What does it mean to build green?

Going green isn’t just a fad, it’s a near-future necessity. In fact, when shopping for a home, an increasing number of homebuyers are searching for a builder who is making energy-efficiency a priority.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Does the builder have green-specific certifications, such as LEED or NAHB Green? Some states also offer additional certifications for builders who employ eco-friendly building standards.
  • Is the builder an ENERGY STAR builder? To qualify, the company must build at least one ENERGY STAR-qualified home every 12 months, and be certified by a Home Energy Rater. Visit the ENERGY STAR Partner Locator to find out whether your potential builder is certified, at www.energystar.gov.
  • If not certified with LEED, does the builder follow any LEED-specific guidelines, such as producing less building materials waste and choosing sustainable sites?
  • Is the builder willing to make floor plan changes to be more consistent with energy- efficient characteristics, such as adding south-facing windows?
  • Does the builder work with green-certified architects, brokers (ecobroker.com), landscapers, or other eco-friendly companies? If not, can the builder recommend some who are certified?
  • Does the builder offer – or suggest – energy-saving components, such as tankless water heaters or radiant barriers?