Builders and consumers alike are flooded with ‘green’ everything these days. Anything from cars, energy, vacations, food and new homes – all seem to claim to have a green component to them. Often, this ‘green fog’ can create confusion and mis-information as to what is green, why its green and why the product might have advantages over other similar products with similar ‘green’ claims. In Chicago real estate, builders and developers are subject to this and it’s sometimes difficult to navigate through the green haze. Add to the mix factoring their interacation with each other in a complex product like a new home.
A product certificate / report tools introduced in 2009 provide builders an easy way to see products’ green features, and how those products can earn points under major green building program like the National Green Building Standard:
- National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center’s Green Approved products certificates.
National Green Building Standard was developed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The ‘Green Approved’ mark is intended to help bridge the gap between manufacturers who make green products and builders and designers who want to use them. Builders seeking a green rating for their homes under the National Green Building Standard can select products with the mark to avoid the hassle of having to do their own time-consuming research to determine if a product is eligible to contribute points.
The pre-approval not only helps builders make product selections more quickly, it also helps speed the in-the-field review of the home by the project verifiers. As such, selecting products with the mark can potentially reduce the time needed to get the home finished, rated and ready for sale.
The National Green Building Standard is an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved consensus-based standard that defines the criteria for certifying a building (single-family or multifamily; new construction, addition or renovation) as “green.” The Standard provides scoring criteria for four different levels of “green” for residential buildings – bronze, silver, gold, or emerald. For a building to receive National Green Building Certification to the Standard, it must accumulate a threshold number of points in each of six categories (lot design, resource efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and owner education), as well as an overall threshold number of points for each certification level.
Points are accumulated by the implementation of various products, features, and processess collectively called “practices” in the National Green Building Standard. There are a wide variety of such practices, some mandatory, with varying point values. A builder selects the practices appropriate for the local market, the price point of the home, and the certification level desired. The NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines preceded the National Green Building Standard and contain similar criteria based on which a building may earn points toward being certified as a bronze, silver, or gold level building.
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