A green home provides improved efficiencies in energy, water, resources/materials, indoor air quality, site design, and operation and maintenance (homeowners manual.) Each of these factors affects not only the operational costs of your home, but improves the health and well-being for you and your family.
A certified green home is independently verified to meet the requirements of a green home program. While many homes may have some of the elements of a green home, only a small percentage have gone through the process to be certified as a green home. This is changing though. As the number of green home buyers looking to capitalize on the benefits of owning a green home continues to rise, home builders are putting more emphasis on eco-friendly construction and design.
This series of posts will guide you through the green home certification process and give you a good idea of what it takes to build (or renovate) a certified green home.
What Are Certified Green Homes?
Certified green homes, like most certifications, must meet a defined set of practices and principles that are set and recognized by the industry. There are two nationally recognized green home certification programs in the U.S. They are the National Green Building Certification Program from Home Innovators Research Lab (formerly known as NAHB Research Center) and USGBC’s LEED for Homes Program. Both provide stringent standards and practices to follow for certifying a green home building (or renovation) project and offer resources to help complete the certification process.
There are also many local, regional and specialty green home certification programs. To find additional information about green home certification programs, look under the Get Green Certified section of your HomeNav dashboard.
Green Home Certification Process
The process of building (or renovating) a certified green home begins right from the start. While each program has specific guidelines, they follow a similar progression toward certifying a green home project. The list below is in very general terms and will be expanded upon throughout this series of Certified Green Homes posts.
- 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.
These steps begin in the planning stages of the project and follow through to the completion. While there are elements that go into each of them, they may differ some depending on the specific guidelines of the certification the project is seeking.