WHILE GREEN BUILDING continues to rise in popularity across the nation, many people remain unsure about what it means to build green or where to begin. The NAHB Research Center helped create the “NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines” to make it easier for home builders to construct resource-efficient homes and has now initiated a Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) field evaluation to construct some of the first homes rated under the guidelines.

The Research Center has partnered with the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center (LCCTC), a vocational school in Pennsylvania, and the Lancaster County Building Industry Association to build four homes that will meet the new guidelines. LCCTC's building and construction students will build the homes as an applied learning project and complete 90 percent of the trade work. This year, sustainable building was introduced to the LCCTC curriculum for the first time. Having begun in October with a ground-breaking for the first house, the project aims to build a green home that sets a higher performance standard for the area.

The Research Center worked together with LCCTC staff and members of the local home building industry to develop the home's green and energy-efficient design. During this process, each section of the NAHB guidelines was considered, including: lot design; preparation and development; resource efficiency; water efficiency; energy efficiency; indoor environmental quality; operation, management, and homeowner education; and environmental impact. The Research Center also scored the design against two other residential green building programs, where it rated extremely well.

As the project progresses, Research Center experts will provide support and training for faculty and students as they build the homes, and local building professionals will be invited to participate. The first home will be completed within the next year and then opened for tours.

For more information about the “Model Green Home Building Guidelines,” including building technology information, visit the Research Center's ToolBase Services Web site at www.ToolBase.org.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Lancaster, PA.