Effective July 1, Santa Fe, N.M., will mandate green building codes for all new single-family homes. The new code comprises six categories relating to green building: project implementation plan and lot development; resource efficiency; energy efficiency; water efficiency; indoor environmental quality; and operation, maintenance, and sustainable practices.

Builders can achieve one of the eight rating levels based on a point system that sets a minimum point total for each category. In addition, the code requires all new single-family residential units to be tested and certified according to the enhancements to the national Home Energy Rating Standards (HERS) as adopted by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET).

New homes must meet one of eight levels of certification based on their heated gross floor area and lot size as follows:

  • Silver (minimum requirement for homes up to 3,000 square feet): HERS index of 70; must earn at least 359 total points for sites under ½ acre or 363 total points for sites ½ acre or larger.
  • Silver Plus: bonus for a lower HERS rating of 60.
  • Gold (minimum requirement for homes up to 5,000 square feet): HERS index of 50; must earn at least 448 total points for sites under ½ acre or 452 total points for sites ½ acre or larger.
  • Gold Plus: bonus for lower HERS rating of 40.
  • Platinum (minimum requirement for homes up to 8,000 square feet): HERS index of 25; must earn at least 542 total points for sites under ½ acre or 546 total points for sites ½ acre or larger.
  • Platinum Plus: bonus for a HERS rating of 15.
  • Emerald (minimum requirement for homes 8,001 square feet and greater): HERS index of 0; must therefore perform in a manner that produces no greenhouse gases to meet its operational energy needs. It shall also earn at least 623 total points for sites under ½ acre and 629 total points for sites ½ acre or larger.
  • Emerald Plus: bonus for a HERS rating of -10.

The city will rely on HERS raters, city inspectors, specialty third-party verifiers, and the project’s builder and systems installers for field verification of required materials, components, features, and performance. For more information, visit www.santafenm.gov.