Voluntary Programs Certify Nearly 100,000 Green Homes
A new NAHB survey of local home building associations finds that more than 97,000 homes have been built and certified by voluntary, builder-supported green building programs around the country since the mid-1990s.
That represents a more than 50% increase from the 61,000 green homes in the U.S. counted by the NAHB Research Center during its last survey in 2004.
"This astounding number is yet another indication that market-driven programs, not mandates, are the best way to encourage the growth of green building," said NAHB President Brian Catalde. "The home building industry is leading efforts to make homes more energy- and resource-efficient."
NAHB has been encouraging these efforts over the years by providing builder education, and in 2004 published Model Green Home Building Guidelines to help its local associations establish their own climate-specific, market-appropriate programs.
In January, NAHB announced that, to further promote industry advances, it would create an American National Standards Institute-accredited residential green building standard, which is slated to be completed early next year.
The success of voluntary green building programs around the country speaks to the industry's commitment to reducing the operating costs of homes, conserving water and energy, improving resource-efficiency and minimizing construction waste.
NAHB is collaborating with the International Codes Council to develop the green building standard, which will bring uniformity to sustainable building. The standard will serve as a baseline for green building programs without abandoning the proven principle that voluntary, region-specific, flexible programs can be truly green and also allow for innovation.
"The success of these regional programs is something that's very important to keep in mind as the residential green building standard comes closer to completion," Catalde said. "The new standard won't replace these programs, but it will provide builders all over the country with common ground — a green baseline that everyone can agree on."
Among local success stories in the green home building movement:
- Built Green Colorado, a program of the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver, has certified 33,000 homes since its inception in 1995. Its Built Green University program educates hundreds of area builders and other industry members around the country.
- Built Green Washington's network of 10 regional programs run by local home builders associations has certified 15,000 homes. Its members have won a number of National Green Building Awards.
- The Southern Nevada Home Builders Association Green Building Partnership, which was launched last fall, has been recognized as the official — and voluntary — green building program for the city of Las Vegas. The Nevada program is based on NAHB’s model guidelines, adjusted to reflect the desert climate and water scarcity.
"The Southern Nevada HBA's program is a great example of the beauty of these guidelines," Catalde noted. "There is no one-size-fits-all solution to green home building. Programs must be flexible, dynamic and market-based — that's the way that green building constantly improves."
Catalde also thanked the leadership of the Green Building Initiative (GBI), the Portland, Ore.-based non-profit organization that has worked in partnership with many local home builders associations as they launch NAHB guidelines-based green building programs, providing administrative and marketing support. Since 2004, this effort has produced 15 state and local green building programs based on NAHB’s model guidelines, and it has certified more than 100 homes in cities such as St. Louis, Philadelphia and Durham, N.C.
"We're proud of our partnership with NAHB and their local associations, as well as the work we've done together to help accelerate the adoption of sustainable construction across the nation," said GBI President Ward Hubbell. "We've witnessed first-hand the value of market-driven solutions to sustainability and commend NAHB for their leadership in this arena."
Other special projects built to the guidelines include The New American Home in Orlando, Fla., the 2007 demonstration home built in conjunction with the International Builders' Show; a student-built home by a Lancaster County, Pa., technical school program; and the Mainstream Green Home in Raleigh, N.C.
"We know that green building has left the niche-market category: 97,000 certified homes in just over a decade is incredible," Catalde said. "This also demonstrates how market acceptance, rather than mandates, really benefits both the consumer and the industry."
The consensus committee developing the new green home building standard is being led by NAHB and the International Code Council. The ANSI-accredited NAHB Research Center is serving as secretariat for the standard. To follow its progress, click here.
For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.
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