Understanding Green Building?
What is Green Building?
Green Building is a term, often misused, that refers to construction of buildings, both residential and commercial, into which thought and planning has been made to incorporate features that help improve the quality of health and comfort of the occupants. These features conserve energy, manage water use, preserve resources, improve indoor air quality, and increase sustainability of the structure over time. The largest certification program for home builders trying to follow the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) guidelines of the International Code Council (ICC) 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) is administered by the Home Innovation Research Labs an independent subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Homes constructed under these guidelines are understood within the industry to be far more innovative in their construction than the typical “code-built” homes of today. Third party review and inspections of the plans and construction, along with actual testing of the home’s performance to obtain certification is crucial to the integrity of the process and is required.
Building “green” is a discipline of looking at all the options available at virtually every step of the construction process and choosing as many of the best methods and materials that can be incorporated into the home based on limitations of design, budget, and availability of materials and labor. Many “green” choices do not increase the cost of construction, or do so only minimally, but can lead to a healthier, more comfortable home simply by planning ahead and understanding the options available. By incorporating “green” features into the construction process, a builder is essentially following a “whole home” approach to home building.
Builders can pursue continuing education in the NGBS Green Certification Process by attending a series of classes and passing a test to earn a Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation. That designation shows that the builder has the knowledge and understanding of the Green Building Process, and is committed to building a healthier, more efficient, and more sustainable home with a lower carbon footprint for their clients.
Green Certification is becoming more recognized within the housing industry and now even appears on the Multiple Listing Service as a feature of a home listed for sale. Realtors can earn the National Association of Realtor’s “Green Designation” which is the only NAR conferred real estate designation designed for agents looking to learn about issues of energy efficiency and sustainability in the various facets of real estate. The appraisal industry also recognizes the value of green-built homes. The Appraisal Institute has developed a Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum (AI Reports Form 820.04) to take into the evaluation process the higher standard of construction and efficiency of a Green Certified home. And, the government is looking at including the operating cost-saving benefits of living in an energy certified home as an additional qualifier for a buyer seeking a home mortgage. There is also a Green Certification available for remodeling projects.
In the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes the counties of Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham, the Green Home Builders of the Triangle (GHBT) is the council which provides support and continuing education for builder members of both local Home Builders Associations, The HBA of Raleigh and Wake County and the HBA of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties.
If You Could Build A Better Home...Why Wouldn't You?