If you are one of the record numbers of Americans voting in the 2008 presidential primaries and caucuses across the country, you have, no doubt, heard about our souring economy for the low- and middle-classes. More troubling, is Washington's inability to capitalize on American ingenuity and create new systems, processes and infrastructures that feature less consumption and more 'green.' The National Association of Home Builders is doing its share and then some in taking the lead toward a 'green' America. At the International Builders' Show in Orlando, the NAHB announced its National Green Building Program, an education, verification and certification program that will allow builders anywhere to build green homes.
"This is great news for our members and for all home builders, but more importantly it's great news for home buyers," said NAHB Vice President and Secretary Bob Jones, a home builder in Bloomfield Hills (MI).
"We green builders have wanted to see these sustainable building practices go mainstream for years, because we have always known that it's the right thing to do," said Green Building Subcommittee chair Ray Tonjes, a home builder in Austin (TX).
The New American HomeTM, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, was the first show home to be certified in the new program. The project was awarded "gold" level certification during ceremonies in Orlando. The National Green Building Standard is expected to be approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and published by NAHB and the International Code Council (ICC) early this spring. The ANSI process ensures that the best technical reviews were used to create the standard.
"NAHB's decision to transform the existing guidelines into a standard, exposing its work to the rigors of the ANSI consensus process and peer review, is yet another testament to the firm commitment the association has taken to support inclusive green building," said Michael Luzier, president of NAHB Research Center. The Research Center is an accredited standards developer and charged with shepherding the ANSI standard development process through a series of public hearings and comment periods.
The National Green Building Standard is based on the three-year-old NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines, but enhanced to include residential remodeling, multifamily building, and lot and site development -- also the first of their kinds in the country. It also reflects advancements in requirements in the International Residential Code and other changes that serve as indications of the dynamic nature of green building.
The program features a dynamic online scoring tool at nahbgreen.org, which shows the builder how to accrue points in seven categories: water, energy and resource efficiency; lot and site development; indoor environmental quality; global impact and homeowner education. The program sets point requirements in each category for the bronze, silver and gold levels.
Local home builders associations will continue to provide education, advocacy and promotional assistance to their green builders using new, expanded resources from NAHB. "NAHB builders have been green pioneers, building 100,000 green homes certified by local programs all over the country," said Jones. "The NAHB National Green Building Program builds on this energy and innovation and takes green building mainstream."
The NAHB National Green Building Program announcement was part of The International Builders' Show special "Green Day" events on February 14. More than 100,000 housing professionals, including home and apartment builders, architects, product manufacturers and those involved in every aspect of residential and light commercial construction attended the 2007 show.
The new National Green Building Standard will maintain the flexibility of green building practices while providing a common national benchmark for builders, remodelers and developers. The Standard, another big step for the green building movement, may serve to move our elected officials in Washington to make the decisions necessary to move our struggling economy forward and keep America strong.
[Note: The National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) show, considered the largest industry event of its kind, attracted just over 92,000 attendees and over 1,900 exhibitors spread across more than one million net square feet of exhibit space.]