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Green Technology Building Standards and Guidelines For Energy Efficient Homes

Sometimes a catch phrase comes along and is used until it has no meaning. These days anyone trying to sell anything uses the phrase “Green Technology” or “Green Build” or some combination with the word green. Is it really green or is it the same old product with a new name in front of it? It would be nice if it were green, did help the environment and didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
In the building industry, both residential and commercial, there is a system in place to verify when something is advertised as green, it is, in fact, green. There are standards and guidelines that must be met, so that the building can be certified nationally as green. This article will focus on residential building.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in conjunction with the International Code Council, established a nationally acknowledged definition of what “Green Build” constitutes. The standard of “Green Build” set forth in this definition is in compliance with the requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI’s main purpose is to create a system whereby a uniform set of standards and guidelines are created that will allow U.S. businesses and U.S. citizens to compete while maintaining a quality of life and protecting the environment.
Basically NAHB created The National Green Building Standard. This is a point system that allows you to get a national certification for your home as a “Green Home”. Every step of the way points are given for certain building techniques and materials. Some techniques and materials score higher than others, this accounts for the percentage of green your home is deemed to be.
NAHB’s Green Building Program creates guidelines that are above code requirements for green features in many instances. This helps in facilitating the inspection process and very well might fast track the permitting process in some cases. All categories of systems and materials are given ratings. The higher the ratings, the higher the certification, if standards are not met, no certification will be awarded and the home cannot be marketed as a NAHB or ASNI “Green Built” home.
What follows is a brief description of the Green Building Program’s rating system:
Site design and development:
1) The less invasive impact the footprint has on the environment, the higher the score. Placing the home in the right location, facing the right way to take advantage of the suns energy to both heat and cool the home.
2) Working with the natural slope to reduce rainwater runoff.
3) Protecting trees.
4) The land’s ability to recover quickly from the construction.
Building materials: Rated according to their efficiency, durability and the percentage of recycled components they contain. The following are a few examples of favorably rated materials:
1) Cellulose insulation
2) Recycled steel or wood
3) Plastic roof tiles
4) Farm grown wood such as bamboo or cork, as opposed to old growth timber
Energy Efficient Insulation Systems: Methods using state of the art house wraps and further enforced with sealants; combined with any combination, if not all, of the following allow for higher scores, which bring a higher certification:
1) Structural insulated panels
2) Insulated concrete form insulation
3) Thermo pane windows
4) Geo thermo heating system
5) Solar panels
Water conservation:
The NAHB Green Build Program looks at water conservation technology that does not sacrifice functionality. Here are a few green build concepts that help the environment and the homeowner:
1) Tankless water heaters
2) Foot pedal sinks
3) Rain water collection systems
4) New technology garden bubblers
5) Native landscapes
6) Gray water recycling
The National Green Building Standard is written by builders, code officials and environmental experts. It provides a way to receive green certification, build with the future in mind and build a house on schedule that will sell. It is a program that benefits both the builder and homeowner.
You can find much more in depth information on NAHB’s Green Build Program and a thorough explanation of the point ratings for “Green Buildings” by going to .
If your desire is to build or buy a truly “Green Built” home, research as much good information as possible; this way the phrase Green Technology will mean exactly what it is intended to mean.
Best of Luck.

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