The energy crisis of the 70’s, punctuated by the gasoline shortage and long lines at filling stations, raised a national awareness of the impact of fuel consumption and the use of precious resources. In 1976, in the midst of this heightened awareness, we started our building business and named it Energy Conserving Homes hoping to be a small part of the solution, rather than contributing to the problem. Building energy and resource efficient homes as a priority made sense to us then, as it does now. Our passion for building the very best home possible has never waned through the years.
Building science has evolved exponentially since the 70’s and we’ve learned how to build better more sustainable and efficient houses by adhering to the teachings offered by the Energy and Environmental Building Association, the U.S. Department of Energy, Earth Craft House ™ Training, the National Green Building Standard ™ training, and others.
In the mid to late 1990’s local and regional green building programs emerged throughout the United States focused on better energy efficiency and more environmentally sustainable practices. Many of these programs, including Earth Craft House ™, offered a 3rd party certification process in order to verify that the house met the standards of green building.
To address the need for a nationally recognizable green building standard the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), in partnership with the International Code Council and other industry players, developed the National Green Building Standard ™. The 2008 outcome of this collaboration is the first nationally recognized green building rating system to be approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This all-encompassing building program offers 4 performance levels of certification: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Emerald.
WHAT MAKES IT GREEN?
Today we define green building as an integrated systems approach, or whole house approach, to designing and building homes that are comfortable, durable, energy efficient and environmentally responsible. It is a close partnership between the designer, the building team and the owner to select and execute the green building components that are best suited for each project.
For a home to be Certified Green by National Green Building Standard ™ a builder must meet minimum point-based requirements depending on the performance certification level. These points must be collected from all 6 of the following required green building categories:
1) Site Planning:
Examples include a detailed site plan showing limits of grading and the protection of critical natural resources as well as water management.
2) Resource Efficiency:
Examples include use of prefabricated components or engineered wood. Enhanced durability by using best building practices for flashing and waterproofing. Recycling of construction waste and use of salvaged or reused materials.
3) Energy Efficiency:
Examples include efficient HVAC systems, Level 1 insulation installations, Energy Star lighting and appliances and Low U-Factor windows.
4) Water Efficiency:
Examples include water-conserving appliances, low flow faucets, roof water collection systems and landscape plantings that require less water.
5) Indoor Air Quality:
Examples include controlling sources of pollutants from the garage or heating equipment. Use of adhesives and paints with low VOC output. Improved building ventilation systems. Conditioned crawl spaces.
6) Operation, Maintenance, and Owner Education:
Examples include a Homeowner’s Manual with a photo record of wall framing with utilities installed before drywall as well as information about building maintenance. A training session to familiarize the owners with the systems.
I am fortunate enough to be living in a house designed and built by Smith and Robertson. I absolutely love my house and wouldn’t change anything about it.
Andrea | Earlysville, VA