Sweeping the nation

Lori Brown gives the lowdown on the expanding green building market and tests your acronym skills

The Westside Green neighborhood by Chico-based New Urban Builders is GreenPoint Rated.

The Westside Green neighborhood by Chico-based New Urban Builders is GreenPoint Rated.

Sustainable Space columnists Lori Brown and Greg Kallio are professors in the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management at Chico State University.

Go green, save green
If you are considering building a new home—or remodeling an existing one—thinking green early, during the design phase, can save you money. This will also help achieve green goals, such as reducing your energy bill and providing a more healthful environment for your family. Two excellent resources for green building information for homes are the Green Building Initiative (GBI) and Build It Green (BIG). Both nonprofit organizations have the same laudable goal of accelerating green-building practices in the residential market.

GBI began as a group of individuals wanting to bring green-building practices into the mainstream by helping local Home Builder Associations (HBAs). Partnering with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the GBI has helped develop green-building certification programs all across the country. Many HBAs have produced their own rating systems, allowing local home builders and buyers to have a gauge to measure and rate a residential project’s greenness. For example, Build Green Utah members can have their homes “green certified,” and members of the Central Washington HBA can follow the “built green” program.

Good point
What about California? Build It Green’s GreenPoint Rated program has caught on with public agencies throughout the state, and earlier this year the Home Builders Association of Northern California (HBANC) endorsed it. Build It Green offers green building guidelines for new home construction, home remodeling and multi-family construction. GreenPoint Rated is a third-party verification system for the green-building measures referenced in the Green Building Guidelines. A certified GreenPoint Rater evaluates a home’s green features and scores five categories: energy efficiency, resource conservation, indoor air quality, water cconservation and community. The more points earned, the greener the home.

Sustainability surge
As municipalities and corporations continue to demand and set internal standards for green buildings within their organizations, we’re going to see growth in green-building organizations, rating systems, attendance at professional conferences, and consumer awareness. Many building professionals are thinking about new ways to green common building practices. This will lead to more healthful environments and more effective design and construction practices.

Lotsa letters
Engineers love acronyms …USGBG • LEED • GBI • SMACNA • ASHRAE • IESNA • HERS • SWPPP • FEMA • ASTM • EPAct • CERCLA • ZEV • CARB • DOE • CREST • ASLA • SWMP • BMP • MERV • PV • SHGC • ECB • CBECS • REC • EIA • DSIRE • GWP • OPD • CRAC • SNAP • TSAC • CIBSE • IPMVP • CRS • TRC • DEC • CSI • MEP • CIWMB • IMEX • ISO • FSC • FOIC • COC • ETS • TRC • SCAQMD are just a few related to green building. It’s enough to make anyone acronumb. Do any of them ring a bell?

Assess yourself
Want to test your knowledge on these acronyms? Find the answers at lorisweb.com. For more information about GBI and BIG, visit the organizations’ respective Web sites at www.thegbi.org and www.builditgreen.org.