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The National Association of Home Builders wants in
by Katy Purviance on 04/02/08 @ 08:34:47 pm
Categories: Articles | 426 words | 2326 views

As an intern at a LEED consulting company, I know that the process of bringing all the players (the architect, the owner, the mechanical engineer, the landscape architect, the plumbing engineer, the general contractor…) up to speed on their role in the certification process, not to mention the verification of systems, can be pretty expensive.

Especially if you’re not building a 300-room hotel with a bar and a restaurant – but rather, just a single family home.

LEED for Homes is still in beta. But there’s already (another) system for racking up green points.

The National Association of Home Builders, which represents more than 230,000 U.S. housebuilding companies, announced its new program, calling it “voluntary, market-driven, flexible and affordable” and stressed that the certification paperwork would cost less than $500 per home.

That’s a good deal. But they still have much work to do if they want to compete with LEED.

First of all, it is not yet a national standard, since NAHB has yet to complete the requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Second, the third-party verifiers have yet to be certified by the NAHB Research Center. So it will likely be the summer of 2008 before all the pieces are in place.

And there’s plenty of other competing accountability systems as well.

As many of you may know, nothing is very centrally directed in the U.S. For example, beyond the three national programs mentioned, there are more than 60 local green home rating systems, some of them very well established, such as the City of Austin, Texas, and the EarthCraft Home rating system in Georgia (and three other southeastern states). There is also an Environments for Living standard supported by General Electric, one of the largest seller of Energy Star home appliances, and a Health House standard from the respected American Lung Association.

The author of the article, Jerry Yudelson, predicts:

The U.S. Green Building Council’s announced goal is one million new certified green homes by the end of 2010. With the deep home building slump in the U.S., this would require nearly two-thirds of all new single-family homes built from 2008 through 2010 to be green certified. While this is unlikely to happen, my own prediction is that green homes will storm the market in the next three years and are likely to command a 20 percent market share by 2010.

If I were a seller of energy-efficient and resource-conserving products technologies and building systems, I would start investigating the U.S. green home market as a dynamic sales growth opportunity.

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places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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