The Housing Chronicles Blog: Latest article for Builder & Developer now online

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Latest article for Builder & Developer now online

My May column for Builder & Developer magazine is now online; this month's issue focuses on green building techniques, so I discuss what's happening with efforts by the NAHB and LEED for Homes, although I recently received a clarification from Callie Schmidt, the Director of Environmental Communications for the NAHB.

For the record, Ms. Schmidt was not one of the persons I contacted prior to writing this recent column, but I will certainly do so when writing future ones on green building.

First, an excerpt from the article:

When green building terms and techniques first entered the construction industry’s policies and procedures manuals, they were initially designed for new commercial office buildings, allowing developers and cities to advertise their forward-thinking designs with iconic structures in well-trafficked locations.

Today, however, with increasing consumer sensitivity towards sustainability and a higher awareness among home builders that energy-efficient homes can boost both absorption rates and profits, building green homes will likely become the most important trend this industry has seen in a generation.

The market could be huge: according to a McGraw-Hill Construction Residential Building SmartMarket Report from 2006, green homes could make up as much as 10% of new construction by 2010 – a quintupling from a comparatively measly 2% in 2005. Seeking to retain its leadership in a quickly changing world, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) recently announced that more than 2,700 builders, remodelers have achieved the Certified Green Building (GCB) designation, which requires 24 hours of classroom instruction, two years of industry experience and a commitment to continuing education.

Not to be outdone, the U.S. Green Building Council’s now-ubiquitous LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) -- which began for commercial structures in 2000 -- naturally led to “LEED for Homes” in late 2007 following a two-year pilot program. The national certification program, which awards points for various categories and ranges from simple certification (45-59 points out of 136) to Platinum (90-136 points), has quickly become a powerful marketing strategy that now mirrors the EnergyStar® label for appliances...

Read the entire column here.

Next, the clarification from Callie:

First of all, the NAHB University of Housing educational designation that's growing so quickly is the Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation, not the Certified Green Builder. At the time you wrote the column the numbers stood at 2,700; just so you know, it's now at 3,000.

Secondly, it's inaccurate to compare the CGP designation to the LEED rating system. LEED certifies projects; CGP certifies people. A more apt comparison might be the National Green Home Certification offered through the NAHB Research Center as part of NAHBGreen. This certification applies not only to new single-family homes, but also to multifamily projects, subdivisions and residential remodeling and renovation.

The rating system now gaining popularity at NAHBGreen is the National Green Building Standard, which is the only residential green rating system to be approved by the American National Standards Institute, a distinction that, as you know, lends must more authenticity in the home building community.

The McGraw-Hill survey you site was actually updated last year to predict green building starts of between 12 percent and 20 percent by 2012. However, all these surveys are sort of moot now until the market comes back - predictions are pretty much out the window right now. However, NAHB does agree that all our association's initiatives, especially NAHBGreen, the NAHB National Green Building Program, and its educational and certification components, can help its members "lead the way to a sustainable planet."

Want to know more about the NAHB National Green Building Program? Click here.


Ares said...

That 'Builder and Developer' logo looks like a Snickers candy bar! I though it was a Snickers ad until I looked closer and noticed it was a logo.

Patrick Duffy said...

Well that's an interesting coincidence. Snicker's is by far my favorite candy bar.

Bob said...

Great article like how the logo looks like a snickers candy bar wrapper, got my attention. Look forward to reading more.