Thursday
Dec172009

Building Green in Michigan

The focus on green building has never been greater. Consumers have been patient in their wait for the home building industry to get its act together in providing energy efficient, healthy and environmentally friendly homes. While the green building movement sorts itself out the best option would be to build or remodel under one of several green building programs. The Home Inspector General consults with builders, architects and consumers to make sure that their projects meet program standards. These green building options are currently available for Michigan consumers.

  1. Green Communities
  2. Environments for Living
  3. Green Built Michigan
  4. LEED for Homes

Green Communities

An affordable housing green building program developed by the Enterprise Foundation. The program has 34 prerequisites and a list of optional measures that must be used to achieve a score of either 20 or 25 points. The cost of meeting these goals is offset by grants up to $1000 per unit. This program is available to non profit housing builders with qualified projects of 25 - 50 units.

Environments for Living

EVL was developed by MASCO Contractor Services in response to the growing consumer demand. Available through builders via MASCO Contractor Services. The program is heavily weighted towards energy efficiency and interior water use. The program should be considered a market rate product that has not been vetted by any environmental organization.

Green Built Michigan

A green building program developed for builders by builders. Initially sponsored by the Home & Building Association of Greater Grand Rapids it has become the preferred program of the Michigan Home Builders Association with chapters in several locations throughout the state. It is based on the NAHB Research Center Green Building Guidelines. Criteria is weakened by the lack of program oversight, code minimum awarded measures, lack of requirements to implement design strategy and no prerequisites. The guidelines are currently undergoing an ASHI review process with the hope that it will become an acceptable national standard. Currently only available through HBA member builders that join Green Built Michigan.

LEED for Homes

The US Green Building Council has long been the accepted authority on green building in the U.S. and the world. Founded in 1995, the organization as grown from 10 members to over 40,000. Until the Fall of 2005 LEED was a commercial program. USGBC has been pilot testing the LEED for Homes program and will roll out the fully chartered version at Green Build on November 7, 2007. The pilot has allowed stakeholders the opportunity to field test the program, provide feedback to USGBC and certify a variety of residential projects across the United States.

The program as 18 requirements plus an optional scoring system to achieve a variety of certification levels. The program also has strong third-party oversight and, unlike the other programs, is available to anyone building a home in the United States.

Thursday
Dec172009

Low Water Use Toilets

Nearly everyday we hear about the need to conserve the amount of water we use in our homes. The largest water usage fixture in the average house is the toilet. Low-flow toilets using 1.6 GPF (gallons per flush) were mandated by the federal government with dismal performance results.Over the years manufacturers have responded to the need to reduce water use and performance complaints by developing a variety of low water use toilets. Toilets fall into three primary categories:

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Thursday
Dec172009

Top Ten Job Hunting Tips to Avoid Scams

From The Live Green, Live Smart Institute website some tips for green job hunters.

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Thursday
Dec172009

High Performance Builders

With today's high energy costs, building a home that is high-performance has never been more important. The Home Inspector General has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of high-performance builders throughout Michigan since the early 1990's.  Consumers expect that all new construction is energy efficient s they rarely ask the builder for energy improving features.

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