Has there ever been a less accurate statement than “one size fits all”? To my way of thinking, you certainly don't have to be the proverbial rocket scientist to figure out that no matter what the circumstances, a single prescriptive and universal rule is going to be a lot less effective than one tailored to specific conditions.

Yet one-size-fits-all prescriptive mandates are exactly what some communities are contemplating in their efforts to promote green building—homes that conserve energy, water, and a host of other resources.

To provide a more practical, flexible, and less costly approach to achieve the same goals, the NAHB is in the process of creating the National Green Building Program that will serve as a template for voluntary, market-driven green building all over the country. Because this initiative is so important to our association and our industry, we have taken the unprecedented action of appointing one of the NAHB's senior officers, Bob Jones, to oversee this project for the next five years.

A SOLID FOUNDATION The new program will be based on the National Green Building Guidelines, a model for residential construction and renovation written by builders, architects, environmentalists, and product experts. The guidelines are already the foundation of more than 20 green building programs created by state and local HBAs throughout the country.

The guidelines are also the basis of the National Green Building Standard, which will be released in early 2008. This standard is the result of a cooperative effort between the NAHB and the International Code Council. The NAHB will have a later version of the program based on this standard.

The beauty of the national program that is now under development is that home builders and buyers can be assured that their home is truly green, whether they live in Seattle or Savannah, Ga., in a condo or a ranch house, and whether they're renovating or buying new.

It's also the next logical step for the NAHB as a leader in the green building movement. Our members have built nearly 100,000 green homes in voluntary programs launched by HBAs all over the country. Each of these homes is unique and responds to local geography, climate, and consumer preferences. With an affordable national program, we will provide home buyers with green homes even where no local program is in place.

COVERING ALL BASES Like the Model Green Home Building Guidelines and the National Green Building Standard, the National Green Building Program takes into account a home's lot development, use of resources, energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, durability, and ease of maintenance.

The program will be housed at the NAHB Research Center, which is the nation's top testing and research facility on housing construction and development issues.

The NAHB Research Center also serves as the secretariat for the Residential Green Building Standard development process. The standards process is certified by the American National Standards Institute, for which the Research Center is an accredited developer.

The National Green Building Program will include an interactive, Web-based certification system as well as other tools and resources for builders and certifiers, and a national registry of green builders and green homes. Existing local programs that meet quality assurance benchmarks and performance criteria can become part of the national program—without costly additional certification fees.

When it comes to residential building and remodeling, NAHB members are leading the way to creating a green-built nation.

Brian C. Catalde

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Denver, CO.