EVERYONE KNOWS GREEN
Green homes may not seem like a new concept to most. In fact, a Google search for ‘green homes’ returns 470,000,000 results! But the term is still relatively new in comparison to the centuries-old construction industry, meaning there is a lot of gray area surrounding the use of the term “green.”
Currently, no one really regulates who can call themselves “green.” Yes, we have regulatory agencies in place to oversee product claims, but are they qualified to evaluate green products and features? How are they qualified? Are all green products equal? Who determines how green something is and how is that determination made?…Welcome to the
green gray area.
GREENING THE GRAY
Technically, any home or component part can be green if it shows reliable and demonstrable energy efficiency over competing products and/or services. But, try thinking of the term “green” on a home like you would if you saw “healthy” on a candy bar… kinda vague and seems too good to be true right?! It’s not that green products/services/features are blatantly lying to consumers, it’s just that in a notoriously inefficient industry, it’s pretty easy to prove that you are more energy-efficient than competitors.
There’s also an added challenge with using the term “green” in the construction and home building industries because traditional construction standards can be just as obscure even to the savviest home buyer. Therefore, even if a company goes so far as to explain its “greenness,” without any context, there is no meaning. While this disconnect has over-valued some green products, it has also opened the door for organizations committed to energy efficiency to begin the daunting task of educating the public on the value of the truly green home and identifying the true value, both quantitatively and qualitatively for energy-efficient features in residential homes.
There are many organizations that support the research and implementation of energy-efficient strategies both in the home building industry and beyond. Many of these organizations offer green certification of either an entire home, certain components of the home, or a combination of both. As a leading authority in sustainability and energy efficiency, these organizations are qualified to oversee the certification of green homes. The following are Urban Fabric Builders’ top picks for leaders in energy efficiency:
ZERO ENERGY READY HOME
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
Homes that earn the DOE ZERO ENERGY READY HOME meet strict performance guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information regarding Zero Energy Ready Homes, please visit https://energy.gov/eere/buildings/zero-energy-ready-home
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
The USGBC’s LEED® green building program is the preeminent program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of high-performance green buildings. For more information regarding LEED for Homes, please visit https://greenhomesguide.com
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
ENERGY STAR is the government-backed program that helps us all save money and protect our environment with energy-efficient products and practices. Whether you are looking to replace old appliances, remodel your home, or buy a new house, ENERGY STAR can help. More than 60 types of products, including appliances, televisions, computers, heating and cooling equipment, and even new homes can earn the government’s ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR also offers best-practice solutions to make your home more comfortable and reduce your energy costs. For more information regarding ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, please visit https://www.energystar.gov/newhomes
INDOOR AIR PLUS
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
To earn the Indoor airPLUS label, a home must meet strict guidelines for reducing poor indoor air quality through moisture and mold control, pest barriers, effective heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, safe combustion, and healthier building materials. For more information regarding Indoor airPLUS, please visit https://www.epa.gov/indoorairplus
SO, WHY CERTIFY?
While it’s true that a home can be energy-efficient without being energy certified, the same cannot be said of the opposite. Energy efficient certification is a guarantee which provides independent, third-party verification that the home and its installed components are safe, support good health, and provide energy savings.
What’s the catch?…generally speaking, energy efficiency saves money in the long-term, but costs more up front. It is important to keep in mind that energy-efficient features are typically considered upgrades and can sometimes add additional materials and installation costs to home construction and renovation fees. Additionally, some certifying organizations require a certification fee to complete verification of energy-efficient features.
The good news?…the added cost of certification can come with a huge reward! Certified energy-efficient homes use an estimated 30-60% less energy than a comparable home built to traditional code standards. That translates to a cost savings of $200-400 per year in utility bills alone! Owners of certified efficient homes can also expect fewer home maintenance costs as most appliances and component home systems run less frequently due to their energy-saving capacities. Furthermore, research has shown that green certification enhanced home value in California by 9%, a number that will surely continue to grow as temperatures increase globally, utility rates increase accordingly, and consumer awareness of social and environmental responsibility continues to grow.
At Urban Fabric Builders, long-term value and total project impact is important. That’s why we invest in the highest-quality certified energy-efficient materials and systems to produce the best high-performance homes in the Phoenix market. Check out our energy efficient projects now for sale in Central Phoenix or click here to contact our realtor, Lala Smith for more info!