What Does it Mean to Build Green?
In an MSNBC article last year, it was projected that by 2010 half of all new homes will be built green, since homebuilders see a big benefit to their business from going green. In a nationwide survey conducted in 2007 by Professional Builder Magazine, builders reported that they believed energy efficiency to be somewhat or extremely important to 97 percent of homebuyers; these builders also believed that indoor air quality, sustainability, and resource conservation were important considerations for more than half of their customers.
With sustainability issues coming to the forefront in the housing market, it’s not surprising that builders and developers are scrambling to implement some radical changes in their methodology. By what means does this occur? Often builders find it easiest to enlist the help of a third party resource. Third party organizations can introduce builders to a more complete array of information than they might be able to discover on their own, and can help a builder identify his or her own best course of action.
In the northwest, one acclaimed non-profit organization that has been providing such a service is Earth Advantage, Inc. Evolving from a utility-based conservationist group, Earth Advantage has become one of the region’s dominant sustainable building resources. Earth Advantage works with many other organizations to bring together the various green building strategies that have proliferated in recent years. They provide a variety of services, including consulting, training, and performance testing.
Earth Advantage can certify homes under its own name, using a list of criteria detailed on its website which results in a home that is 15% more energy efficient than a house built using standard construction methods. Earth Advantage is also qualified to certify a home under ENERGY STAR® Homes, and they serve as a LEED for Homes Program Provider.
In offering builders options, and helping them chart a course for producing eco-friendly products, Earth Advantage has helped residential green building gain a foothold in the northwest. Since its inception, the organization has certified 10,000 homes.
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