David Clark

In our line of work, a “sure thing” is rare, especially given today’s difficult market. But I can confidently predict one “sure thing” about housing: The future is green.

The past few years have seen a surge of interest in green building among buyers and builders and I’m proud to say that the NAHB is helping to lead the way. Our National Green Building Program offers resources and tools to help builders, remodelers, HBAs, and homeowners learn how to build green and the many benefits of doing so.

A major component of the NAHB’s National Green Building Program is the ICC-700-2008 National Green Building Standard. Approved by ANSI early this year, it is the first consensus-driven, nationally recognizable standard definition for residential green building. The Standard provides the flexibility necessary to accommodate regionally appropriate best green practices and includes four scoring levels: bronze, silver, gold, and emerald.

Not all builders choose the standard, however. Some are scoring their homes to the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines. These flexible, voluntary measures for single-family home construction cover lot design, preparation, and development; resource, energy, and water efficiency; indoor environmental quality; and operation, maintenance, and homeowner education. Homes built in compliance with the Guidelines can be certified at three levels: bronze, silver, or gold.

To help builders determine if their products make the green grade, the NAHB has created an online scoring tool that can be used with either the Guidelines or the Standard when builders seek to have their homes and development projects certified as being “green.” Builders can also use the scoring tool to qualify their homes in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Builders Challenge program.

The NAHB Research Center serves as a third-party certifying body for National Green Building Certification under the Guidelines and the Standard. Its green-certified mark means a project has been inspected at least twice by an independent, third-party verifier to confirm that every green point claimed in the design has been included and is installed correctly.

In addition to providing clear, bona fide criteria for green building, both the Guidelines and the Standard are flexible and allow builders to select which measures and certification levels work best for their specific product, location, and buyers. This is particularly important in an environment where prescriptive measures are increasingly common and can add thousands of dollars to the cost of a new home.

Another of the NAHB’s important initiatives is the Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation. It was introduced at the 2008 International Builders’ Show (IBS) with the goal of having 500 CGPs by the end of the year. The program has far exceeded that initial goal, and to date, more than 3,100 people have earned the CGP designation.

Details about all of these NAHB offerings—and much more—are available online at www.NAHBgreen.org. Please take a look and determine how you can incorporate green principles into your business. The future of home building is definitely green, and the NAHB is leading the way with the products and services that will help home builders make the nation’s new homes greener than ever before.