"We are now at a point where we must educate our children in what no one knew yesterday, and prepare our schools for what no one knows yet."
-- Margaret Mead

  What is a Green Home?    

Green homes are often visually indistinguishable from conventional homes. The difference is in the details. Designed and constructed to provide a variety of health and ecological benefits, green homes offer:

  • Healthier indoor air quality - by using low toxic building materials and finishes, supplying good air flow, limiting potential for mold growth and maximizing use of hard surfaces
  • Energy and water efficiency - by optimizing home and garden design and utilizing appliances that conserve energy and water
  • A cleaner environment - by reducing waste, pollution and emission of greenhouse gases
  • A smaller ecological footprint - by using sustainably harvested and recycled resources, as well as minimizing environmental impact from site development
  • Reduced maintenance costs - through lowered utility bills and use of the highest quality durable materials
  • Reduced construction impact - minimizes environmental impact from site development
Types of Green Building

Built Green®
In order to recognize and distinguish newly constructed green homes on the  market, King County’s Master Builder Association has developed a rating system to certify Built Green® residential construction based on national standards. Scores can range from 1-5 stars depending on the number of points obtained in six critical sections: regulation and code, site and water, energy efficiency, health and indoor air quality, materials efficiency and the promotion of environmentally friendly homeowner operations and maintenance. For a copy of the Built Green® homebuilder self-certification checklist please click here.

Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes®
ENERGY STAR® homes are better built, more comfortable homes that save you money on your utility bills every month. Every Northwest ENERGY STAR certified home has been built to meet energy efficient guidelines set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. From energy efficient windows to advanced heating and cooling systems, ENERGY STAR homes guarantee greater savings, comfort and peace-of-mind. Simply stated, ENERGY STAR homes are built better for you and the environment.

LEED for Homes
LEED for Homes is a rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes. A green home uses less energy, water and natural resources; creates less waste; and is healthier and more comfortable for the occupants. Benefits of a LEED home include lower energy and water bills; reduced greenhouse gas emissions; and less exposure to mold, mildew and other indoor toxins. The net cost of owning a LEED home is comparable to that of owning a conventional home.

Natural Building

Straw Bale -- Earth-friendly and economical straw bale homes are constructed using straw bales as thick, wall bricks. These homes reduce the amount of timber required for building, as well as offer energy efficiency through excellent insulation. To learn more visit www.strawbale.com or check out Athena Swentzell Steen's book, The Straw Bale House.

Cob -- Cob is made from clay, sand and straw that creates a mixture that is flexible and sculptural. Cob homes are energy efficient and cost effective. They can be beautiful and highly livable, but can present challenges with permits and financing. For more information, visit http://www.daycreek.com/dc/HTML/DC_cob.htm or check out The Hand-Sculpted House: A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage by Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, and Linda Smiley

Rammed Earth -- Rammed earth is made from soil that is mostly clay and sand. The earth is highly compressed to create the structural forms. Like other natural building techniques, it creates a beautiful, sculpted quality. To learn more visit http://www.rammedearthworks.com or check out The Rammed Earth House (Real Goods Independent Living Book) by David Easton.

Commercial LEED
In commercial building, the green building industry is setting new standards for construction and design across the board, leading to the creation of new technologies, jobs and regulatory code. In the 1990s the U.S. Green Building Council was formed as the nation's foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. To learn more about the rating system for green building in the commercial sector visit the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).