Green Houses The NAHB invites home builders, remodelers, developers, nonprofits, and all those involved with green building efforts to submit entries to its 2005 National Green Building Awards, which recognize individuals, companies, and organizations that demonstrate a commitment to the ideals of green home building. The awards will give the building industry's best and brightest a chance to show how their green building efforts have true market value for consumers and a positive impact on the environment.

“The green building movement has constructed more than 40,000 resource-efficient, environmentally sensitive homes since the 1970s,” says Eric S. Borsting, chairman of the 2005 NAHB National Green Building Conference and the NAHB's Energy Subcommittee. More information about the awards can be found at www.nahb.org/greenbuildingawards.

Clean Slate The NAHB supports the EPA's proposed regulation to encourage the redevelopment of more than 750,000 brownfield sites across the country. The proposition spells out how builders, developers, and others can obtain federal liability protections for cleaning up hazardous contamination on property that was caused by previous owners.

Under the provision, builders and developers must have a qualified professional conduct a thorough investigation of the site and document the potential for contagion before assuming ownership of the property. Bona fide purchasers would then qualify for federal liability protection against lawsuits filed by the federal government or third parties if they fulfill the inquiry requirements and have taken good care of the property.

Studies Show According to a new study by the NAHB, the idea that multifamily housing puts an unwarranted burden on local schools is not true. Concerns that new apartment construction will result in overcrowded neighborhood schools are groundless. The analysis found an average of only 37 school-age children per 100 multi-family households; the average for single-family households is 62.

This data illustrates that new multifamily construction has a very limited impact on school enrollment.

The average number of school-age children helps determine what a community spends on public education. Data in the study should make it easier for local governments and planning boards to consider a diverse and affordable housing stock—without overstraining their budgets.

Wood Rules A North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel decision clears the way for removing onerous tariffs on Canadian timber. NAFTA ruled that Canadian imports pose no financial threat to U.S. commerce. The verdict is significant because if the United States cannot prove its contention that Canadian lumber shipments threaten the domestic industry, the country must remove the duties it imposes on lumber from Canada.

The NAHB calls the decision a major victory for housing affordability and for millions of American consumers affected by soaring lumber prices.