Green Home Rating Systems; Energy Star, National Green Building Standard & LEED.
With the new year there seems to be a pick up of new construction and you begin to see more and more energy efficient sustainable homes being built. There are a number of rating systems and organization for 'Green' homes but here in Fairfield County, Connecticut the three you see most are:
•· Energy Star for Homes.
•· National Green Building Standard (NGBS)
•· LEED for Homes
Each one of these systems is voluntary and is used to give an architect, builder and homeowner a rating system for evaluation their investment, to help design and set priorities of the project. All three rating systems need to be initiated before the project starts, active during the project and final rating at completion of project.
Energy Star for Homes.
These homes focus on energy efficiency and cost and meet strict guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency(EPA). These homes are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to 2004 International Residential Code (in 2011 requirement will be 20%) and tend to be 20-20 % more efficient than standard homes. It is based on a 100 point index with lower the number the better the score, minimum qualifying score is 85. While the program is free, you will need to hire a HER's rater to evaluate the home and the builder will need to become an Energy Star Partner.
National Green Building Standard (NGBS)
The NGBS is the first residential green building rating system to undergo the full consensus process and receive the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approval in 2009. The National Association of Home Builders and their local state chapters offer a certification process to determine the level of green the project has achieved. There are up to 1000 points to earn with four levels of certification; Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald. The cost for this program certification is for members $200 and non-members $500, many of your local builders and architects are members of the NAHB local state chapters. The other cost is hiring the independent third party Green Verifier, trained to the NGBS. These costs can vary since each Green Verifier is not employed by the HAHB.
LEED for Homes.
This program is overseen by the United States Green Build Council(USGBC), a consensus nonprofit organization providing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). USGBC is an international organization that provides different rating systems for Residential Homes, Multifamily homes, apartments and all types of Commercial construction.
LEED for homes requires the project to hire a third party rater called the LEED Home Provider. They will do all the paperwork for the project and help plan the project. They in turn have a LEED Rater who will come out and evaluate your project during construction. Total points available is 136 for a project with four certification levels; Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Costs incurred registration members $150, non-members $225; certification fees members $225, non-members $300. Plus the cost of the Home Provider an independent party approved by the USGBC, there are currently 3 Providers for Connecticut.
To learn more on Home Green Rating Systems go to Linda Reeder, AIA, new book "Guide to Green Building Rating Systems" now available. This book helps explain the difference further in rating systems both in residential and commercial applications.
Comparison Chart for Green Build Home Rating Systems, 2010.
David Popoff is a Connecticut license real estate agent in lower Fairfield County and is a designated “Green” Realtor at William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Darien, Ct.