Going green today is like putting money in the bank. You're spending money today, to save even more money in the future through reduced energy costs for heating, cooling, hot water and more.
The easiest way to a green home is to use the latest green technologies in new home construction or major renovations. The concepts behind green building aren't new. There were solar homes in the '80s, government regulations on percentage window coverage for years and a good remodeler always looks for ways to recycle materials being removed from a home. When we put an addition on our home, my builder reused all of the kitchen cabinets, with the corner ones ending up in a bedroom closet.
Finding a Green Contractor
Each state has different licensing rules for home contractors. The National Association of Home Builders offers certification programs for professionals, including the Certified Green Professional as a part of it's NAHB Green program.
Through the NAHB's consumer preference survey, we know that “Five of the top ten home features most frequently rated as ‘desirable or essential/must have are energy-related. These include a high level of insulation, equipment-based energy saving measures, and ENERGY STAR-rated windows, among others.”
Green Leadership is Coming from Commercial Construction
The US Green Building Council has created a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. The LEED system assigns points in different categories for various qualities of a building project, either construction or retrofit. LEED certification is quite common in commercial projects today. The assessment covers:
- Site planning
- Water management
- Energy management
- Material use
- Indoor environmental air quality
- Innovation in the design process.
If you want to find a contractor who has earned recognition for green building, you can search any of these websites:
- Master Builder by the Energy and Environmental Building Association
- Certified Remodeler, certified by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry
- Certified Green Builders at the National Association of Home Builders
If you can't find a certified contractor, or want to work with someone who isn't certified, you can learn a lot by reading the Green Building: A Primer for Builders, Consumers and Realtors.