The National Housing Endowment (NHE) recently received a grant from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) to help fund the green certification of 25 new Habitat for Humanity projects across the country. Through this grant, NHE will be paying the NAHB Research Center for the certifications to the National Green Building Standard.

This was one of nine grants awarded through SFI’s Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program for community-based projects to support forestry education activities and green building for low-income families. Similar to the NAHB Research Center, SFI sees third-party green certification as a natural pairing with affordable housing. A green home, in many respects, is the epitome of an affordable home due to the long-term efficiency and durability of the whole house and its systems.

The NAHB Research Center is currently offering Habitat affiliates across the country the opportunity to “reserve” one of the $200 certification fees that will be paid by NHE through the grant. There is no grant paperwork for participating Habitat affiliates to complete—they need only to follow the typical National Green Building Certification Program process, and the Research Center will simply mark the invoice for the certification fee as paid. The 25 certification fees will be distributed first-come, first-serve, so affiliates that are interested in participating should contact the Research Center as soon as possible.

Those who choose to take advantage of this opportunity will need to complete a Builder Agreement with the Research Center if they have not had homes green certified to the National Green Building Standard in the past. There is no fee to become a program participant, but there are certain insurance and other business requirements that must be met. The agreement does not need to be fully executed in order for affiliates to reserve their pre-paid certification fees, but it must be received prior to scheduling any initial/rough verification inspections with an NAHB Research Center–accredited green verifier.

If you are not able to secure one of the certification fees provided through this grant, please still consider incorporating third-party green certification into the arsenal of tools you use to keep housing affordable for the communities you serve. The National Green Building Standard is the nation’s only consensus-based, ANSI-approved residential green standard, and the cost of certification to the Standard is significantly more affordable than other national certifications. In fact, in recognition of the good works Habitat for Humanity does for deserving families across the country, the Research Center always offers Habitat affiliates the discounted NAHB member pricing—$200 vs. $500 (non-member)—for its certification fee.