This Month’s Topic: Building Green Basics
What is green building and/or remodeling?
A home can be considered green when energy efficiency, water and resource conservation, sustainable or recycled products and indoor air quality considerations are incorporated into the process of homebuilding. The increased availability of education for builders, growing consumer awareness and the exploding market for sustainable, environmentally friendly and recycled building products has accelerated green building’s acceptance rate and move into the mainstream. According to a recent survey, more than half of the members of the National Association of Home Builders, who build 85 percent of the homes in this country, were incorporating green practices into the development, design and construction of new homes by the end of 2007.
What are the benefits of green remodeling?
Green homeowners enjoy knowing they are doing something good for the environment, their family and the future by saving energy and precious resources. Counties can make consumers aware of rebates and credits to encourage them to build green. Many lenders now offer energy efficient mortgages (visit www.dsireusa.org). It’s good for the community, too. Local jurisdictions can make consumers aware of rebates and credits to encourage them to build green. By using fewer materials and generating less waste, green remodeling can help counties lower waste management fees, achieve recycling goals and delay the need for new power sources.
Who does green remodeling?
A new professional designation program from the National Association of Home Builders will soon provide home buyers with additional assurance that the remodeler they’ve chosen is authentically “green.” Builders, remodelers and other industry professionals must have at least two years of building industry experience to apply for the Certified Green Professional designation. They must also complete the Green Building for Building Professionals course, a two-day training and education session that more than 1,200 industry leaders have already completed since the course was piloted two years ago. Candidates must also complete a University of Housing management course, agree to continuing-education requirements and sign a code of ethics. Search for a certified green professional in your area at www.nahbgreen.org.
How are NAHB Remodelers involved in green remodeling?
- NAHB is helping its members move the practice of green building into the mainstream. Energy efficiency, water and resource conservation, sustainable or recycled products and indoor air quality are increasingly incorporated into the everyday process of home building.
- When a green home doesn’t look or feel significantly different from one built using more traditional construction methods, when builders have the tools and resources to build them without sizable material or labor cost increases, and when consumers readily accept the finished product, then ‘green’ has arrived.
- The exploding market for sustainable, environmentally friendly and recycled building products, along with the greater availability of educational opportunities for builders, has accelerated green building’s acceptance rate.
- The association prepares members with programs addressing education (such as the certified green professional designation), award recognition and market awareness.
NAHB also recently launched the NAHB National Green Building Program, a comprehensive resource on green building and remodeling at www.nahbgreen.org. NAHB is also launching a national green building and remodeling standard.
What is the significance of NAHB’s national green building and remodeling standard?
Communities can choose from a number of nationally recognized voluntary green building programs, but right now there is no recognized standard for green building. For that reason, NAHB worked with the International Code Council to develop the first-ever residential green building standard. The American National Standards Institute certified the development process, ensuring a consensus-based document and adequate public comment. The standard requires third-party certification, above-code baselines for energy efficiency and guidelines for “right sizing” heating and air-conditioning equipment it does not mandate specific practices to achieve the required number of points, allowing home buyers to make choices for an affordable, flexible, regionally appropriate and truly green result.
Successful voluntary green building programs help to systematize the green design and construction process, instill consumer awareness and offer training to help the builder incorporate more green features into homes. They take advantage of tax credit programs and rebates. They often include educational initiatives for other members of the industry, including Realtors and product manufacturers. They emphasize the importance of homeowner education in maintaining the efficacy of a green-built home. Most importantly, they emphasize affordability and flexibility by allowing a menu of choices: Homeowners can choose how much they want to spend and make sure that their choice is regionally and geographically appropriate. Voluntary, market-driven programs -- maintaining a choice for builders and consumers -- help the dynamic process of green building to advance further.