Green is a very popular color these days, especially in the home building industry. And it might not be for the reason you are thinking. More people are choosing green homes not because they are good for the planet, but because because green, high performance homes save homeowners so much money in monthly utilities and maintenance costs.
Back in 2007, Hibbs Homes built one of the first gold level homes in the St. Louis area certified under the St Louis Home Builder’s Association’s Green Building Initiative. And more recently we’ve been working on the first home in the United States using the Active House sustainable building specifications developed in Europe (which you can see first hand at our upcoming open house on March 9).
Now that St Louisans are becoming more familiar with the cost savings and the health benefits of a green home, the number of builders offering green construction to their clients. But while many builders claim to build green, it is important to understand that not every home is the same shade of sustainable, and that also means not every green home can be considered high performance.
Light green means a builder focuses on relatively easy (yet important!) steps such as installing Energy Star rated windows, lights and appliances. While other builders go down a more rigorous path to insure the home is environmentally friendly, sustainable, more efficient, more durable, and provides better indoor air quality. And they often work with homeowners for certifications during the building process so the green aspects of the home are documents and verified through a third-party that can help preserve resale value.
If you are in the market for a green, or high performance, home builder we recommend asking the following questions so you can gain some insight into a builder’s definition of green -
1) To what specifications of green do they build? Ask for specifics and have them thoroughly explain their answer.
2) Does the builder have experience building verified green homes? Verification through National Association of Home Builders, Energy Star or United States Green Building Council means a home meets strict standards for green construction. In addition to the NAHB, Energy Star and USGBC programs, there are many successful local and state green building programs. GBI-St. Louis, Built Green Colorado and Build Green Utah are a few examples.
4) Does the builder have extended education or a designation in green building? The National Association of Home Builders offers a Certified Green Professional designation, while the United States Green Building Council offers LEED accreditation. Builders must commit to several hours of continuing education and pass competency tests to earn these designations/accreditations.
Asking the right questions will help you find the right builder that fits your definition of green, and will help ensure that your home is performing at the level that you hope for.