A few days ago our local newspaper, the Quad City Times, reported on a story pertaining to future green construction in one of the fastest growing parts of Bettendorf, IA. It was said that members of the Quad City Home Builders Association (QCHBA) were going to donate their time and provide materials at cost for the construction of a 1900sf ranch built to the Silver Award level set forth by the National Association of Home Builders. Ryan Windmiller of Aspen Homes was chosen to oversee ("general") the project. What they didn't elaborate on was what the specific level(s) entailed. Here's my interpretation on the subject.
|The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB.) has three main levels of green building; the bronze, silver & gold. The National Green Building Standard recently added a much more difficult to obtain classification of Emerald. I don't know much about the Emerald so I'll stick to the main three.
To go from the Bronze level to the Silver requires a significant increase in the amount of resources, efficient & sustainable products & overall preparation and education. There is a point system to determine the level of green building. For example, the bronze level requires accrued points of 237, were as the Silver requires 311 points. The Gold is measure by 395 points. Ok, so what does that mean?
There are 7 main categories with several additional subcategories to determine the point value. They are as follows:
- Lot design, preparation and development = bronze: 8 Silver: 10 gold: 12 This may consist of utilizing existing trees on the building site, constructing on site storm water management such as rain gardens, rain barrels, detention ponds, etc. Also included would be the overall orientation of how the house sits on the lot to maximize passive solar and/or natural daylighting. The builder can also earn points if they choose to build on an infill lot or greyfield site.
- Resource efficiency = 44/60/77 Reducing job site waste by reusing and recycling materials, using sustainable and/or rapidly renewable products all while considering a products life-cycle and environmental impact. Using pre-cut or panelized framing systems will also earn the builder several points because this usually results in less waste.
- Energy efficiency = 37/62/100 This category may be self-explanatory. The home must have a 3rd party verification test and must test at least 30% more efficient than a traditionally built home to acquire the Silver level. Going beyond the efficiency within the home and also considering the energy consumption while building the home. As you can imagine this is one of the highest priorities used to determine the appropriate levels.
- Water efficiency = 6/13/19 This may include using drought tolerant landscaping (zeriscaping), low flow water fixtures, grey water systems, location of water heater, etc.
- Indoor environmental quality = 32/54/72 Another very important issue of green building. This boils down to the steps taken to improve the indoor air quality within the home. By filtering the air, bringing fresh air in, using products like low/no volatile organic compound (VOC) paints & minimizing potential sources of pollutants.
- Operation, maintenance & Homeowner education = 7/7/9 If the homeowner does not maintain or make use of the efficient resources it basically defeats the purpose of green building. The homeowner often times will be given a manual and/or educated on how to properly operate the home as a system. The homeowner will also have information pertaining to the use of non-toxic chemical cleaners and eliminating the need for fertilizers or pesticides.
- Global impact = 3/5/6
* Plus an additional 100 points from any of the above mention categories
As you can see there are a lot of determining factors. I hope this clears things up for anyone left confused after reading the QC Times article, 'Green' house: Demo home will help educate public, builders. For more detailed information on the Green Building Techniques you can visit the NAHB project certification website.