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NAHB Introduces New Guidelines for Green Building

The National Association of Home Builders has unveiled new voluntary guidelines to help mainstream home builders to incorporate environmental practices into every phase of the home building process while putting a priority on housing affordability. NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines “are revolutionary because they will help all builders, not just niche builders, construct more energy-efficient, environmentally sensitive new homes in different price ranges and climate conditions,” said Ray Tonjes, a home builder from Austin, Texas, and chairman of NAHB’s Green Building Subcommittee. “NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines are a milestone in our efforts to provide safe, decent, affordable housing for all Americans and to help
conserve our environment.”

Although homes built today are 100 percent more energy-efficient than those built during the 1970s, green building has been primarily the province of high-end, niche builders who cater to a wealthy clientele. NAHB undertook the guidelines project a year ago at the urging of members who need research and education on building resource-efficient homes that are both affordable and customized to local conditions.

The guidelines offer voluntary, builder- and market-driven green solutions for the following:

  • Lot design and preparation.
  • Resource, energy and water efficiency.
  • Indoor environmental quality.
  • Operation, maintenance and homeowner operation.
  • Global impact.
  • Site planning and land development.

Developed for new single-family homes, the guidelines can also be modified for use with multifamily and custom homes as well as with remodeling projects for existing homes. In addition, local home builders associations can use the guidelines as a blueprint to create their own custom, voluntary green building programs, which would provide
criteria, research, education and promotion to home builders in local markets.

The guidelines were developed under contract by the NAHB Research Center in a consensus process involving more than 60 stakeholders from the green building industry, including architects, manufacturers, home builders, environmentalists, government agencies, suppliers and trade associations.

“Developing locally-based programs has usually been the most successful way to achieve residential green building goals,” said Michael Luzier, president of the NAHB Research Center. “The Guidelines are an excellent tool to give local home builder associations a jump on the program development process.”

A new organization called the Green Building Initiative was also created to help implement the guidelines in markets across the country. The GBI is a not-for-profit association supported by a broad cross section of groups and individuals interested in promoting energy efficient and environmentally sustainable practices in residential and commercial construction. NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines
are available online at

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