THE NAHB HAS FINALIZED a set of voluntary Green Home Building Guidelines in an effort to move environmentally friendly home building concepts further into the mainstream housing marketplace. Announced at the 2005 International Builders' Show, the guidelines identify key principles a builder can use to incorporate green building concepts into projects. A pilot version, highlighted in the December 2004 issue of BUILDER (“Seeing Green,” page 90), was tested late last year.

To create the guidelines, the NAHB Research Center convened a group of 64 stakeholders from numerous organizations to review existing program requirements and to identify the principles that every green home builder should know. The NAHB guidelines include the following topic areas:

  • Site planning and land development;
  • Lot preparation and design;
  • Resource efficiency;
  • Energy efficiency;
  • Water efficiency;
  • Indoor environmental quality;
  • Operation, maintenance, and homeowner education; and
  • Global impact.
  • “The main goal in developing the guidelines was to highlight the ways a mainstream builder can effectively weave environmental solutions into a new home and to provide a tool that local HBAs can use to create their own green building program,” says Rich Dooley, environmental manager and land-use planner for the Research Center.

    Green building programs and homes differ across the country based on local or regional market drivers. The NAHB guidelines can be used to develop a system for scoring building projects and can be adapted by builder associations to meet local needs. Incorporating certain line items can dramatically affect a home's performance.

    “Green homes should be thought of as ‘high-performance' homes due to the detail and quality inherent in their development,” says Dooley.

    In addition, the Research Center has created a user's guide containing information on each principle as well as other green building resources. The Research Center will serve as a technical resource for builders as the guidelines are implemented throughout the country.

    For more information on the Green Home Building Guidelines, visit