It wasn’t always top of mind, but I just always assumed that we’d go through the green certification process when this project really got rolling. However, since i’ve sought out more details and truly understand the costs, I’m sad to say that we won’t be green certifying; at least not right now. I say ‘not right now’ because it sounds like we can heavily document the project w/ pictures and apply later, but will we really go through that? Doubtful!!!
What we were looking at specifically was the NAHB Green Building program and also the Energy Star Home certification. The NAHB is the one we looked into back in January and felt was pretty reasonable for what we needed. The Energy Star component is the foundation of the NAHB certification and provides you w/ computer modeling, site inspections and a blower/air leakage test. Again, it’s cheaper (almost half the cost) than LEED and a bit easier to conform to, but still includes some pretty stringent tests.
The decision came down to 1) How much does it cost? and 2) What will it get us right now? When you’re in the budget building mode, you’re sometimes stuck w/ having to make your decisions for the here and now. So the cost was in the $600-$1,000 range and there was no near-term benefit from our perspective. Especially when you consider putting that money toward a more efficient dishwasher, laundry, A/C or even toward more insulation. It just seemed that we wouldn’t see the benefit until we went to sell the house and since that could be in 20yrs; our city could have worked these sustainable guidelines into the basic residential building codes. Then the ppl in the future would be laughing at us saying “wow, ppl actually had to spend extra money back in the old days to get their home green certified”. (wouldn’t that be a hoot?)
With all the above being said, we’re still not changing how efficient or sustainable the house is being built. Certification or no certification, we’re still shooting for something far, far better than the average home.