Asheville Green Building Certification
The common Asheville green building certification processes are important for you to understand if you have any interest in buying a home with green features. Energy Star and N.C. HealthyBuilt Homes are the certifications you mainly encounter in Asheville. Note that all HealthyBuilt homes are also certified as Energy Star, but Energy Star homes are not certified HealthyBuilt.
Energy Star (ES) is a national certification program with guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The main emphasis is on energy efficiency. When built according to these guidelines, a home will be at least 15 percent more energy efficient than a standard home and often 20 to 30 percent more efficient. That translates into greater comfort AND savings.
The main things this certification concentrates on are:
- building a tight, well sealed home
- sealing the duct work, if there is any
- insulating very well, often with special materials
- high-performance windows that keep the cold and heat out
- efficient heating and cooling equipment
- use of Energy Star lighting and appliances
The builder has to enter a Partnership Agreement with the EPA as well as a certified Home Energy Rater (or equivalent). The Rater assures third-party certification by working closely witht he builder throughout the entire process, helping to choose the appropriate energy saving equipment and techniques, conducting on-site diagnostics and inspections as the house is built.
The rater reviews the building plans to help the builder choose the features needed to earn the Energy Star label. S/he may rely on prescriptive EPA packages or a custom approach for each house. You can learn more at Energy Star Guidelines
The construction begins and the Rater constantly inspects and tests to verify excellent energy performance.
When the house is complete and the final inspection has been conducted, if all requirements have been met, the Rater will give the builder an Energy Star label to place on the circuit breaker box. There may also be a paper certificate of the Home Energy Rating report.
...And then, the person who lives in the house gets to enjoy discounts on the energy you use in addition to not using as much! Progress Energy and Duke Energy both give a five percent discount on monthly electric bills and PSNC Energy gives a five cent discount per therm on natural gas bills.
This booklet contains the checklist and a glossary of Energy Star terms. Very informative! Click here to read the PDF in your browser, or right-click to download it.
North Carolina HealthyBuilt Homes (HBH) is another Asheville green building certification that you will want to understand. This is what I would want, personally. This certification includes Energy Star and goes further to make the house truly healthy and sustainable.
Holistic, sustainable building techniques are used that not only result in a home that protects you and the environment, but also protects the land and natural resources during construction. For example, there's as little waste as possible and what there is is recycled, when possible.
Some of the componants included in the special requirements of this Asheville green building certification include:
- the site
- the building envelope
- comfort systems
- appliances, lighting and renewables
- indoor air quality
Here is a copy of the checklist the builder must use to receive this certification. Click here to read the PDF in your browser, or right-click to download it.
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