The Different Levels of
Green building is increasingly important to homeowners who value their personal health and also want to support a healthy environment. There are a number of different certification programs, with a number of different checklists. The certification levels of any given home will depend on which program is used.
The NC Green Built Program
Living Stone Design + Build uses the NC Green Built program to evaluate each of their new builds. “We like the fact that it’s a regional program, so it addresses local mountain issues that might not exist elsewhere in the country,” says Sean.
The Green Built system evaluates homes based on a number of different criteria, including:
• BUILDING SITE
• COMFORT SYSTEMS (meaning air and heating systems)
• BUILDING ENVELOPE (meaning the barrier that separates the interior of the home from the environment, including the walls, doors, roof, and windows)
• APPLIANCES, LIGHTING AND RENEWABLES • INDOOR AIR QUALITY
• BONUS (this includes anything the builder has done to go above and beyond typical green building processes)
Green Built Qualifications
Minimal prerequisites must be met to qualify for Green Built certification, including compliance with federal, state, and local standards; a specific Energy Star rating; and the installation of specific items, such as energy-efficient doors, windows, appliances, weatherstripping, and carbon monoxide detectors. Once the minimum criteria is met, certification levels are determined by a points system. The beginning level in the Green Built program is certified, followed by bronze, silver, and then gold certified. The highest level is platinum certified.
Living Stone Green Built Ratings
Living Stone’s personal building standards are stringent enough to consistently earn high certification levels, at no additional cost to homeowners. “Our average home usually gets high-level silver or gold,” says Sean. “In addition, many certification standards are already an integrated part of our building practices, so the cost is already baked into any given estimate.”
Living Stone also builds platinum-certified houses. “The only way to get a platinum rating is with the use of renewables, like solar panels and geothermal HVAC. By going this route, you can achieve a Net Zero home; a home that produces as much energy as it consumes. Building Net Zero is the way of the future, and it’s so satisfying seeing our clients embracing it now.”