1. What Is Built Green®?
Built Green® is an environmentally-friendly, non-profit, residential building program developed in partnership with the Central Washington Home Builders Association, Washington State Department of Ecology, and other agencies in Washington State to provide you with a healthier, more efficient house.
Built Green® incorporates environmental considerations into every phase of the home building process. That means that during the design, construction, and operation of a home, energy and water efficiency, lot development, resource efficient building design and materials, indoor environmental quality, homeowner maintenance, and the home's overall impact on the environment are all taken into account.
Built Green® homes are attractive, comfortable, durable, environmentally-friendly - and save you money to own and operate. Participating Built Green® builders craft these resource-efficient homes to exceed building codes and provide homeowners with years of healthy, quality living, while protecting our precious Northwest environment.
The program provides consumers with an easy-to-understand rating system, which quantifies environmentally friendly building practices for new home construction.
2. Who Is Built Green®?
Built Green® is a network of architects, builders, developers, subcontractors, suppliers, lenders, and real estate agents working together to improve quality of life in Klickitat, Kittitas and Yakima Counties. The Built Green® program accomplishes this by using a menu of options that provide quality homes which, compared to standard homes, are more cost-effective to own and operate, healthier, safer, and more protective of our beautiful Northwest environment.
3. What Are The Top Ten Reasons to Buy a Built Green Home?
Contractors in Kittitas and Yakima Counties already build to some of the toughest energy, air quality, stormwater management, and water efficiency standards in the nation. Based on choices by the builder and homeowner, Built Green® goes beyond even these standards to give you added value, added peace of mind. Following, in no particular order, are ten reasons to buy a Built Green® home:
Lower Operating Costs
A Built Green® home typically saves money on operating costs because of more efficient energy use with such features as extra insulation, more efficient water heaters, lighting and appliances, and the use of natural daylighting techniques. Many Built Green features save money on construction costs up-front. For example, on average, a home built between 1990 and 2001 consumed about 12,800 kW per year for space and water heating, cooling, and lights and appliances. Where natural gas is used, consumption averages 69,000 cubic feet per household annually. Total energy expenditures during a year cost these homeowners about $1,600 . Energy efficiency improvements that make a home 20 percent more efficient--a conservative estimate for many green homes--could significantly reduce a homeowner's annual utility bill expenses.
Better Indoor Air Quality
Using low volatile organic compound (VOC) and low-toxic interior paints and finishes can reduce toxins, thereby increasing indoor air quality in a home. Carpeting can be tacked rather than glued with adhesives that can off-gas over time. Mechanical ventilation can be improved by installing a "positive" system that exhausts indoor air at a slightly slower rate than fresh air is brought inside. Improving indoor air can be especially helpful for residents with sensitivities to allergens.
Saves Old-Growth Forests
Rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo, wheatgrass, cork and strawboard can be managed, grown and harvested in a sustainable way, and can effectively replace lumber from old-growth trees. Engineered lumber uses smaller pieces of fast-growing wood to obtain the same sizes and higher strengths as lumber milled from large old-growth forests. Plastic lumber made from recycled plastic jugs can also be used for decking, sills and siding -- replacing what are traditionally wood products.
Water conservation can be achieved by installing drought tolerant plants and less lawn in landscaped areas. Porous paving can be used in driveways and walkways to allow rainwater to seep into the ground instead of running off. Strict erosion control methods are used to help reduce sedimentation into streams, and natural features of a site can be protected. All of these measures benefit salmon habitat.
More Family Time
It takes less work and resources to maintain certain materials in a home. For example, siding, decking and trim made from plastic lumber needs little or no painting. Durable materials such as stone, tile and slate last longer and therefore need replacement less often.
Reduced Breezes Inside The Home
A home can be sealed against the outside elements with advanced caulking that goes beyond basic practice. Typically, exterior walls are caulked around windows and door frames, and on interior walls where they intersect with exterior ceilings. Air sealing can be checked for effectiveness with an optional "blower door" test.
Healthier Yard With Homegrown Topsoil
During construction of a house or development, the topsoil that is removed for grading can be stockpiled and, later, reapplied to the site for healthier soils. Soil amendments can be added, such as compost, to further promote a good soil for plantings that will have a better establishment.
Reduces Dependence On Fossil Fuels & Promotes Cleaner Air
By promoting the use of local materials, transportation and other costs can be reduced. By including pedestrian access and access to mass transit, projects can encourage the decreased use of automobiles, thereby reducing our foreign oil consumption and helping maintain cleaner air outdoors.
Built Green® builders post job site recycling plans and recycle as much as possible of scrap building materials such as lumber, wall board, concrete, cardboard and packaging. They can also incorporate many materials that contain recycled content or have been salvaged without lowering the quality of the home. This helps reduce the amount of material going to our already overburdened landfills.
Promotes Businesses Committed To "Green"
The member companies of Built Green® include lenders with special financing for Built Green® homes; product manufacturers of durable, recycled content, non-toxic, energy-efficient and recyclable materials; service providers of utilities, engineering, consulting, real estate, interior design and home maintenance; builders who are willing to not only build green but to go to the extra effort and cost to have their projects certified as Built Green®; architects who can design a green home with you every step of the way; and our local governments that are committed to protecting the quality of life for all of us!
4. How Does Built Green Work?
Building projects are qualified using a Built Green® checklist organized into six categories of environmentally friendly action items. Builders use the checklists prior to construction to determine which features to include in the home and to track progress. When construction is complete, the builder sends a signed copy of the checklist to the Central Washington Built Green Association (CWBGA), certifying that the home identified in the project enrollment form contains the identified features. Based upon that builder certification, and after reviewing the application, the CWBGA will award the appropriate Certificate of Merit indicating that the home has received a 2, 3, 4 or 5 Star Level. Four and Five Star Level homes require a third-party verification. Features included in the Built Green checklists include:
- Lot Design, Preparation and Development
- Resource Efficiency
- Energy Efficiency
- Water Efficiency
- Indoor Air Quality
- Operation Maintenance, and Homeowner Education
See the checklists or Builder Information/Certification sections of this website for additional information.
5. What Are the Built Green Checklists?
The Built Green® checklist provides the framework for builders or developers to qualify homes. There are several important areas that are addressed in the checklists:
Lot Design, Preparation and Development
Resource-efficient site design and development practices help reduce the environmental impacts and improve the energy performance of new housing. For instance, site design principles such as saving trees, constructing onsite storm water retention/infiltration features, and orienting houses to maximize passive solar heating and cooling are basic processes used in the construction of Built Green® Homes.
Successful Built Green Homes started with the consideration of the environment at the design phase--the time at which material selection occurs. Creating resource efficient designs and using resource efficient materials can maximize function while optimizing the use of natural resources. For instance, engineered-wood products can help optimize resources by using materials in which more than 50 percent of the log is converted into structural lumber rather than conventional dimensional lumber.
Resource efficiency is also about reducing job-site waste. Invariably, there are leftover materials from the construction process. Developing and implementing a construction waste management plan helps to reduce the quantity of landfill material. The average single family home in the United States at 2,320 sq. ft. (NAHB 2003), is estimated to generate between 6,960 and 12,064 lbs. of construction waste. Thus, by creating an effective construction waste management plan and taking advantage of available recycling facilities and markets for recyclable materials construction waste can be reduced by at lease two-thirds, creating potential cost savings for builders and reducing the burden on landfill space.
Builders use design and material selections that can result in conserving limited resources. Using recycled content products reduces the use of "virgin" materials. Using current waste minimizing practices can contribute to the overall efficiency of the project. Encouraging builders to use locally manufactured products also reduces the energy used to get them to the job site.
Includes careful window selection, building envelope air sealing, duct sealing, geothermal ground source heating, radiant floor heating, Energy Star appliances and light fixtures and higher insulation values to create a truly high-performance, energy efficient home that is less expensive to operate and more comfortable to live in than a conventionally constructed home.
Indoor Air Quality
Use of environmentally friendly building materials, paints, caulking, sealants, insulation, interior surfaces which are easy to clean and maintain, state of the art indoor air filtration and cleaning all lend to a healthier indoor air environment.
Operation Maintenance and Homeowner Education
Improper or inadequate maintenance can defeat the designer's and builders best efforts to create a resource-efficient home. For example, homeowners often fail to change air filters regularly or neglect to operate bath and kitchen exhaust fans to remove moist air. Many homeowners are unaware of the indoor environmental quality impact of using common substances in and around the house such as pesticides, fertilizers, and common cleaning agents. By providing homeowners with a manual that explains proper operation and maintenance procedures, offers alternatives to toxic cleaning substances and lawn and garden chemicals, and points out water-saving practices, a builder can help assure that the green home that was so carefully built will also be operated in an environmentally responsible manner.
6. Why Are Your Local Government and the Central Washington Home Builders Partnering on Built Green®?
The local government partners, including Yakima, and Kittitas County, and the City of Ellensburg and Yakima, each have a mission as stewards of our region's environment to protect our water, land and natural habitats. The Built Green Program complements the environmental messages that local government already promotes regarding water conservation and water quality, recycling and the use of recycled-content products, and habitat protection, just to name a few. It promises to be a productive partnership that promotes environmental protection and innovation at the same time.
The Central Washington Home Builders Association is committed to the goal of building affordable homes to meet consumer demand in the Central Washington region. At the same time, as we all become more aware of the effect our lives have on the region, the Association is eager to work with knowledgeable partners to control our impact on our environment. The Built Green® Program encourages builders to provide and consumers to seek homes that are more environmentally - and family-friendly. Built Green homes are designed and built with an eye toward protecting salmon, reducing energy consumption, controlling resource use, and improving the residents' health. By partnering with our local governments, we can thoughtfully address these issues together and find acceptable solutions to housing and construction issues.
7. How Is The Certification Process Handled?
The Built Green program is a voluntary program that has both self-certification and third party verification elements. The program requires builders or developers to follow a specific set of criteria to attain status as a "Built Green" home. Beyond these standards, builders will earn a rating based on a point system. After reviewing the completed checklist provided by the builder, the Central Washington Built Green Association will issue a 2-, 3-, 4- or 5-Star rating for the project. 2-and 3-Star levels are self-certifying with the builders signature required as confirmation that items on the checklist have been completed. The 4- and 5-Star levels require verification by a third party.
8. Are There Other Programs of this Type in The Country?
Successful programs of this nature are hosted in Denver, Colorado; Atlanta, Georgia; Portland, Oregon; Wisconsin, Scottsdale, Arizona, Austin, Texas; Florida, and in Clark, Kitsap, King and Snohomish, Pierce and Thurston counties here in Washington. For a list of other green home building programs across the country, visit the National Association of Home Builders website.
9. When Is The Built Green Logo Displayed
The Built Green logo is assurance that your builder has certified that your new home contains selected Built Green features and meets the criteria on the Built Green checklist. Be sure to check the list of Built Green members to locate a Built Green builder in your area. If your contractor is not currently a member of Built Green, please encourage them to join today by directing them to the Built Green website or by calling the Central Washington Home Builders Association at (800) 492-9422 or email email@example.com