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green-buildingBuilding a new green home is easier than ever. “Building green” simply means putting together a home with minimal environmental impact and energy-saving features.

Here’s a look at three organizations that certify green homes:

NAHB

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) launched its National Green Building Program in 2008. The program is an education, verification and certification initiative for builders located anywhere in the U.S.

A scoring tool at www.nahbgreen.org takes homebuilders through several green categories: water, energy and resource efficiency; lot and site development; indoor environmental quality; global impact and homeowner education. Points are awarded for each category. To get NAHB certified, a builder needs to get a good score on the test and pass a home inspection.

The Certified Green Professional™ designation recognizes builders, remodelers and other industry professionals who incorporate green building principles into homes— without driving up the cost of construction. Classwork leading to the designation provides a solid background in green building methods, as well as the tools to reach consumers, from the organization leading the charge to provide market-driven green building solutions to the home building industry.

Energy Star

Energy Star is a joint program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy since 1992. The Energy Star logo is available to energy-efficient products and practices for labeling.

To be Energy Star certified, a home must meet strict guidelines set by the EPA. Homes are inspected to see if they have good insulation, high performance windows, tight construction and ducts (no drafts), energy efficient cooling and heating systems and Energy Star appliances, lighting and water heaters. Independent third parties conduct the inspections.

LEED

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it is a rating system created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1998.

The LEED rating system focuses on six main areas:

  • sustainable sites
  • water efficiency
  • energy and atmosphere
  • materials and resources
  • indoor environmental quality
  • innovation
  • design process

The purpose of LEED is to create consistent standards regarding the construction of green buildings across the country. Certification is handled by LEED For Home Providers—local organizations chosen by the USGBC to provide third-party verification.

Homebuilders interested in certification must sign up with the LEED For Home Providers group in their area. LEED will provide these builders information on environmentally sound building practices. Once a home is completed, it is inspected and if it meets LEED standards, it can be marketed and sold as LEED-approved – still a distinguishing characteristic when listing a resale property.

If you’re building a home or remodeling an existing one, Stockell Custom Homes can help you learn about green and energy efficient upgrades. We can also help you get your home green certified by one of these organizations – it can have a positive impact on the return you get on your home investment.