Navigating the thicket of green building resources and performance standards just got a little easier. The not-for-profit Green Building Initiative (GBI) has launched two handy online tools to help builders green up their pro formas and reduce their carbon footprints while keeping an eye on the bottom line.
The first is an online catalog of green building incentives -- known as the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) -- which aggregates information about green building rebates, tax credits, grants, and other available financial incentives at federal, state, and local levels, including programs sponsored by utility companies. Designed by researchers at North Carolina State University, the database is available at www.dsireusa.org/gbi.
GBI has also launched the EcoCalculator for Assemblies, a free Web-based life cycle assessment tool that works in tandem with the Green Globes environmental assessment and rating system. Developed by the ATHENA Institute in consultation with the University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research, the calculator provides instant results for more than 400 common building configurations and components, including exterior walls, roofs, intermediate floors, interior walls, windows, columns, and beams. To give it a test drive, visit www.athenasmi.org.
Both tools are intended to help builders tweak their programs at the planning phase with an eye toward speedier project approvals, improved performance, streamlined costs, and reduced long term environmental impact, according to Kelly O'Brien, a spokesperson running demos at the International Builders' Show in Orlando.
"We've been working in partnership with the NAHB since 2004 and serving as a resource for local HBAs to help builders with cycle time, start-up costs, marketing, PR, launch support, and PowerPoint presentations," she said. "This is the next step -- offering residential research to help builders improve their green home performance and return on green investment."