Austin Energy Green Building promotes the design, construction, and operation of higher-quality, more-sustainable buildings.  This local trailblazing program is the oldest green building program in the country, and is designed to reflect Central Texas’ hot-humid climate, resources, and building conditions.  The City of Austin created the nation’s first green building program in 1990. Austin Energy Green Building is now the nation’s most successful sustainable building program. Austin Energy Green Building:

  • Is a model for other green building programs nationwide.
  • Was the first green building program in the nation.
  • Promotes progressive changes to national and international energy conservation codes.
  • Received awards from the National Association of Homebuilders and the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • Is a charter member of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Austin Energy’s Residential Green Building Program promotes the design, construction, and operation of higher-quality, more-sustainable buildings and rates projects on a scale of one to five stars, with five stars as the greenest. As a AEGB trained and certified Extended Area Rater we offer builder support, inspections, and compliance reviews of program credits. We also submit documentation for review and certification.  We help construction professionals achieve higher-quality results by emphasizing green-building principles and teamwork at every stage of a project.

IECC CODE COMPLIANCE | DIAGNOSTIC TESTING Our Diagnostics and Building Performance Tests will provide you with detailed scientific results using a wide variety of equipment.  Building solely to the code-minimum is building just to the minimum acceptable by law. One small oversight, and suddenly illegal homes are being built, potentially without the builders knowledge. Using an independent third-party to test and verify the homes is the clear pathway to building profitable high-performance homes. Scientific Building Performance and Diagnostic Testing will provide you with detailed results on your homes energy features using a wide variety of equipment and is extremely useful for building forensics..  The results will show if your home passes required code compliance, or passes green rating program requirements.  Our Testing can include any of the following:

  • Duct System Leakage
  • System Static Pressure
  • Room Pressure Differential
  • Thermal Infrared Imaging
  • Air Balancing
  • Combustion Appliance Safety Testing
  • Building Envelope Infiltration
  • Building Pressure Differential
  • Vapor Air Flow
  • Data Logger Information Gathering

When we add your buildings to Portfolio Manager, our preferred software tool for commercial energy benchmarking, you’ll be joining 40 percent of U.S. commercial building space that’s already benchmarked in Portfolio Manager — making it the industry-leading benchmarking tool. You’ll also be joining 35 percent of the Fortune 500®, half of the largest U.S. healthcare organizations, major league sports teams, colleges and universities, and entire cities.

Portfolio Manager is the tool of choice among cities such as Austin, New York, Seattle, and Boston that have passed mandatory benchmarking laws. Not only that, but Portfolio Manager is used by the Canadian Government as the platform for their national energy benchmarking program for existing commercial and institutional buildings.

We provide you with detailed reports that show you if your building is eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR Certification along with recommendations on how to make the building higher performance. The results of our reports are often an eye-opening experience on consumption and costs.

Non-compliance with the City of Austin ECAD ordinance is a criminal offence with fines up to $2,000 with each violation being a separate offence. All commercial properties (over 10,000 sq. ft.), multi-family facilities or residential homes that receive electricity from Austin Electric Utility must comply.

You don’t have to handle this annual requirement by yourself. Much the same way you use an accountant to take care of your taxes, we can submit your commercial building energy benchmark reports annually to the City. Benefit from our proven and tested streamlined process. We mitigate your risk with our experience, attention to detail and our custom reports, summaries and recommendations. We provide accurate results and submit the rating for you, and we’ll help you set and achieve energy goals and ENERGY STAR certifications.

An added benefit to the buildings being in compliance is they become eligible to participate in Austin Energy’s Power$aver Rebate Program.

If you’ve already submitted for this year, keep in mind that we can take care of all of that for you next year, with precision and accuracy.

Green Building Authority is an Austin Energy approved energy rating company.

As an ENERGY STAR partner serving the existing commercial buildings market, our company is featured on the Most Active SPPs List, in recognition of helping customers to benchmark buildings in Portfolio Manager and helping customers to earn the ENERGY STAR.

Commercial Properties
Commercial Properties must have an energy rating by June 1, with a recurring annual due date. Ratings are conducted either according to Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager system, under which buildings are given a score from 0-100, or by the Austin Energy automated internal process (new in 2015).

Multi-Family Properties
Multi-family properties of five or more units must have a specialized energy audit of the dwelling units. The energy audit must be done in the calendar year the property turns 10 years old and must be disclosed to current and prospective residents. You must make the results available to prospective residents when they apply for a lease. The prospective resident must be able to review the energy audit results before you accept any application fees.

Single-Family Homes
Homeowners must have the energy audit completed before the point of sale of the house. The owner is required to provide a copy of the energy audit to the purchaser or prospective purchaser before the time of sale.

We make it FAST – with quick turnaround service

We make it EASY – handling document submissions

We make it AFFORDABLE – with value pricing

We make it CLEAR – answering any questions you may have

HOME ENERGY CHECK-UP A Home Energy Check-Up  is the first step to assess how much energy your home consumes, and to evaluate what measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient. Our check-ups provide your home with a comprehensive inspection of your living environment, and show you problems that may, when corrected, save you significant money over time, and immediately impact the environment in a positive way. During the inspection, we will pinpoint where your home is losing energy and determine the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems. We will also show you ways to conserve hot water and electricity. We use a variety of techniques and equipment to determine the energy efficiency of a structure. When should you have a Comprehensive Home Energy Check-Up?

  • If you want lower utility bills for the life of your home.
  • If you want to increase your home’s value.
  • Before you sell your home.
  • Before you buy a home.
  • Before you install solar panels or other renewable energy sources.
  • Before you replace your HVAC system.
  • Before you renovate your home.
  • If your home has comfort or health issues.
  • If you want to be more environmentally conscious.

We want to insure that your projects costs are offset wherever possible, and that you don’t leave any money sitting on the table. Our research will provide you with the available rebates, credits and incentives where available.

REBATES
Rebates are available at the city, state and federal levels as well as from the utilities and manufacturers.

TAX CREDITS & TAX EXEMPTIONS
The federal government is offering homeowners financial incentives to make their homes more energy efficient. A home may also qualify for a property tax exemption if a Solar PV system is installed on the property.

Design Charrette
A Charrette is a meeting of design collaboration with the goal of devising a building plan that takes into account every discipline and trade involved. This collaborative effort defines responsibilities and roles and conducting a Charrette in the early design phase can often save thousands of dollars and valuable time and man-hours during construction.

Plan Reviews
Plan Reviews estimate the as-built home’s energy use based on the specifications of the plan. We will review the existing plans and enter them into our software system for Energy Modeling.

Energy Modeling
Energy Modeling allows exploration of scenarios to pick cost-effective measures for efficiency improvements without spending money and time on-site.

HVAC Design Review
Independent third-party review of HVAC designs to ensure accuracy.

Case Stories

LEED_banner
ESTAR_banner
HERS_banner

Certifications & Affiliations

Our certifications are a reflection of professional practices and a dedication to remaining at the leading edge of this ever-evolving industry.

  • USGBC
  • LEED-H Green Rater
  • ENERGY STAR
  • RESNET
  • RESNET Green Rater
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Zero Energy Ready Home
  • Austin Energy Green Building
  • Building Owners & Managers Assoc.

Statistics Tell a Story

LEED for Homes Units - Multifamily & Single family

Current USGBC LEED statistics as of November 20, 2014.

New homes to date that have earned ENERGY STAR.

In just one year, American families & businesses saved $24 billion on utility bills!

Number of HERS Rated Homes in Texas 2013

Texas builds more rated homes than any other state, 49 times more than California.  

The Only Number that Matters to Us

YOU.  The one thing that matters is you — our client.  Let’s start now!

Award Winning Marketing

awarded

Our Marketing and Design division provides you with the means to actually sell your properties.  We develop campaigns to bring buyers right to you, all while promoting your brand and communicating the unique features that distinguish you from the competition.

  • Website Development
  • Brand Identity
  • Print Collateral
  • Social Media
It’s not enough to just build beautiful high-performance buildings and homes — you also need to sell them.
We’re a 3-Time STAR AWARD Winner for Best Website & Cool Web Awards winner for 4 Consecutive Years.

Who better to conceptualize and execute marketing campaigns than an expert in your very field? This component is so critical that we created a dedicated marketing and sales division called Cloud 9 Creative Labs.  Cloud 9 provides you with a full arsenal of tools to sell your properties; custom websites, brand identity, micro-sites, print collateral and multi-media masterpieces. Your marketing should work in harmony with your commitment to high-performance building.  They should be inseparable – We understand that better than anybody.

Company Profile

Building is a science.  Sustainability is creative.  It’s merging the two that truly makes a building high-performance.

Green Building Authority, allows you to compete with the “big guys” without having to create a sustainability department. Your competition has resources dedicated to sustainability, innovation, and marketing.  We bridge that gap by leveling the playing field which allows our partners to compete.  We want to give you the same access to the same technological innovation your competitor receives. Furthermore, we believe we can do it economically, and save you both time and money, and lower risk.

As a member of your team, we can help you at every stage of your construction and/or remodeling project.  We will work with your team of architects, designers and contractors, while allowing them to do what they do best. And our commitment to continuing education and experimentation keeps us at the leading edge of this ever-evolving industry.

We synthesize and deliver the best building programs, certifications, and marketing for your building projects success. This is accomplished by working with you for the entire life-cycle of the building process; from design phase to marketing and sales.

Using building science principles we independently verify, test, rate, certify, report and develop complete targeted marketing campaigns. This beginning-to-end strategy is designed to help you achieve the goal of building and selling certified high-performance homes, multifamily properties and commercial buildings.

The United States is now in a race to build net-zero buildings as a standard. Where will you finish in this race and what pathways will you use?

Rick von Schnier
President | Founder

  • LEED for Homes™ Green Rater
  • LEED Green Associate – in progress
  • ENERGY STAR® Partner with Green Building Authority
  • HERS Rater and RESNET® Green Rater
  • Commercial Energy Auditor
  • Austin Energy Green Building Program Rater
  • Zero Energy Ready Home Verifier
  • Texas Home Energy Auditor
  • City of Austin ECAD Auditor
  • Comprehensive Home Energy Auditor
  • MFA | Carnegie Mellon University
  • BA | University of Northern Colorado
Service Area: Greater Austin & Central Texas
Phone: (512) 992-5847

We’re here to serve you.

We look forward to working with you from design phase to marketing and sales and all the components between.

Contact us today to get started.

Get in touch right now

Tell us what you need and we will respond within 24h!

captcha