NAHB Green Build

According to the National Association of Home Builders' Green Building website:

Green homes incorporate environmental considerations and resource efficiency into every step of the building and development process to minimize environmental impact. The design, construction, and operation of a home must focus on energy and water efficiency, resource efficient building design and materials, indoor environmental quality, and must take the home's overall impact on the environment into account. However, many of the processes and technologies that go into a green home happen behind the scenes and behind the walls. What can a homebuyer look for?

Look for an NAHB Research Center Certified certificate, the homeowner's guarantee that the home was built according to one of the levels of green outlined in the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines. The NAHB Research Center is the sole certifier recognized by NAHB’s National Green Building Program.

Other key components of a green home include:

Energy-Efficient Features
Many of the energy-efficient qualities of a green home are easy to spot. Appliances, windows, and water heating systems will likely have ENERGY STAR® ratings. The home should also include efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs. Renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaic electricity and water heating systems, further decrease the overall energy consumption within the home.

Water-Efficient Features
Fixtures and appliances such as low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets, and ENERGY STAR dishwashers and washing machines all conserve water. Programmed, low-volume irrigation systems, rainwater collection systems, wastewater treatment systems, and hot water recirculation systems also save water.

Resource-Efficient Features
These decisions—from home size, to orientation on the lot, to floor plan layout—are made in the design of your home and development of the lot. The house orientation and design should take advantage of natural daylight to reduce lighting needs, and should use strategies to reduce heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter. The home should contain renewable materials, including rapidly-renewable wood species such as bamboo, and recycled-content materials in carpets, tiles, and concrete formulations.

Indoor Air Quality Features
The heating, air conditioning and ventilation system (HVAC) must be appropriately sized for an efficient and properly ventilated home. Fans in the kitchen and bathrooms should cycle fresh air inside, and release stale air. Low-VOC paints and finishes and wall papers should be used as well.

Outside the Home
In a green home, care should be taken to preserve trees and other vegetation native to the area. Landscaping should contain plants that are appropriate for the climate, and grouped according to water needs. Driveways and other impervious surfaces should be reduced as much as possible, and may be composed of gravel, permeable block pavers, grids, or other permeable systems.

There are many benefits to owning a green home including the following:

Lower Operating Costs
The technologies and practices required to build a green home typically result in lower cost to operate the home. Energy-efficient appliances, lighting systems, and HVAC equipment result in lower electricity bills. Using less water through water-conserving faucets, showers, toilets, and irrigation systems result in lower water bills. Properly sized HVAC systems mean that less energy is needed to condition spaces. Employing technologies such as photovoltaic panels for solar electricity and water heating, and geothermal heat exchangers can further reduce dependence on public utilities. Over time, these savings can really add up.

Reduced Maintenance Needs
The whole-house approach to green building means that the systems used within the home work efficiently and effectively together, resulting in less upkeep and maintenance chores for homeowners. Effective stormwater management and landscaping means less time maintaining outside spaces. Also, green building practices mean a more durably constructed home. Drained foundations, water spouts on gutters, and flashing around windows and doors reduce the opportunity for system failure within the home due to moisture intrusion.

Healthy, Comfortable Living Spaces
Indoor air quality is one of the guiding principles of the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines. Homes are well ventilated to allow for proper air exchange, and low-emitting products like low- or no-VOC paints reduce health risks from off-gassing. Further, green building practices are targeted at reducing the opportunity for moisture intrusion, so there are fewer issues with mold. The efficient HVAC systems, windows, and floor plans also mean that heating and cooling is better distributed throughout the home, resulting in more comfortable indoor environments.

Environmental Benefits
Increased energy and water efficiency means that fewer resources are used within the home throughout its lifespan. Further, the renewable, recycled, and other efficient building products used in green home construction reduce the impact on natural resources. Also, construction of green homes includes resource management and waste reduction practices.