This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 20, 2008

Home Builders Launch New National Green Building Program

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has launched the NAHB National Green Building Program, an education, verification, and certification program for building green homes. The new program, launched on February 14, allows green builders 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. Homes are inspected and verified by local green experts, who send their documentation to the NAHB Research Center for review. If the project qualifies, the home can receive national certification from the Research Center. See the NAHB press release and the NAHB National Green Building Program Web site, which features an online scoring tool.

Photo of the front of the New American Home, a plantation-style home with columns in front of two levels of bay windows, the lower flanked by more windows and the upper flanked by windowed balconies. A fountain is in the foreground and to the right of the facade are a series of arches, creating shade and a porch area for the first floor and a sundeck for the second floor.

The New American Home 2008 integrates modern energy efficiency into a classic plantation-style home.
Credit: IBACOS

NAHB launched the new program at the 2008 International Builders Show (IBS), which was held in mid-February in Orlando, Florida, and a show home at IBS is the first to be certified in the new program. The New American Home, the official showcase house of the IBS, earned a gold-level certification through the use of three high-efficiency heat pumps for heating and cooling, a solar water heater, instantaneous water heaters, high-performance windows, and excellent insulation and air sealing. All of the home's components work together to achieve a home that uses about 62% less energy for heating and cooling and 57% less energy for water heating than a similar home in the same climate. Two building teams from DOE's Building America Program worked closely with the sponsor to achieve a high level of energy efficiency for the home. The IBS also featured the 2008 Green Builder Orlando Vision House, which incorporates structural insulated panels, spray foam insulation, and many other green features. A series of these homes will be built around the country to showcase the NAHB Model Green Building Guidelines. See the New American Home on the IBS Web site, a Building America fact sheet on the home (PDF 1.8 MB), and the Green Builder Vision House Web site. Download Adobe Reader.

NAHB is also developing a National Green Building Standard for homes that is meant to maintain flexibility in green building practices while providing a common national benchmark for builders, developers, and remodelers. According to NAHB, the new standard will be the first consensus-based standard for residential green building. In fact, the latest public comment period closed on February 4, and the committee for the new standard has until March 3 to register votes on the 600 comments received. The NAHB expects the American National Standards Institute to approve the standard this spring, after which it will be published by NAHB and the International Code Council. The 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. It also reflects enhancements in the International Residential Code. See the NAHB press release.