April 27 2010

Six Green New Home Trends In 2010

Although the building industry had a dark year in 2009, Green building seemed to somehow stick out and shine. According to the Multiple Listing Service date, certified sustainable green new homes actually rose the past year in the northern west coast areas like Portland and Seattle. This trend is believed to spread over the U.S. and green building is expected to grow within new home sales. Already new home sales are on a rise from a year ago with March of 2010 seeing the biggest jump in new home sales in 47 years. So what trends can we expect to see in 2010 in green new homes?


Green New Home With Net Zero

1. Energy Monitoring Home Dashboards. The increasing demand for energy efficient homes, the development of a custom web-based display panel within the home, will show real-time home energy use. This sophisticated produced can break down the real time energy use of homeowners appliances, which will help a homeowner change the way they use their electricity. For example the way an electric car miles per gallon indicator encourages the owner to adapt their driving habits, green new homes that offer these Dashboards may encourage homeowners to reach lower energy use. Dashboards will also increase the probability that homeowners of green homes will reach the Energy Performance Score.



2. Energy Efficient Green Home Labeling. Like the miles per gallon label you would find when searching for a new car, energy rating systems for new homes has become popular among legislators.  This energy rating system will make it easier for homebuyers to see the energy efficiency of one green home compared to another. Each homes score will be available on the MLS.


3. Lenders and Green Homes Make for a Better Bottom Line. Lenders have come to the conclusion that green new homes are better for their bottom line. By seeing a trend of green home owners being more responsible and less probable to default on a loan, due to the fact that most green home owners are more accountable and likely to place higher value on home maintenance.  Green home owners are also less likely to default due to the decrease in energy coast within their green home. Lenders are now working to get reduced-rate loans and insurance packages for green new home owners.


4. Less Is More. Back when the housing market was booming, a larger homes lead to greater equity. However since that “bubble burst” this is no longer the case. With energy prices expected to rise over time, and the Federal Reserve likely to raise interest rates during 2010, homebuyers are likely to feel more at ease with smaller new green homes.



5. Water Conservation. Did you know that residential water usage accumulates for more than half of the public water supplied? The EPA decided in December 2009 to implement WaterSense. WaterSense specifies that new homes will need to reduce water use by 20 percent than conventional new home. Mandatory energy labeling in Europe already documents the water efficiency.


6. Net Zero Homes. A net zero home is a green home that generates more energy than it uses over a year. This is done by building a fairly small new green homes that is extremely energy efficient and uses onsite renewable energy like wind, solar or geo-exchange systems.



April 20 2010

EPA Announces New Energy Star Home Guidelines

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or EPA announced that as of January 2011, more meticulous guidelines for any new home that would like to meet the Energy Star label will go into effect. These new requirements will make each new home built, at least 20 percent more energy efficient than homes that were built to the International Energy Conservation Code or IECC in 2009. What does this mean to homeowners that purchase an Energy Star home? Homeowners should see a 15 percent cut in their utility bills with any new home built under these new IECC codes.

Energy Star Logo

The new EPA guidelines will guarantee that the government backed Energy Star label will continue to represent a significant decrease in energy use over a home’s lifespan. The January 2011 Energy Star home guidelines include products that are energy efficient, cost efficient and enhance comfort for the homeowners. Energy Star home guidelines are:

Complete air sealing home insulated with high-performance energy efficient windows that improve both homeowner comfort and reduce utility bills.

Home heating and cooling that offer energy efficiency systems that are engineered to deliver  quiet operation as well as more moisture control. Heating and cooling systems are also required to be equipped with ventilation that improves the home air quality.

Energy efficient lighting and energy efficient appliances that are Energy Star qualified.

Additional ceiling fans that help reduce your monthly utility bills as well as providing energy efficiency.

The most import aspect of the new EPA Energy Star Home guidelines is that each Energy Star new home must be certified by a third-party. Verification by an independent Home Energy Rater that conducts a comprehensive series inspections and test system performance must be made before any new home is Energy Star qualified.


July 18 2008

California First For Green Standards

(07-18) 04:00 PDT Sacramento - --

California on Thursday became the first state in the nation to approve green building standards to cut energy and water usage, a move that officials say will help the state meet its ambitious goals to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan, adopted by the California Building Standards Commission, requires that all new construction - from commercial buildings to homes, schools and hospitals - reduce energy usage by 15 percent, water use by 20 percent and water for landscaping by 50 percent. A voluntary form of the code is scheduled to kick in on July 1, 2009.

"There is no statewide standard in the nation such as our green building standard," said commission chairwoman Rosario Marin. "In fact, we're the first one in the world, and we anticipate others to follow us."

The rules do not specify how to make the reductions, but ideas range from installing energy-efficient appliances and increasing natural lighting to using low-flow toilets and planting drought-resistant vegetation. The code will be voluntary while the commission works on a mandatory regulation, which the panel hopes to have in place by end of 2010 or beginning of 2011, Marin said.

Environmental groups and the California Building Industry Association applauded the 11-member commission's 10-0 vote Thursday to approve the standards as a good first step.

Making buildings more efficient will be an important piece in helping California meet its ambitious goal under AB32, a landmark law to fight global warming by reducing the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020.

Carbon emissions related to buildings - everything from lighting to heating water - represent about 25 percent of the state's total greenhouse gas emissions, second only to the transportation sector, according to the California Air Resources Board.

"The new standard is a huge step in greening our state and greening our nation," Marin said.

The commission's action came after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed legislation last year that would have instituted a green building code for the state, arguing that the commission, not the Legislature, should draw up the regulation.

The governor, who signed AB32 into law two years ago, on Thursday applauded the panel's decision.

"By adopting this first-in-the-nation statewide green building code, California is again leading the way to fight climate change and protect the environment," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

The statewide building code will not prevent cities and counties from enacting their own green codes with reductions that are stricter than the state rules, state officials said. San Francisco is considering a green building code, and Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente announced Thursday he is crafting a similar plan.

The state commission, in a move to appease local governments, made changes to ensure that the new state code would be a minimum standard, not a maximum, Marin said.

"What we have is the floor, not a ceiling," she said.

Craig Noble, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, said he was "encouraged that the commission made some amendments to strengthen the new standards. ... This is a good first step, a solid foothold to build upon a new mandatory code later."

John Frith, vice president of the California Building Industry Association, called the new code a "cost-effective yet meaningful way" of making green buildings widespread across the state.

"What we did not want to see is a huge increase in the number of more extreme and more costly programs," he said, adding that giving builders the flexibility to choose how to reduce energy and water consumption will be helpful to his industry and consumers.

But the debate over the state's green building code is far from over as the commission plans to come up with a new mandatory standard.

Environmental groups are calling for clearer language in the state building code that would allow cities and counties to enact more-stringent standards. There is also debate over whether the building code should specify what materials builders should use, such as wood, said Nick Zigelbaum, energy policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

If the ultimate goal is to help save the environment, he said, the state should prohibit builders from using wood from trees that are harvested in ways that harm the environment, such as timber companies' practice of converting natural forests into industrial plantations.

Green standard
Reducing energy use (15 percent goal): Energy Star-certified appliances; elevators and escalators that move only when passengers are present; buildings cooled by roofing materials that reflect sunlight.

Reducing water use (20 percent goal): Low-flow toilets; waterless urinals.

E-mail Matthew Yi at myi@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

July 11 2008

GBI Partners with New Homes Directory

-- Partnership Provides Easy Access to New Green Home Listings; Green Building Education --

Murrieta, CA (July 11, 2008) - Today the Green Building Initiative (GBI), a not-for-profit education and marketing initiative dedicated to accelerating the adoption of green building practices, announced a new partnership with New Homes Directory .com, an online listing service for new homes and communities.

Through this new partnership, GBI is offering Home Builder Association members within its network free listings for new green homes on the NewHomesDirectory.com site, which is searched by thousands of home buyers every day. The site will also include information on the benefits of green homes, including energy savings, links to green tax credit resources, and improved indoor air quality.

“We’re thrilled to partner with NewHomesDirectory.com and bring a great resource for builders to help showcase their sustainable homes,” said Ward Hubbell, president of the GBI. “Resources like NewHomesDirectory.com are critical to help spur the demand for green homes, as well as help educate prospective buyers about the benefits of green homes.”

“We want to contribute what we can to incentivize builders to move forward with building green,” said Jim Adams, CEO of NewHomesDirectory.com. “That’s why we’re excited to partner with the GBI, as well as their local home builder association partners, to give consumers a central listing location for green homes in their area.”

For more information about the GBI or the partnership with NewHomesDirectory.com, visit www.thegbi.org or www.newhomesdirectory.com.

ABOUT THE GREEN BUILDING INITIATIVE: The mission of the Green Building Initiative is to accelerate the adoption of building practices that result in energy-efficient, healthier and environmentally sustainable buildings by promoting credible and practical green building approaches. A not-for-profit education initiative, the GBI is supported by a broad cross section of organizations and individuals with an interest in residential and commercial construction. For more information on the Green Building Initiative, please visit www.thegbi.org.

ABOUT NEWHOMESDIRECTORY.COM:New Homes Directory.com is a leading Internet listing service for new home builders, delivering thousands of home buying prospects to builders every day. A pioneer of new home marketing on the Internet, New Homes Directory.com is part of a comprehensive new home network that includes NHDBuzz.com, the Internet's first Home Building Industry only press release and public relations web media source.

May 13 2008

Green Home Expo

Green Home Expo – May 8, 2008 – Sacramento Convention Center

The Sacramento Convention Center was a buzz today with the Green Home Expo event.  The convention center floor was filled with booths showcasing products to make your home more efficient and green for the environment.  In addition to the wide array of products there were seminars going on in meeting rooms that talked about how to build “Green Homes”, make your home “Green”, and utilize the power of the sun, and on and on. 

Attending this event was important for me because in my work I do not build homes so I am not as knowledgeable about the requirements to making a home or community “Green”.  On that same note, as an advertiser I want to understand the standards so that when I list a green home community I am sure that it is in fact green according to the California standards. 

I wanted to sit in on the “Marketing and Selling Green Homes” seminar to understand the difference builders are facing when advertising green homes.  This was an interesting seminar that touched on many aspects of the selling process and outlined a definite need to make sure those selling green homes were educated and knowledgeable about the differences and the benefits of this type of home. 

I was running a few minutes behind so by the time I got to the expo the first session had started.  I went in and they were already going through the presentation.  There were maybe 10-15 people in there.  Everything that I heard was geared toward how to sell the homes and market them, not advertise them.  They spoke to the point that the sales people had to have training and the different types of sales offices with fancy videos that they play.  They then showed a video but the overhead wasn't working so they turned around the laptop that they were using and well it was hard to see!  After that they asked for questions and I don't believe anyone asked any.  Most people just got up and left.  I was hoping there would be more ‘how to advertise green homes’ but the content was still excellent.  The presenter was Rochelle Barcellona from The Barcellona Group.  I liked the presentation from Justin Dunning because even though I am not a builder I gained a better understanding of what our clients go through to get these homes to market.  I think we are right on target with the Internet being the best fit for the Green homes because the profile for the Internet shopper and the Green Home buyer is virtually the same.

I also sat in on the seminar, “Cost Effective Green Building”.   This to me was an eye opening look at green homes and the impact they make on the environment and the people who occupy these homes.  As I listened to the presenters what struck me the most was that these homes engineered and designed to be easier on the environment are actually proving to be easier on the owner, as well.  From floor to ceiling and beyond, these homes save energy, water, resources, time and effort.  How often do you turn on the faucet and wait for the hot water to get there?  I know I can usually do something else while I wait.  With the new green standards they have designed a way to use smaller pipes to limit the amount of cold water that is wasted going down the drain before the hot water arrives.   Another feature of these homes is focused on the air quality inside.  Homes are being designed with better filtering systems that not only provide improved air quality, but lessen the dust particles in your home, this means less dusting!  This concept even goes outside the home.  Planting drought resistant plants and limiting the percentage of yard that is covered with grass saves so much water and yard maintenance time.   Less mowing seems like a great trade off!  The list keeps going.  One other important detail shared during the presentation is that a recent study from a builder that built and sold a community of green homes reported no service calls to the home builder.  What a great bonus, better for the environment, the builder, and the consumer.

“Going Green” can mean a lot of things when it comes to your home.   One of the most important things to remember is everyone can have a green home.  Not only are green homes affordable, they are efficient and save time and money.   And who doesn’t want to save a little Green?”

Ruth Kincaid - Executive Assistant to the CEO
New Homes Directory.com



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