Buying a Green home can be a little confusing. There are many different “Green” programs and some options may be excellent green options if they aren’t under an umbrella of a Green Program.
A Green Certified REALTOR will begin by asking you what benefits of a Green home are most important to you and that may help break down what type of Green home will best suit your needs. For example, if you told me energy conservation was tops on your list, I’d start with a NW Energy Star home or a home with a good HERS rating. If you said, you where most concerned with sustainable building I would look at aBuilt Green program or a Green Canopy home. And we could continue to break this list down by indoor air quality, neighborhoods that embody the green lifestyle, water conservation and the list goes on and on.
BUILT GREEN™ is a residential green building program developed by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties with rating criteria for single-family homes, condominiums, remodels, and housing developments. Certifications range from 2 to 5-Star, with 4 & 5-Star levels that are third-party verified.
Builders participating in the BUILT GREEN™ program work from a checklist that covers everything from preparing the site using environmentally sound practices to installing dual flush toilets. Different items receive points and the more points the builder receives, the higher the rating. Search for a BUILT GREEN™ home by clicking here now.
It’s impossible to ascertain certain elements of BUILT GREEN™ construction by walking through the home, which is why any program that is verified and certified by a third-party is essential. For example, you won’t be able to tell if low or no VOC paint was used, if the builder used recycled or local materials where available or if the air gaps were sealed during construction for better insulation value.
Because the BUILT GREEN™ program is a comprehensive program, it is almost guaranteed that any 5-Star BUILT GREEN™ home will automatically be an NW Energy Star home as well. So some BUILT GREEN™ homes also be NW Energy Star and vice versa or they could be completely independent of another.
Because of the overlapping programs, the importance of Third Party Verification having a Real estate broker that understands these programs can be very helpful whether you are buying or selling. In fact, over 35% of new construction in the Greater Puget Sound area falls under one of these programs, so make sure your REALTOR can help you identify these features and how they may be beneficial to you.
To make things even easier, the Northwest Multiple Listing service has now added new search criteria available to members that include most of the regions Green programs. I can search based on the HERS score, the type and level of certification, Green construction methods such as Straw Bale and SIPs, and even Geothermal and Solar options. This is particular exciting for me as a passionate capitalist and green enthusiast because it means that we will now be able to tease out future sales data and report the monetary value these Green features may add to the resale value of your home.
Speaking of value, make sure your appraiser knows to properly account for any Green features in your home. A great resource on the topic of properly adding value for Green features is SEEC LLC education, a group of residential green building professionals and appraisers based in the Pacific Northwest concerned with the accurate recording of value in areas where green building is occurring.
The following is a list of a few of the “green” features and building practices promoted in the Built Green program:
The Built Green map is one of my favorite maps of the Greater Puget Sound area for two reasons; One, it shows all the great projects in the area. Two, it’s a topographically map that is great for understanding our natural barriers in the Northwest such as hills, lakes, and mountains.
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