Friday, September 12, 2008

Go Green Team, Part 2

As home buyers become more environmentally conscious, sellers would be wise to start advertising environmental features of their homes. As mentioned last in Part 1, specific is important. Rather than calling a house green, Realtors would do well to encourage sellers to get an independent third-party certification for their homes.

Many such certification exist, and the list is sure to grow in coming years. Different certification mean different things, and customers should be offered information on exactly what the home is certified as.

The Energy Star Qualified Homes is a nation program that looks at a variety of energy efficiency measures, and all of these measures can also positively impact the health of people living in the home. The homes must have tightly sealed air ducts, which reduces energy consumption at the same time as improving indoor air quality. They must have improved insulation. The insulation levels require tight building envelopes which also reduce moisture, drafts and noise. Visit Energy Star Qualified Homes for more information.

For existing homes, consider having an Energy Rating done. An Energy Rating determines where homes fall on the HERS Index. A score of 100 represents American Standard Building (or an "average" home), and a score of zero means the home has zero net energy usage. A lower score is considered better, obviously, and homes can score over 100. A HERS Score is specific proof of energy efficiency, and is one way to advertise green without greenwashing. Visit RESNET for a list of Certified Energy Raters nationwide.

The United States Green Building Council offers a well-known green certification. Better known as LEED Certified, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System is considered a national benchmark for design, construction and operation of green homes and commercial buildings. Locally, Artisan Design:Build has done LEED certified work and is familiar with the process.

Green Built Home is a Wisconsin specific program that certifies both new construction and existing home. Their website is filled with resources for green remodeling, checklist and a directory of cooperating building professionals. Green Built Home is a specific, recognized certification in this area.

There are many other independent certifications, and these programs are often state specific. Visit Green Building Certification Programs for an extensive list broken down by state.

Next part, green financing...

No comments: