A newly renovated home in Phoenix has become the first remodeling project in the nation to receive Emerald certification, the most stringent achievement level in the National Green Building Standard (NGBS). Building green, according to the NGBS, means incorporating environmental considerations and resource efficiency into every step of the home building and land development process to minimize environmental impact. That means that during the design, construction, and operation of a home, the home’s overall impact on the environment is taken into account.

"This project is an excellent example of what home builders and remodelers can accomplish with the National Green Building Standard," said Joe Robson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a builder and developer in Tulsa (OK).

The 1,600-square-foot, 70-year-old ranch house is in the Pierson Place Historic District near the city’s new light rail line. It is the first in a series of homes being renovated by Green Street Development, a Phoenix home building company specializing in environmentally sensitive design and construction. All are planned to meet requirements of the standard.

"If we are going to significantly reduce residential water and energy use, we need to retrofit and renovate the more than 120 million homes that use excessive amounts of these precious resources," Robson said. "I’m proud of all the services we offer through our broad-based green building initiative, NAHBGreen, particularly the third-party certification of homes using the standard." The National Green Building Standard is a rating and certification system for green residential construction developed by NAHB and the International Code Council and approved by the American National Standards Institute. It is administered by the NAHB Research Center, which also certifies local inspectors around the country.

All new and remodeled homes certified to the standard must meet benchmarks in energy, water and resource efficiency and indoor environmental quality and provide operations and maintenance information for their homeowners.

"The National Green Building Standard is the industry’s only national green rating system for remodeling, and using the standard’s Green Remodel Path is the streamlined way to achieve huge environmental benefits for the nation’s aging homes and cost savings for their owners," Robson added.

In remodeling the home, Green Street reduced the Home Energy Rating -- set at 100 for today’s new homes -- from 178 to 68. It features new Energy Star-rated windows and appliances, water-efficient fixtures, upgraded heating, air conditioning and insulation systems, and native landscaping for even more water savings: The builder estimates the improvements should cut water use by 65 percent.

The home was inspected by Mick Dalrymple of a.k.a Green Services in Scottsdale (AZ), an NAHB Research Center-accredited verifier.

"The standard and the third-party certification process provide the home owner with assurance that this project has been inspected and verified to be authentically green," said NAHB Research Center President Michael Luzier. "I commend Green Street for going the extra mile for the customer to seek the highest level of 'greenness’ available in residential remodeling." "The Emerald certification symbolizes our company mission of creating walkable neighborhoods, preserving existing structures, and supporting sustainable development," said Green Street owner Philip Beere.

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