So, you may ask, just what is Green certification and how does it help in building a Green home, or renovating my existing home?
Simply put, Green certification is a way for you to know that a new home or renovation really incorporates design and features that make it more sustainable than a home “built to code”; that the word “Green” isn’t just being used as a marketing tool. Several regional and national organizations have developed programs to create Green benchmarks, with the goal of encouraging more high quality, sustainable home building around the country. Two of the most widely recognized of these programs are the LEED for Homes system* and the National Green Building Standard (NGBS)** . The things that make a home sustainable are not always easy to see, so certification through these programs provides a way to easily recognize Green homes. This is especially helpful for people who are interested in setting an example for others to follow, and for builders who use Green construction practices and need to communicate the added value of their Green homes to potential buyers. But you can benefit from working with a professional who is familiar with these systems, even if you aren’t planning to seek certification for your house.
Perhaps you are familiar with the idea of using benchmarks for helping to evaluate performance- in business, education, or even athletics. The Green building certification systems provide a carefully researched set of benchmarks that we can reference in any home construction project. Even if we don’t fill out the paperwork or have the third party verifications done, referencing the certification systems as we design your project can improve the sustainability of your home renovation. The systems also make use of a number of checklists, which we can use to make sure that every aspect of the project considers sustainability, from site orientation, to water efficiency, to materials selection for indoor air quality. And of course, energy efficiency!
One of the things I enjoyed the most about working on the Habitat project was the opportunity to become more familiar with the LEED for Homes standards. I know that certification is not appropriate for every project, but I know that I will be using the guidelines and checklists from these programs to help make all of New Leaf’s projects a little Greener!