Information for Building Professionals

The Market for Green Homes

According to a March, 2009, analysis of real estate data, homes with third-party verified green certifications in the Puget Sound sold for an average of 9.6% more than comparables and fetched a $20 premium per square foot.

A McGraw-Hill survey published in October, 2008, found that 60 percent of builders said buyers were willing to pay more for green homes.

An October, 2008, article in Builder magazine reported that 80 percent of homebuyers said they would choose one home over another based on its energy efficiency.

Built Green certification on your projects represents:

- Credibility: The Built Green logo is your project’s ‘seal of approval.’

- Standards: Certification shows your project has met a set of established requirements covering all aspects of the project.

- Transparency: Your project’s Built Green checklist details the care and quality of your work.

- Increased Value: Certification adds value to your project, both immediately and into the future.

Debunking the Myths

Myth #1: “Green building costs too much.”

The Truth: Some green products are more expensive, but as most choices become available, prices are coming down. In addition, many green building practices can actually reduce your costs by reducing waste and encouraging efficiency. Many builders find that the quality products and practices they currently use qualify their projects for Built Green certification with little if any modification. At heart, Built Green means quality: for example, it doesn’t cost more to pay for insulation and duct sealing done correctly.


Myth #2: “I already use a lot of green building practices – I don’t need the label.”

The Truth: With the number of green claims being made in marketing and advertising these days, homeowners and buyers are looking to certification to reassure them that standards have been met. Third-party verification is becoming increasingly sought after for the same reason.


Myth #3: “Certification is expensive.”

The Truth: Built Green programs were developed by builders, so costs were kept affordable. Membership fees and project certification fees vary by program, and most offer discounts depending on your membership status with your local homebuilers association. The steps you take to certify your project may also qualify you or your client for incentives that far outweigh the costs of certification, including utility rebates, federal tax credits, and marketing incentives from the Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes program, which often partners with Built Green.


Steps to Certification

1) Find your local Built Green program by clicking on the map on the welcome page. If there's no program in your county, check with your local homebuilders association to see if one is being developed. Neighboring programs are also often willing to certify projects in counties that don't have their own program.

2) Become a member of your local program. Membership dues vary by program and on whether you’re a member of the local association itself. Only members of Built Green can submit projects for certification, and membership also helps you market your company through website listings, use of the Built Green logo, and other benefits.

3) Choose the appropriate Built Green checklist for your type of project (single family new construction, for example). If your local program doesn’t offer the certification you need, a neighboring program will probably be willing to certify your project through their program.

4) Draft your Built Green checklist, together with your project team. Your draft checklist will tell you how many points you can attain and the level of certification you can achieve. Some certification levels require that you hire a third-party verifier, a green building expert certified by your local Built Green program to independently verify that the program's requirements have been met. The verifier can help you draft your checklist and answer questions about how to qualify for points.

5) Check out financial incentives. Choices you make to achieve Built Green certification may also qualify you for financial incentives, such as product rebates, cash incentives, expedited permitting, or federal tax credits. In addition to Built Green, many homeowners also choose to certify their homes as Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes, which may offer additional financial incentives as well as free technical assistance.

6) Complete the project. As work on your project progresses, use the draft checklist as a reference and collect any documentation your local program requires. When the project is completed, finalize the checklist and submit it to your local Built Green program along with the certification fee and a signed ethics statement. If you've used a third-party verifier, that person will perform any needed inspection or testing, gather supporting documentation, and submit the project to the Built Green program.

7) Receive your certificate. After your local program processes the information on your project, you'll receive an official certificate that becomes part of your project's record. Congratulations!

8) If you’re marketing your project, consider listing it on the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, which includes checkboxes for Built Green certification and third-party verification to help green-minded buyers find your homes. Your local program may also offer marketing assistance, such as awards programs and tours.


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