Green building has come in for some hard knocks in recent years as some high-profile projects have proved to be both inefficient and costly. Yet in some areas beneath the radar, green building is creating structures that fulfill their promise. The Building Industry Association of Southwest Washington has designed a program called builtGREEN to help direct Clark County home buyers and homebuilders toward quality, affordable homes that also offer environmentally friendly materials and construction practices.
The voluntary program provides a checklist, allowing both buyers and builders to select from a variety of green products and techniques in order to receive certification. The building association believes that many of the features provide long-term value as well as cost savings to those choosing to follow builtGREEN guidelines. The program can lead to a healthier home environment through improved indoor air quality as well as improvements to the site and neighborhood through such features as less toxic runoff. Those participating can do so at different levels. So far 30 homes have been certified countywide, adding to the value of the homes, and more builders are taking notice and becoming involved. "The market really has started to ask for these features in these homes," says Joel White, community affairs director for the building association.
Some items on the checklist are as obvious as energy-effi- cient appliances and porches to control radiant heat and reduce air conditioning costs. In other instances, 2-by-4 construction with certain types of foam insulation can reduce energy costs while saving on the lumber costs that come with 2-by-6 studs and fiberglass insulation.
The voluntary nature of the program combined with reduced energy and water bills is attracting increased participation in this not-for-profit environmental building program.