The company I am part of , Cady and Guyton Construction, builds mainly new homes to sell- the spec market. Since the NC Healthy Built Homes program (now Green Built North Carolina) began we have had our homes certified through them. The owners of our custom home projects also saw the importance of certification. In the Asheville, Buncombe county area certified green built homes have been selling faster than average and for a higher price per square foot. For our Spec homes it has been a good marketing tool. For the owners of our custom homes it could also prove to be a good practice if they should decide to sell. So there is a marketing advantage for certification.
Another advantage is that the certification program and the consultation with the rater who does the certification helps with the design process to make our homes more efficient. Once we realized how helpful this could be we began to schedule our consultation early enough in the process to alter our designs to accommodate any worthwhile changes.
The third party verification is insurance for both buyers and builders that they are achieving green standards and avoiding green washing. We have certified 5 houses through the NC Healthy Built Homes program and though we were building efficient homes before the program was in place it has been a clear guideline to assure we remember to include green building principles for all the aspects of building. For example we are more attentive to our use of not toxic finishes and adhesives and ventilation systems that assure good indoor air quality.
Addressing climate change is perhaps the main underlying motivation. Buildings account for over 40% of the energy and CO2 emissions in the US. Making or remaking buildings that are more efficient has to be a big part of solving the mess we are in. Certification assures efficiency beyond what building codes demand though they have also improved their standards.
Finally certification helps promote the process of improving the building industry’s impact. It combats greenwashing and being certified is a promotional device for a sustainable economy. It is one thing we can do within our industry and in support of a larger emphasis of environmental responsibility.
Reduced operating expenses, healthy indoor air quality, as well as site work that does the least harm, are all important to most people. Third party verification through a good green building program such as Green Built North Carolina is a reminder to the different trades people involved in the building process as well as an assurance to home buyers and owners that they are getting what they want.
To check out the checklist and information about the program go to http://wncgbc.org/healthybuilt/ The name and logo will change soon to Green Built North Carolina and the checklist will have some updates but will remain mainly intact.