Green Building Programs

AES’ Role is to provide education and support for any of these programs to builders and project teams.  With the vast experience we’ve accumulated, we prefer to work with programs that have performance-based verification, as these programs emphasize tangible results.

Whether you choose LEED certification or another third-party verification program, AES has the expertise to help you determine which programs best meet your goals, and we will help you implement them.

Residential Energy Performance Score

The core of REPS  is in the CakeSystems software which is built on the SIMPLE algorithm developed by nationally recognized energy efficiency expert, Michael Blasnik. CakeSystems was designed to provide an auditing tool to an industry that lacked a way to provide the sweet spot of fast, accurate and flexible. With CakeSystems, you have the ability to generate an easy-to-understand Energy Analysis Report quickly. CakeSystems is designed to reduce typical barriers to action and to motivate a homeowner to engage a contractor to start a project. The Rater must be a professional BPI or HERS rater. The score is from 0 – 70 with a home that is 0 – 20 is a “gas guzzler” to decent, 20 – 40 is a pretty good home for energy and 40 + is high performance to netzero. Learn more here

Home Energy Rating Score – HERS

This program is equivalent to a Miles Per Gallon rating to your house and can determine your likely energy costs per year. The program consists of a RESNET certified HERS rater who will come out to do energy testing using a blower door to determine air leakage in the home, look at insulation quality, amount and instillation  and the homes appliances, heating & cooling equipment and windows/doors. After taking the into consideration a number from 0 – 200 is given. A standard of 100 is for a 2006 energy code home. Energy Star Homes score at 70 and zero energy homes can be found at 30 or lower. Old leaky and uninsulated homes can usually be found at  130 or more. More details @


The first national program for measuring and verifying the energy performance of a home has been revised several times.  The latest release of the program, Version 3, went into effect on January 1, 2012, and is significantly different from previous versions. The new scope of work includes addressing potential moisture problems and inspecting HVAC system installations in addition to performing energy testing on the home (blower door, thermal infrared camera, air duct leakage test, and more).

GreenStar Remodeling & New Homes

GreenStar is a leading residential building standard and certification program created for Green Remodels of Existing Homes. The program promotes healthy, durable, high-performance design and construction across 5 key catagories; Energy Efficiency, Water Conservation, Indoor Environmental Quality, Site and Community Impact and Resource Efficiency.  Fundamental to the program is an objective, third-party verification system that assures consumers that the new home or remodeling project performs as designed. Details:

LEED for Homes, Multi Family & Midrise/Mixed Use

LEED for Homes is a rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes. It starts with ENERGY STAR for Homes program and expands that to be more comprehensively sustainable. A green home uses less energy, water and natural resources, creates less waste, and is healthier and more comfortable for occupants. Every LEED home must first meet ENERGY STAR standards (see above). Benefits of a LEED home include lower energy and water bills; reduced greenhouse gas emissions; and less exposure to mold, mildew and other indoor toxins. The net cost of owning a LEED home is comparable to that of owning a conventional home. LEED is a broad, performance-based standard that incorporates energy efficiency, indoor air quality, water efficiency, materials, and location efficiency. The program will be updating to Version 4 after November 2013. Learn more. Does your project qualify? Register a project 

Enterprise Green Communities

“Enterprise Green Communities is transforming the way America thinks about, designs, builds, and rehabilitates affordable housing. Green building integrates materials and methods that promote environmental quality, economic vitality, and social benefits through design, construction, and operation of the built environment. Enterprise Green Communities aligns affordable housing investment strategies with environmentally responsive building practices.” – Green Communities Manual. Green Communities is a free to use online tool and submittal for certification. It requires the HERS index and Energy Star Version 3 and also works for mid & highrise projects.  – Learn More


ZeroStep Accessibility Certification 

Are Homes Sustainable if they are not Accessible? Twenty percent of Americans have accessibility needs and that number is growing.  ZeroStep ™ helps to influence the design, development, construction, and use of new and existing homes through training, education, design review and third party verification/certification of proper Universal Design construction and remodeling. ZeroStep 2.0 Development is underway and will include not only Universal Design but opportunities and guidance on Aging In Place, ADA, Assistive Technology, Visibility and other necessary accessibility issues. Be on the look out for program upgrade by Spring 2014. Learn More! 

National Green Building Standard

Developed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the NGBS is an ANSI-approved green building rating system. Since it provides a flexible, expansive point-based system for certification, it also offers builders a process to build affordable green homes that meets their goals, appropriate for the climate, and meets the needs of the market and homebuyers.

Green Built Michigan 

For those interested in residential green building, Green Built Michigan is a valuable resource providing residential certification through a third-party verification system and the use of the NAHB Model Green Home Guidelines. Homes built to these guidelines will have higher standards of site management and waste recycling, water efficiency, indoor air quality, energy efficiency, materials, and homeowner education. Learn more about each of these components of a Green Built home. More details at

Passive House

Passive House is both a building energy performance standard and a set of design and construction principles used to achieve that standard. The Passive House standard is the most stringent building energy standard in the world: buildings that meet the standard use 80 percent less energy than conventional equivalent buildings, and provide superior air quality and comfort.

A systems-based design strategy carefully models and balances a comprehensive set of factors including heat emissions from appliances and occupants–to keep the building at comfortable and consistent indoor temperatures throughout the heating and cooling seasons. Continuous mechanical ventilation of fresh filtered air, assures superb air quality. Visit Passive House Alliance US where you will find a library of additional PH information in the library of: Videos; Articles; Books; Blogs; Tools, etc. as well as a directory of professionals around the US and Canada who can provide PH services to the consumer in need..

AES is heading up the Michigan Passive House Alliance Group – Click here to learn more and get involved 

See more information & technical details here

Energy Code & Green Program Comparison Matrix of Energy Efficiency Measures. 

Living Building Challenge 

The Living Building ChallengeTM is the built environment’s most rigorous performance standard. It calls for the creation of building projects at all scales that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature’s architecture. To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements, including net zero energy, waste and water, over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.

Confused on which program to utilize?

Making Sense of GreenHome Certifications & Labels 101

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