Green and Growing
The Green Home Builders of the Triangle (which refers to the counties of Durham, Orange and Chatham in North Carolina) has a certification recognized by the NAHB as an "affiliated program" that has adopted a green rating system equivalent to or higher than the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines bronze level.
"Right now we use the NAHB Guidelines," says Nicholas J. Tennyson, executive vice president of the HBA of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties. "We are going to move to the [NAHB/ANSI] Standard. But technically we are not NAHB Green."
NAHB's third-party certification program is run through the NAHB Research Center. "Predating the research center, we had set up our own local third-party certification system," says Tennyson. "So we are building to the same rule book, just using a different umpire."
Calli Schmidt, NAHB's director of environmental communications, says the Triangle market leads the country in the number of NAHB Green Building Standard certified homes.
"The green building market in the Triangle area is mature enough that at next year's [NAHB] Green Building conference [in Raleigh], the HBA there is talking about doing two or three separate green home tours for conference attendees to pick from," says Schmidt, adding plans thus far include affordable workforce housing and a cutting-edge home.
Market: Durham/Orange/Chatham counties
Local green building program: Green Home Builders of the Triangle certification
Year created: 2006
Homes built in the market following the program in 2008: 139
Homes built overall under the program: 501
Market penetration in 2008: 9 percent
Leading the Way
The fact that Madison is a college town with a progressive-minded population explains the 30 percent market penetration of its green program, compared with about five percent in the entire state of Wisconsin.
"Before it was, 'Oh, that wacky Madison program," jokes says Robin Pharo, director of Green Built Home, about the perception of Madison around the state. "Now it's, 'Oh yeah, we've got to do that green building thing."
Madison uses the Green Built Home program, founded in 1999 by the Wisconsin Environmental Initiative in partnership with the Madison Area Builders Association. Like the Triangle market, it's also an affiliate of NAHB National Green Building standards.
"If someone wants to do the national certification," says Pharo, "our program offers that. But 99 percent of our houses are just the local certification."
But there are no local mandates for green home building.
"One of the reasons our builders partnered with our program was to actually prevent green building from becoming codified," says Pharo. "The association and our organization think we should reward good practices."
Local green building program: Wisconsin Green Built Home
Housing Permits issued in 2008: 1906
Year created: 1999
Homes built in the market following the program in 2008: 1,100
Homes built overall under the program: 4,800 in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois
Market penetration in 2008: 30 percent