Building pros are making good use of the down market by increasing their green building education and certifications through various resources offered by the NAHB. Almost 7,000 pros have registered on the group’s green site,, officials say; because registering is required to use some of the site’s more advanced features, the figure is a good gauge of how many pros are testing the green waters.

Meanwhile, the NAHB has registered more than 2,700 Certified Green Professionals, a designation issued by the group’s University of Housing.

Calli Schmidt, director of environmental communications, reports that 170 homes have been certified under the new National Green Building Standard, with another 200-plus in the pipeline. As of last week, 978 projects were being scored—a dramatic increase of 500 in the last month.

One of the Standard’s benefits, says Carlos Martin, the association’s assistant staff vice president, is “it’s a one stop for all residential sectors,” with certification opportunities not just for new single-family homes, but also site development, multifamily, and remodeling. Interest in existing-home efficiency upgrades and weatherization, in particular, has climbed.

Like other programs, the NAHB’s National Green Building Conference, being held in Dallas May 8-10, is seeing healthy interest despite conditions, as are green building sessions for next year’s International Builders’ Show. This year’s Green Building Conference will include high-profile industry speakers T. Boone Pickens and Joel Makower.

Along with the conference, Martin and Schmidt report steady participation in the group’s year-round green building courses, likely caused by a combination of interest in green building as well as the opportunity for education that the downturn presents.

But even once home building begins to bounce back, interest in green should continue, Martin says. “I have no doubt that when the market rebounds green building is going to be a big part of it.”