Sustainability and Green Building with Eric Tilden of NAHB

A Everyday Green Home Podcast

sustainability green building eric tilden green gab nahb


Eric Tilden joins us to gab about Sustainability and Green Building at NAHB – National Association of Homebuilders located in Washington D.C.

NAHB is a trade association of home builders and others in the home builder industry representing nearly 140,000 members across the United States. Home Builders Associations (HBAs) and Building Industry Associations (BIAs) are local organizations across the country and they are part of the federation of NAHB.

NAHB represents building across the country while building practices and materials reflect the regional differences. Building needs of one coast may be totally different than the other coast. There are many climates, cultures and temperate zones that NAHB members build in. So many different climates and cultures that have their own unique things. “Even when they (sic regions) are right next to each other they can be totally different from each other.”

“When it comes to doing things like (sic building) codes and regulations, one city and one state can be completely different from another city in the same state.”

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A Fascinating Background in Hands-On Sustainability

Ever since college Eric has been interested in sustainability. He recently returned from Africa where he was volunteering with Engineers Without Borders in Cameroon building a water supply system in a very rural area. Practices and conveniences that we look at here in “modern civilization” as green and sustainable, may be vital to survival in a developing country.

Engineers without Borders works with water, infrastructure, and bridge building and every project has to be looked at sustainably from a sustainable point of view. For example, “their water project is a gravity fed system and it only uses local materials that the community can get their hands on so they can do it.” The key to sustainability is operations and maintenance, so who is using it makes it sustainable in the long term. If the users can’t maintain and repair it, it’s not sustainable for that community.

We need to look at our own infrastructure and determine if it will last the way it is now? In the developed world, we can look at our own homes and recognize that we can build homes to last and be maintained by the people living there – the homeowners. And the home will last longer because it’s well maintained.

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The Sustainability Toolkit

At IBS (International Builders Show) in January 2017, NAHB launched the Sustainability Toolkit. The number of builders using high performance and sustainable building techniques across the country is steadily increasing. The Toolkit is designed to equip and support these Home Builder Associations (HBAs) which choose to be active in the sustainability arena. The toolkit offers tools and resources for HBAs to reach out to the people who really want to learn more about green building. The people they reach out to could be currently building green or wanting to start.

The toolkit’s tools and resources:

  • case studies showing different ways builders of different types of homes in different parts of the country have built green certified homes
  • videos about high performance building for both builders and potential home buyers
  • sustainability checklists for building professionals to “dip a toe” into green certification
  • infographics illustrating high performance building trends
  • best practices for HBAs wishing to create a High Performance committee or council
  • reports comparing and contrasting different national green building programs

As more home buyers are going to the internet to learn more, the Toolkit can be a resource to introduce them to techniques as well as equip them to ask questions of their builder. These questions could be about how a home will be built to meet their needs and expectations.

National Green Building Standard for Green Certified Homes

While looking through the Sustainability Toolkit, the Green Certification activity by year infographic was a surprise for Marla and Tony. We were able to see that Missouri was ranked 9th overall for NGBS Green Certified homes and 4th in the country for NGBS Green Certified single-family homes. It was interesting to see which states have high NGBS Green Certified activity.

NGBS is developed with an open consensus process and a number of well-established and reputable organizations and standards are behind the NGBS. When builders and homeowners choose the NGBS – ICC 700 National Green Building Standard, which is ANSI approved, they are getting a certification process that is accepted and backed. This gives builders and home buyers/owners peace of mind and assurance.

“We certify homes to the rigorous requirements of the National Green Building Standard™ (NGBS) – the only residential green building rating system approved by ANSI as an American National Standard. The NGBS provides practices for the design and construction of all types of green residential buildings, renovations, and land developments.” From

In closing…

If you are not a member of NAHB, ask a builder, remodeler or other NAHB member in your community about the HBA Sustainability Toolkit. The toolkit includes infographics, case studies, videos and more that you’ll want to check out.

Rounding out the Toolkit is the Sustainability Coloring Book. It’s designed for builders to have in their offices for families. Educate the parents, educate the kids.


NAHB Sustainability

NAHB Sustainability Toolkit (available to NAHB members by logging in to her/his NAHB account)

Green Home Certification with ICC-700 National Green Building Standard

Rigorous National Green Building Standard Certification

NAHB Now Sustainability Stories

What Green Means to Home Buyers: Perceptions and Preferences, from NAHB BuilderBooks

Find a Better Place to Call Home – NGBS Green Certified

NAHB Bestows Green Sustainability Awards

Eric Tilden on LinkedIn

If you’re interested in environmental education, every week on iTunes and on The Everyday Green Home Podcast, we gab and share what we’ve done, as well as tips for greening up your home, your job, your family and your life! Get in on the gab for why green matters – to you, your family and friends and your community.

Get Marla’s book Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices to a Better HomeFor more information about the show, Marla at or Tony at tpratte@thesoundroom.comI’d love to speak at your next event – for ideas check out my speaking information. Thank you and have a blessed day. 

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