As we conclude our series about certified green homes, I wanted to report back on the Active House Open House last weekend. We had over 2000 people come through the home to learn more about what makes a green certified home so special. It was an awesome day and it was great to see so many people, even with the morning rain! A special thank you to Hibbs Homes, Verdatek Solutions, Active House and the homeowners for including HomeNav in the project. While this is the first home in the U.S. built to Active House specifications, it carries multiple other certifications – National Green Building Certification, Building America Builder’s Challenge, Energy Star, and EPA IndoorAir Plus .
Wrapping Up the Certified Green Homes Process
To keep it consistent, we will look at wrapping up the process in the context of the two nationally recognized green home certification programs in the U.S. – the National Green Building Certification Program from Home Innovations NGBS (formerly known as NAHB Research Center) and USGBC’s LEED for Homes Program.
A key differentiator of certified green homes is that it is independently verified to meet the requirements of a green home program. Completing the certification process validates the value and benefits of a green home. To find additional information about green home certification programs, go to the Get Green Certified section of your HomeNav dashboard.
A Quick Recap of the Certified Green Homes Process
While each program has specific guidelines, they follow this similar progression toward certifying a green home project.
- Choose a certification program.
- Select a green home builder and/or consultant.
- Set project goal and do an initial scoring run through.
- Register project with certifying organization.
- Conduct a rough inspection during construction.
- Assemble supporting documentation of the home for the verification process.
- Perform testing.
- Final verification and submittal of documentation to the green certification program.
Testing the Structure and Systems
As the project progresses from the rough inspection point, elements of the home continue to be installed – HVAC and hot water systems, fixtures, finishes, cladding, appliances and more. The “envelope” (walls/insulation, roof, foundation, windows, and doors) of the home and the HVAC and hot water systems impact the planned energy usage of the home the most. Due to this fact, oftentimes testing is conducted of the home to see that the actual performance of the structure and systems are meeting the planned specifications. The most common tests performed are a blower door test to determine the air-tightness of the structure and a duct blaster test to determine the air-tightness of the duct-work of a forced air HVAC system. Depending on the green home certification program and the type of certification, these tests may not need to be performed. Please consult with your builder, green verifier or green professional for specific requirements.
Final Verification and Submittal of Documentation to the Green Certification Program
Final Verification Inspection
Final verification inspection of the project is performed when everything is completed. The green verifier will come to the home to visually verify that all elements have been installed per plan and all practices and processes have been followed per plan. The step ensures that the design practices claimed in the green building plan have been followed and executed as agreed upon at the beginning of the project. Documentation and/or product labels/packaging will be needed to substantiate claims for materials, fixtures, appliances, finishes and any other item or practice requiring documentation per the green rating program used. This documentation may be hard-copy or digital but needs to be organized for the green verifier. HomeNav excels at organizing this information for easy access when needed during the verification process and inspections.
Submittal of Final Report, Documentation and “Homeowners’ Manual” to Green Certification Program
The green verifier will complete the green certification report and submit it to the green certifying body, along with any required documentation, including the “homeowners’ manual.” The “homeowners’ manual” may be a hard copy or digital document that meets all of the practices outlined in the green certification programs’ requirements. HomeNav meets the “homeowners’ manual” requirements and is a Green Approved Product for the National Green Building Standard™ and meets the requirements for LEED for Homes as well.
Once the final report is submitted, the certifying body goes to work reviewing the project. There may be questions and additional documentation requested. Once the project passes certification, the certifying body will issue the certificate. Congratulations on your new green home!
Do you live in a green certified home? I would love to have your feedback on the process in the Comments below.