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Green Building. Is it a Fad? Will it pass from sight like energy initiatives of the past? Or Is it a Viable Way to Build? If its here, what program is best?. Who is this Guy? What’s he all about?. I am not a Tree Hugger. I am not a Green Extraterrestrial.

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Green Building

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Green building l.jpg

Green Building

  • Is it a Fad?

  • Will it pass from sight like energy initiatives of the past?

  • Or Is it a Viable Way to Build?

  • If its here, what program is best?

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Who is this Guy?What’s he all about?

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I am not a Tree Hugger

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I am not a Green Extraterrestrial

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I am not a Mad Building Scientist

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I am the Building Consultant

From EarthCraft Homes

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EarthCraft House™

Sensibly Built for the Environment

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My name is Bob Congdon

[email protected]

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Green Building is not a Star Wars Concept

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What I believe about Building Energy Efficient, Sustainable, Green Homes

  • The non-profit affordable housing industry, says for-profit, affordable housing builders as “doing well by doing good.” Building energy efficient, sustainable buildings is the right thing to do—the American builders thing to do, but it has to be cost effective to work.

  • That every builder is entitled to make a profit. No profit-no Green Building.

  • That until builders learn how to profitably create Green housing, either by law or the active pursuit of profit, Green Building will not be available to the masses, where it should be, from affordable to high end custom.

  • That not one house should be built or renovated without adhering to practical, cost effective, Sustainable/Green/Energy Conserving standards based on a cost vs. value evaluation.

  • That not one new house, condominium, town house, or apartment complex should be built in this country without conforming to, at the very minimum, the Energy Star Thermal Envelope Standards

  • Every Building Code will require Energy Conserving-Sustainable/Green building practices incorporated into their programs over the next 5 years—it has already started.

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I am not going to blind you with Building Science to show why you should be doing this.

  • Personally I hate the word Green Building—To me it conjures up visions of Jules Verne and Dudley Do-Right. It is not a builders term.

  • It implies impracticality and some future Save the Earth concept-not something we can do today.

  • I deal in the real world. It has to make practical and economic sense. If it doesn’t then it isn’t going to get done. I am not into fru-fru.

  • I like Cost Effective, Energy Efficient, Sustainable Building. That’s got substance. It sounds like something a builder would embrace.

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GREEN BUILDINGAn effort to create hi-performance, EE structures that improve occupant comfort and well being while minimizing environmental impact.

  • Resource conservation during design and construction

  • Resource conservation during operations

  • Protection of occupants health, well-being and productivity

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Why Does Energy Conservation Matter?

  • The cost of energy is going to continue to accelerate and the only practical, short term solution alive today is conservation.

  • Building energy consumption is almost 40% of total energy use in the US.

  • Most states import energy from various producers outside their region. Easier to conserve than to build new plants.

  • Residential energy consumption has significant environmental impact. (per State)

    • 21 million ton of carbon dioxide,47 thousand tons of sulfur dioxide,68 thousand tons of nitrogen oxides

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1. Save Energy

2. Recycle Buildings

3. Create Community

4. Reduce Material Use

5. Save Water

6. Maximize Longevity

7. Protect and Enhance Site

8. Healthy Buildings

9. Minimize Construction and Demolition Waste

10. Green Your Business

Priorities for Sustainable Construction

From Environmental Building News

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  • As a Builder I know your concerns, pains and practicality

  • Builders have to make a profit.

  • Profit by selling more houses, selling houses quicker or increasing profit potential.

  • You can go broke saving the world if you don’t approach Green Intelligently

  • But let me be clear, Energy Conserving, Sustainable Building Practices are the correct way to Build no if, ands or buts.

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This isn't Rocket Science 101

  • Tightening up what we already do

  • Demanding installations like they are intended.

  • Tighten the building envelope, Tighten the duct system, use sustainable materials that don’t have to be replaced every few years.

  • Approach it like it was yours on a budget.

  • Look at it like you were going to own it and then justify what you are doing, and how to make a profit out of it.

  • Doing it to a verified and recognized standard

  • One great advantage—Less Call backs. More money in your pocket.

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Cost vs. ValueThe key to the entire process

To a Builder, no matter what program you think is the greatest, it all comes down to cost to include vs. value of return-profit. No profit-no houses built.

An actual study done on Cost vs. Value for Affordable Housing

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Let’s Look at the 4 programs available in Virginia

  • NAHB Green Building Program

  • LEED’s & LEED’s for Homes

  • Energy Star

  • EarthCraft House Virginia

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NAHB Green Building Program

  • Green Nation--The National Green Building Program sets cost-effective guidelines for green building. Source: BUILDER Magazine; Publication date:

    • January 1, 2008 by Brian C. Catalde

  • When 800 registered voters were asked last fall about what would motivate them to either purchase a new green home or “green” their existing home, 64 percent said that reduced energy costs would be the biggest reason. With energy prices on the rise, now's the time to improve the energy efficiency of America's homes, and the NAHB is helping to lead the way.

  • As advocates for buyers, it's up to the nation's home builders to make sure the solution is not only effective, but also less expensive than the problem itself. Now, more than ever, we need to build on the success of the local HBA programs that have resulted in the construction of more than 100,000 green homes nationwide.

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NAHB Green Building Program-Continued

  • Following extensive testing and refinement, our association and the NAHB Research Center are now putting the finishing touches on the NAHB National Green Building Program, which will be launched on Green Day, Feb. 14, at the International Builders' Show (IBS). The National Green Building Program includes a scoring tool that helps builders identify and document green construction techniques and features in the homes they build. You can try it out at This tool is the heart of the new program, which also will include a registry of green homes and builders as well as extensive educational resources, providing the opportunity for all of our members to build green.

  • On Green Day, we will also introduce the new University of Housing Certified Green Builder designation, which will help identify people with considerable expertise in green building.

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NAHB Green Building Program-Continued

The timing could not be better for two initiatives that will help pave the way for authentic, cost-effective green building. We also surveyed builders and developers last fall, and the vast majority of NAHB members—90 percent—are interested in participating in a voluntary green building certification program. Eighty percent say they would choose the NAHB National Green Building Program over other national programs such as the Green Building Council's LEED-H rating system.


But that certainly doesn't mean that green must be watered down. Green comes in many shades, but for NAHB builders, there is a bright line: To meet the minimum certification requirements under the NAHB program, homes must meet energy-efficiency levels that are at least equivalent to Energy Star, the federal EPA program that has enjoyed great success in the marketplace. Over the past seven years, 750,000 homes have earned the Energy Star label, indicating that they are at least 15 percent more efficient than required by current energy codes.

When a green home doesn't look or feel significantly different from one built using more traditional construction methods, when builders have the tools and resources to build them without significant material or labor cost increases, and when consumers readily accept the finished product, then green has arrived. And that's why—and how—the NAHB National Green Building Program will bring green to the mainstream. The time has come, and we're ready.


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LEED® for Homes

  • What is LEED for Homes?

  • LEED for Homes is a green home rating system for assuring homes are designed and built to be energy and resource efficient and healthy for occupants.

  • LEED can be applied to single and multi-family homes and is intended for both market-rate and affordable housing. USGBC began the pilot test of LEED for homes in August 2005.

  • There are currently 10,250 homes across the U.S. involved in the LEED for Homes program and 400 homes that have already been LEED certified as a green home. There are 535 builders across the U.S. participating in the LEED for Homes program.

  • The rating system was launched in December 2007.

  • What are the benefits of a LEED home?

  • LEED certified homes are safer, healthier, more comfortable and more durable than conventional homes. The benefits of a LEED home include economic benefits such as lower energy and water bills; environmental benefits like reduced greenhouse gas emissions; and health benefits such as reduced exposure to mold, mildew and other indoor toxins. Also, LEED homes fit into a family’s budget, the net cost of owning a LEED home is comparable to that of owning a conventional home.

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LEED® for Homes--cont

  • How can consumers compare green homes?

  • One of the many challenges faced by a homebuyer is comparing a green home to another home. Any one home can be called "green," but how does the homeowner know that it really is green?

  • LEED certification is something that consumers can look for to readily identify green homes that have been third-party inspected, performance tested and certified to perform better than conventional homes.

  • The LEED certification assures that the home you are purchasing was designed to meet the highest criteria and is operating exactly the way it is supposed to. Visit for more information.

  • What is the difference between LEED for Homes and other green home building programs?

  • There are currently more than 70 local or regional green home building programs in the United States. Visit for a complete list. Each of these programs is unique, with its own specifications and requirements. LEED is the only national homes rating system that clearly defines and establishes benchmarks for green homes. It enables builders anywhere in the country to obtain a green LEED rating that can be recognized by homebuyers nationwide. LEED is a consensus based national system for green home building that is developed and refined by a diverse committee of national experts and experienced green builders.

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LEED® for Homes--cont

Why should I build a LEED home?

LEED has become recognized in the commercial building sector as the national system of performance for green buildings and has rapidly gained recognition among the public at large. LEED is designed to serve the residential construction industry.

Home builders using LEED will be able to differentiate their homes as representing the highest quality of green homes on the market. Furthermore, the LEED certification will make it easy for home buyers to readily identify high quality green homes.

How will the quality of LEED homes be assured?

The strength of the LEED program is rigorous third-party verification and documentation. Each LEED home will undergo both on-site inspections to ensure that the LEED features have been installed correctly, and thorough performance testing to ensure proper performance.

Who is responsible for rating a LEED home?

LEED homes are rated by LEED for Homes Providers, local organizations with documented experience and expertise in their region's market. A LEED for Homes Provider has three primary roles in a given market:

Marketing LEED to builders;

Providing green home rating support services to builders;

Training, coordinating, and overseeing LEED qualified inspectors and builder support staff.

LEED for Homes Providers are located around the country and contracted through the USGBC to provide services to builders. They have demonstrated outstanding abilities and have a proven record of supporting builders in the construction of high performance, sustainable homes. See the list of providers at

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LEED® for Homes--cont

What is the process for rating a LEED home?

Specified performance tests and inspections will be conducted by the LEED for Homes Provider. When all of the LEED features have been verified, a rating certificate will be issued to the builder for that qualified LEED home.

How much will it cost to earn a LEED Home rating?

Documentation and verification fees for LEED are established by each LEED for LEED for Homes Provider. Fees for the initial verification tasks range from $500 to $2,000 per home. The cost of verification will vary with size of the home, the LEED rating sought (i.e., Certified, Silver, Gold, Platinum), travel time required by the rater, the number of homes being built, and the builder’s experience with green home building techniques. Certain areas may have cost incentives provided through utilities, state energy organizations or corporate sponsors.

Where can I find out more about green home building?

There are many green home building resources available on the internet. Many of the

existing local green home building programs (listed online at offer training and educational information. USGBC has launched a new Web site that features resources on green home building for consumers. You can visit that Web site at:

LEED contact information

For questions about LEED, please call the USGBC at 202-828-7422 or [email protected]

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Builders Pit Leed-H against NAHB Green in One on One.

  • Professional Builder-1/1/2008

  • Michael Chandler: Chandler Design Build-Mebane, N.C.

  • Steve Glenn-Living Homes, Santa Monica, Calif.

  • About 5K

  • Self-Certification

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EarthCraft House Virginia

  • A Green Building program brought to VA by the Virginia Home Builders Association and Southface Institute

  • A program developed by builders for builders.

  • An energy portion and a green portion.

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Scoring a House

  • 12 categories

  • Minimum total of 150 points

  • Combination of energy efficiency and environmentally responsible practices

  • Innovation encouraged

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Site Planning

Building Envelope and Systems


Resource Efficient Design

Resource Efficient Materials

Waste Management

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Water Conservation

Outdoor Water Conservation

Homeowner Education

Builder Operations

Bonus Points

EarthCraft HouseCategories

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EarthCraft HouseHome Buyer Benefits

  • Higher quality

  • Less cost

  • Healthier

  • More comfortable

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Energy Efficient Building Envelope and Systems

Required: Home must meet or exceed Energy Star

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National program to recognize homes that are 30% more efficient than standard construction

Requires energy modeling or Builder Option Package (BOP) with blower door and duct blaster tests

BOP items are marked with a star on worksheet

Energy Star Homes

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Air Leakage Test

EARTHCRAFT measures the amount of air that leaks through the building envelope with a blower door test.

  • Maximum leakage cfm50 / sfbe < 0.50

  • sfbe is square footageof building envelope surface area

  • Address ventilation

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Duct leakage less than 6% of conditioned floor area

Duct Leakage Test

Required: duct connections sealed with mastic or butyl tape

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Opinion on Benefit/Preference of one program vs. another

  • NAHB Green-Volunteer program-can be certified. Basically developed for areas with no HBA backed program. EarthCraft was brought to Virginia by the Home Builders themselves. No volunteer program without 3rd party verification will hold water with the litigious, informed consumer of today.

  • LEED’s: EarthCraft Virginia will be the provider. Great sophisticated, paperwork orientated program and expensive. People with deep pockets may demand it. Kind of like be the first on your block. Maybe it will come down in price. Great commercial program.

  • Energy Star—Great for Thermal Envelope, has no Green portion. It has developed a healthy house checklist. Part of the EarthCraft Program.

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EarthCraft Virginia

  • To quote Tina Turner: Simply the best. Better than all the rest

  • 3rd Party verified. Reasonable pricing. Common sense orientated. Developed by Builders for Builders. Brought to State by Virginia HBA.

  • Combines Energy Star with Green. You get a Certificate from both.

  • Developed in Conjunction with Southface Institute. Who every other Green program imports information from. They sit on top of the mountain.

  • Super, personable, handsome, knowledgeable technicians to work with.

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EarthCraft House™

Sensibly Built for the Environment

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