Spokane Home Builders Association (SHBA) is going green-quickly. The group, that represents eight counties in Eastern Washington, plans to launch BuiltGreenWA this year, a green building rating program developed by Puget Sound area builders and consultants.
“The buyers are asking for it. Fifty percent of Spokane’s expected growth in the next ten years is expected to come from Seattle, Portland, Boise, San Francisco-these people are moving here and they want green construction. That is the reason it is moving so quickly for us-the demand is exploding,” says Paul Warfield, Community Affairs Director with the Spokane Home Builders Association.
BuiltGreenWA was initially adopted in 1997 by Washington State. The program is based on a system developed in Denver, Colorado, BuiltGreen-Metro. Currently, there are eight active programs within the state of Washington with other home builder groups pursuing active status. O’Brien & Company, sustainability consultants in Kitsap County oversaw the development of the program.
“The beauty of the [BuiltGreenWA] system is it is easily adapted to single-family, remodel projects or small commercial, it is designed to be easily implemented,” says Warfield.
BuiltGreenWA incorporates a star rating system that determines a project’s “shades of green,” according to Warfield. Homes are assigned anywhere from one to five stars. “You can go green as you can get-alternative methods of construction, solar panels, or you can simply recycle on the building site, use recycled materials and use energy efficient windows,” says Warfield.
At the national level, two percent of homes built last year were green construction with an expected growth to 50 percent by 2010. Washington State is far ahead of the national curve with 15 to 20 percent green construction being built in the Puget Sound area, and 20 to 30 percent in King County.
While the non-profit, U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards are used nationwide, their program, currently, is designed around commercial projects. The National Home Builders (NAHB) along with the International Code Council is now in the process of developing the first national green building standard. According to a recent report published by the NAHB, “The NAHB Research Center received more than 270 applications from building industry representatives to sit on the ANSI National Green Building Standard Committee.
It takes six to eight months to formally launch a BuiltGreenWA program. SHBA is currently working with Pierce County to certify builders. Currently, three local builders, Sullivan Homes, Greenstone Homes and Craftsman Homes, have become certified, with many more expressing interest.
“The handbook alone is 200 to 300 pages. It takes a long time to generate a document of that size. We involve everyone from water quality experts to suppliers and vendors,” says Warfield.
The first green home to be built by Condron Homes is the “Children Miracle Network Home” located in the Spokane area Eagle Ridge development. All the proceeds from the sale will go to the Children’s Miracle Network. Spokane Home Builders hopes to also have a couple of homes certified in the Fall Festival of Homes Tour around the same time that they launch BuiltGreenWA.
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