Profit from Building Green

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Develop an effective green home building business with the NAHB Research Center's resident expert, Jeannie Leggett Sikora. She has combed through hundreds of annual contest entries and talked with past award winners to develop specific examples and tried-and-true techniques to give home builders the inside track to create successful green building practices, from choosing building products through marketing energy efficient houses. Also includes a complete chapter on ideas for marketing energy-and resource-efficient homes.

Weight 0.3600
ISBN 978-0-86718-524-9
Page Count 98
Author Jeannie Leggett Sikora
Publisher NAHB
Dimensions 6 x 9

Develop an effective green home building business with the NAHB Research Center's resident expert, Jeannie Leggett Sikora. She has combed through hundreds of annual contest entries and talked with past award winners to develop specific examples and tried-and-true techniques to give home builders the inside track to create successful green building practices, from choosing building products through marketing energy efficient houses.

Here you'll find information on planning an energy- and resource-efficient design, how to build with energy- and resource efficient construction, and how to market your homes as energy-efficient. Emphasis is on technique: How to minimize building loads, improve indoor air quality, and maximize solar energy use. Explains alternative wall systems, insulation techniques, duct design, window selection, lighting alternatives, HVAC energy solutions, solar water heater and heat recovery ventilation. You find new and unique solutions to job site waste as well as learn the truth on cutting edge technologies that you can offer your customers.

Also includes a complete chapter on ideas for marketing energy-and resource-efficient homes.

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Contents

List of Figures, vii

About the NAHB Research Center, ix

About the Author, xi

Acknowledgments, xiii

Introduction, 1
Energy- and Resource-Efficient Design, 3
Energy-Efficient Building Systems, 3
Energy- and Resource-Efficient Construction, 3
Marketing Energy- and Resource-Efficient Homes, 4
Using the Guide, 4

1. Energy- and Resource-Efficient Design, 5
Minimizing Building Loads, 6
Indoor Air Quality, 6
Maximizing Solar Energy Use, 8
Energy-Efficient Landscaping, 10

2. Energy-Efficient Building Systems, 13
Alternative Wall Systems, 14
Advanced Framing Techniques, 14
Structural Insulated Panels, 16
Insulating Concrete Forms, 17
Double 2x4 Wall, 18
Prefabricated Walls, 19
Raised-Heel Roof Truss, 20
Insulation, 21
Batt Insulation, 22
Cellulose Insulation, 23
Spray Foam Insulation, 24
Insulating Sheathing, 25
Radiant Barrier Roof Sheathing, 26
Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations, 27
Duct Design, 28
Window Selection, 31
NFRC Rating, 31
U- Factor, 31
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, 31
Low- E Coating, 32
Inert Gas-Filled Windows, 32
Visible Transmittance, 32
Air Infiltration Rate, 33
Lighting, 33
Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning, 34
Sealed-Combustion Appliances, 34
High-Efficiency Cooling Systems, 35
Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems, 37
Solar Water Heating, 38
High-Efficiency Appliances, 39
Heat Recovery Ventilation, 41

3. Energy- and Resource-Efficient Construction, 43
Working with Trade Contractors, 43
Implementing Energy Efficiency in Production Homes, 44
Air Sealing, 46
Airtight Drywall Approach, 47
Insulating and Sealing Ductwork, 48
Waste Management, 49
Jobsite Waste Reduction, 49
Recycled-Content Building Materials, 50
Panelized Wall Construction, 50
Reducing In-Home Waste, 51

4. Cutting-Edge Technologies, 53
Photovoltaic Roofing Products, 53
Fuel Cells, 55

5. Marketing Energy- and Resource-Efficient Homes, 57
Educating Customers and Sales Professionals, 57
Walk- Throughs, 58
Training Sessions, 59
Publications, 59
Advertising, 60
Internet/CD Marketing, 61
Free Publicity, 61
Energy Performance Guarantees, 62
Financing and Energy Efficiency Mortgages, 63
Partnerships for Energy Efficiency, 65
Demonstrating Energy Efficiency through Diagnostic Testing, 68

Conclusion, 71

Appendix A, EVHA Notables, 73
ENERGY VALUE HOUSING AWARD Partners, 73
ENERGY VALUE HOUSING AWARD Sponsors, 74
ENERGY VALUE HOUSING AWARD Winners, 75

Appendix B, Green Building Resources, 81
Organizations, 81
Books, 83
Magazines, Journals, and Newsletters, 85

Appendix C, Glossary, 87

Introduction

Residential and commercial buildings account for about one third of all the energy used in the United States. As concern over the environment grows, builders have the potential to fulfill a market niche by building homes that use fewer resources and have lower environmental impact than conventional construction.

Builders can increase their marketability and customer satisfaction and, at the same time, reduce the environmental impact of their homes. However, it takes dedication to build environmentally sound homes along with a solid marketing approach to ensure that customers recognize the added value of energy and resource efficiency.

In many cases, builders and industry professionals have to learn new techniques, identify new products, and educate customers about the benefits of energy and resource efficiency. Although consumer awareness and concern over the environment is growing, knowledge of energy-efficient construction and its environmental benefits is not widespread. Therefore, it is often the energy-efficient builder's responsibility to educate consumers to increase market demand.

This book is intended for builders seeking suggestions on how to improve energy and resource efficiency in their new homes. It is a compilation of ideas and concepts for designing, building, and marketing energy and resource-efficient homes based on the experiences from the recipients of the national Energy Value Housing Award (EVHA). The award recognizes builders for their voluntary efforts to incorporate energy and resource efficiency into the design, construction, technology, and marketing of their new homes.

Exemplary builders of energy- and resource-efficient homes offer their customers a comfortable and affordable place to live. In return, builders earn the good will of their customers, enjoy the satisfaction of producing a high-quality, environmentally friendly product, and take advantage of the opportunity to carve out a niche market. Given that home buyers have increasingly easy access to information about construction practices, the marketing of energy efficiency is an ideal way to make buyers take notice.

A comprehensive approach to energy and resource-efficient home construction is suited to all types from affordable to luxury homes in hot, humid, or extremely cold climates, and everything in between. This comprehensive approach involves considering conditions related to solar heat gain and prevailing winds, eliminating drafts and cold spots through air sealing, carefully placing insulation to avoid gaps, and providing fresh air inside the home.

Becoming a successful builder of energy-efficient homes is more than just learning new building techniques; it is also about implementing innovative designs and technologies, high-quality construction practices, and creative marketing campaigns.

The practices adopted by the EVHA-winning builders offer simple and effective strategies for designing, constructing, and marketing energy- and resource-efficient homes. This guide outlines many of the practices, offers practical tips on how to get involved in energy-efficient construction, and provides innovative sales ideas for marketing unique homes in a competitive marketplace.

Energy- and Resource-Efficient Design

Some people have a typecast image of an energy-efficient home as one with huge, unattractive solar panels and strange gadgets. In fact, energy-efficient homes do not have to relegate aesthetics to second place-in many cases, energy-efficient homes look identical to conventional homes.

Incorporating an energy-efficient design may require added thought, time, and money, but it may not be as difficult as you think. A home's efficiency may be enhanced by simply improving air-sealing practices, taking steps to reduce air infiltration and increase insulation levels, or switching to energy-efficient windows and doors. For more complicated changes, you may want to consult a builder, architect, or engineer who specializes in energy efficiency. Turn to the design section to read about design considerations in more detail.

Energy-Efficient Building Systems

The variety of building products and the new products manufactures introduce every year can be overwhelming. The building systems section presents a selection of energy efficient technologies that have been successful for EVHA winners.

Although the products described are not inclusive of all the available options, the major areas of construction are covered. The resource lists of organizations, manufacturers, and terminology found at the end of the book will help readers who would like more information about energy efficiency building materials and technologies.

Energy- and Resource-Efficient Construction

Once you have decided on energy-efficient features and design, it is important that all participants in the construction process understand these features and the purpose behind them. Conscientious construction crews are vital to the design's effectiveness-taking short cuts can undermine energy-efficient design. Detailed plans help contractors understand how to implement efficiency measures. A knowledgeable manager who oversees construction can also help reduce the number of errors and the quantity of wasted material. Although successful energy efficient construction practices require careful implementation, they are not necessarily more complicated than conventional practices.

Consult the construction section to learn more about how EVHA-winning builders are using energy-efficient technologies and innovative designs in the field.

Marketing Energy- and Resource-Efficient Homes

Customer buy-in through education is crucial to the successful sale of energy-efficient homes. Because energy efficient designs do not necessarily look different from less efficient homes, innovative marketing techniques help ensure that prospective buyers recognize all of the advantages of buying an energy-efficient home.

Some EVHA winning builders use model cutaways of wall sections, take prospective buyers on CD-ROM virtual home tours, guarantee energy costs, and use customer testimonials in newspaper advertisements. Most builders team up with local utilities or the federal ENERGY STARâ„¢ program to help promote energy efficiency. E Seal utility members offer innovative financing to make it easier for homeowners to buy energy efficient homes. These and similar programs help demonstrate to the homeowner that enhanced energy efficiency reduces monthly utility costs. See the marketing section for more ideas on creative marketing techniques.

Using the Guide

By illustrating examples set by EVHA-winning builders, this guide can help you decide which practices you would like to adopt and how to start implementing them. It outlines successful strategies used by builders and identifies barriers to adopting EVHA-winning practices. Most important, you can discover how builders use their energy- and resource-efficient designs to win loyal customers and gain a competitive edge.

Profit from Building Green
Award Winning Tips to Build Energy Efficient Homes

Develop an effective green home building business with the NAHB Research Center's resident expert, Jeannie Leggett Sikora. She has combed through hundreds of annual contest entries and talked with past award winners to develop specific examples and tried-and-true techniques to give home builders the inside track to create successful green building practices, from choosing building products through marketing energy efficient houses.

Profit from Building Green: Award Winning Tips to Build Energy Efficient Homes gives you a first-hand look at the energy efficient options that are working for your colleagues.

  • Discover what energy conscious award winning builders are doing

  • Get marketing tips from experienced sales professionals

  • Discover innovative energy efficient features

  • Read about successful techniques for building a niche market

  • Get contact information and resource lists for more information on energy efficient home building


  • The NAHB Research Center is the research and development leader in the home building industry, dedicated to advancing housing technology and enhancing housing affordability for the benefit of all Americans. Federal, state, and local government agencies, manufacturers, builders, and remodelers rely on the expertise and objectivity that are at the very heart of the Research Center. The NAHB Research Center is on the cutting edge of housing research, always striving to solve today's problems and advance tomorrow's housing.

    Jeannie Leggett Sikora is a research engineer at the NAHB Research Center, specializing in improving energy efficiency and promoting the use of renewable energy in new homes.