Good, you want to help the environment and save some money! We support that with Green Home options!
There are many choices of green homes in the valley, along with various “levels” of green. You can find green options almost anywhere, not just the major cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale! How Green? This is where it gets a little confusing. There is not just one national standard, instead there is the US Green Building Programs LEED Certification, and a National Association of Home Builders Green Program, plus many local level programs such as the Scottsdale Green Building Program, and some of the local utilities have theirs as well (SRP Powerwise). Below you can search for homes with various certifications.
LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance. The building is rated and assigned points. The total points earned equates to the LEED Certification:
40–49 points: LEED Certificate
50–59 points: Silver Certificate
60–79 points: Gold Certificate
80–110 points: Platinum Certificate
The NAHB Research Centerissues National Green Building Certification to all types of residential construction that meet the criteria of the ICC 700-2008 National Green Building Standard. They are rated and earn one of 4 Certifications
What makes a home Green?
The following is from the U.S. Green Building Council on what makes a home “Green”. Just because the marketing materials say its’ Green, does not necessarily mean its’ really “Green”!
- Location The greenest development sites are “in-fill” properties like former parking lots, rail yards, shopping malls, and factories. Your home should also be within easy walking distance of public transportation—so you can leave your car at home. Ideally, the home would be within walking distance of parks, schools, and stores.
- Size No matter how many green building elements go into your home, a 5,000-square-foot green home still consumes many more natural resources than a 2,000-square-foot green home. The larger home will also require more heating, air conditioning, and lighting. If you really want a sustainable home, choose a smaller size.
- Building Design The home should be oriented on its site to bring abundant natural daylight into the interior to reduce lighting requirements and to take advantage of any prevailing breezes. Windows, skylights, light monitors, light shelves, and other strategies should be used to bring daylight to the interior of the house. The exterior should have shading devices (sunshades, canopies, green screens and—best of all—deciduous trees), particularly on the southern and western facades and over windows and doors, to block hot summer sun. Dual-glaze windows reduce heat gain in summer and heat loss during cold winter months. The roof should be a light-colored, heat-reflecting Energy Star roof, or a green (landscaped) roof, to reduce heat absorption.
- Green Building Materials A green home will have been constructed or renovated with healthy, nontoxic building materials and furnishings, like low- and zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and sealants and nontoxic materials like strawboard for the sub-flooring. Wood-based features should come from rapidly renewable sources like bamboo, but if tropical hardwoods are used, they must be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. A green home uses salvaged materials like kitchen tiles and materials with significant recycled content.
- Insulation A nontoxic insulation, derived from materials like soy or cotton, with a high R (heat resistance) factor in a home’s walls and roof will help prevent cool air leakage in the summer and warm air leakage in the winter.
- Windows and Doors Windows and exterior doors should be Energy Star rated, and they should seal tightly to avoid heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter.
- Energy Efficiency A green home has energy-efficient lighting, heating, cooling, and water-heating systems. Appliances should be Energy Star rated.
- Renewable Energy Ideally, the home would generate some of its own energy from renewable sources using technologies like photovoltaic systems.
- Water Efficiency A green home has a water-conserving irrigation system and water-efficient kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Look for a rainwater collection and storage system, particularly in our area where water is increasingly scarce and expensive.
- Indoor Environmental Quality Natural daylight should reach at least 75 percent of the home’s interior. Natural ventilation (via building orientation, operable windows, fans, wind chimneys, and other strategies) should bring plentiful fresh air inside the house. The HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system should filter incoming air and vent stale air outside. The garage should not have any air-handling equipment or return ducts, and it should have an exhaust fan.
- Landscaping Vine-covered green screens, large canopy trees, and other landscaping should shade exterior walls, as well as the driveway, patios, and other “hardscape” features, to minimize heat islands. The yard should be landscaped with drought-tolerant plants rather than water-guzzling plants and grass in most regions.