Tuesday, June 19, 2007

NAHB Green Building Guidelines

I have been facing the real possibility that because a LEED®-trained data collector is not in the Greenbush area, LEED certification may not happen. The rater from the cities is still available, but the travel expenses may be too high to justify the certification. I have been looking into other green building programs for the Greenbush area.

One alternative I've been researching is NAHB's green building program.

The National Association of Home Builder's (NAHB) launched its own green building guidelines in 2005. The voluntary Model Green Home Building Guidelines were designed to be used as a template by home builder associations wishing to start their own regional green building program, or as a green guide for the mainstream home builder. According to studies conducted by NAHB, more than half of their members (who build more than 80 percent of homes in the US), will be incorporating green practices into new homes by the end of 2007.

NAHB's green building program encompasses sustainable design elements through the following categories:

  • Lot Preparation and Design
  • Resource Efficiency
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Water Efficiency/Conservation
  • Occupancy Comfort and Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Operation, Maintenance and Education
NAHB's program is not third-party certified, but like LEED it is voluntary and based on a point system. Some builders have stated that NAHB's approach to green building standards has been much more comprehensive and easier to use than LEED. The most important difference to note is that NAHB addresses the embodied energy of building materials through Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), while LEED does not. Also, LEED has demonstrated preference for remaining in the top percentage of "high-performance" buildings, while NAHB's program is targeted to hit the average builder. NAHB has plans to release a national green building program, complete with certification, in early 2008.

Because I'd like the Greenbush program to receive some sort of certification and NAHB does not currently offer certification, I am reviewing Green Globes and other green building programs as well. I am not giving up on LEED yet either, and hopefully a solution will soon arrive. I will keep you posted.

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