Environments for Living, a green building program that many production builders rely on to help market the sustainable aspects of their homes, will soon offer a new, more stringent level of certification.

The Environments for Living program from Daytona Beach, Fla.-based TopBuild Home Services has partnered with manufacturer BASF to develop the new “Beyond” program level, which will allow participating builders to offer a 10-year limited heating and cooling energy use and comfort guarantee.

Developed in response to the changing landscape of building codes and growing consumer expectations for more sustainable homes, Beyond certification offers the following performance-based benchmarks, as well as a number of benefits for the builder:

• Improved Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index scores – Homes will be at least 55 percent more efficient than a typically constructed home

• Advanced framing techniques reduce the amount of lumber in each home

• Improved air tightness resulting in fewer air changes per hour

• Improved thermal performance, featuring unique building enclosure systems, such as the BASF HP+ Wall System

• Pre-wired as solar ready and designed for easy future incorporation of alternative energy systems at a later date

• Builders building at the Beyond program level will also have the option to comply with the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code using a voluntary performance compliance path (Proposal RE-188)

Introduced in 2001, the Environments For Living program was developed with the assistance of two of the country's leading building science companies, Advanced Energy Corporation and Building Science Corporation. The Environments For Living Certified Green program was introduced in 2007. To date, more than 180,000 homes have been constructed under the Environments For Living banner. Participating builders include Ashton Woods, Beazer Homes, Del Webb, David Weekley, D.R. Horton, Lennar Homes, Pulte Homes, Ryland Homes and Shea Homes.