Green Building Fortifies Floor Futures

Green building involves health, water conservation, energy efficiency, disaster mitigation and, of course, sustainable floor coverings. A certified green building is intended to keep you

Reclaimed Wood Flooring is GreenReclaimed Wood Flooring is Green 

healthier, save you money and help ensure the building’s durability. There are several national certifications and over half of states have regional, state or city certification programs.

Builders generally believe that green building certification is not worth the expense and time. Those who do get certifications most often opt for Energy Star or just a HERS rating. There is an expectation that many builders who currently get Energy Star certifications will drop out of the program when Version 3 goes into effect in January 2012 due to added challenges for thermal enclosure and preventing water intrusion.

Builders need to explore the costs and benefits of certification and incorporate certification into their business’s marketing plan. Average certification costs, including the third party certifier and the fees to the certifying organization, for a building of 1,750 square feet or less range from $600+/- for a local program to $2,500+/- for one of the national programs, according to Dr. Jennifer Languell, Trifecta Construction Solutions, Ft. Myers, Florida.

The Appraisal Institute offers a green certification for appraisers. Recently they announced an addendum to the Fannie Mae Form 1004 that lets appraisers add the contributory value of a home’s green features. Some builders have seen an increase in appraisal values from 8% to 20% for green features if they spend time with the appraiser and give them a copy of the homeowner’s manual, case studies from the Green MLS Tool Kit and carefully walk them through the home.

Green building products entail an even more complex list of third party certifiers and a good deal of “greenwashing” as well. To have some fun do a search on the term ‘sins of green washing.’ A few of the certification bodies to know about that relate to floor coverings include: CRI’s Green Label Testing Program certifies low-emitting carpets, GreenGuard certifies a wide variety of floor covering products and Scientific Certification Systems have developed a broad range of product certification programs since 1984…stay tuned, to be continued!