Submitted by Sara Majzun, President

North Coast Building Industry Association (NCBIA)

The good news: home builders are increasingly incorporating green building elements in their construction and development practices, offering consumers more options for homes that have minimal impact on the environment.

The bad news: With this growth comes an emerging problem of “greenwashing”— a term for presenting a product as more environmentally friendly than is the case. 

Some home listings may advertise an entire home as green, when in reality, there may only be a few sustainable features. This can make buyers more skeptical about a home marketed as green. For this reason, many builders look to third-party validation, such as the National Green Building Standard (NGBS).

NGBS is a voluntary standard developed by government, environmental and industry experts and is the only green rating system approved by the American National Standards Institute. To receive NGBS certification, a home must perform at or above a baseline threshold of sustainability in several areas including: 

  • Energy-efficiency improvements, such as high levels of insulation, efficient HVAC systems, high-performance windows and energy-efficient appliances or lighting
  • Water conservation measures, such as water-efficient appliances, water-conserving fixtures, filtration systems, and water-efficient or low-maintenance landscaping
  • Resource conservation techniques, such as using high-performance engineered wood, wood alternatives, allergen-free materials, recycled building materials, sustainably harvested lumber and more durable products
  • Indoor environmental quality considerations, such as effective HVAC equipment, use of formaldehyde-free finishes, and products with minimum off-gassing or low-volatile organic compounds
  • Site design techniques, like minimizing disruption and preserving open space

Homes that are verified receive a Federal Trade Commission-compliant NGBS certification mark, providing buyers with confirmation that the home is a high-performance property.

Sustainability measures and high-performance building techniques are important to home owners who want to enjoy lower ownership costs through utility savings, increased durability and an improved indoor living environment. Going green also encourages more efficient use of increasingly scarce resources and helps to conserve them for future generations.

It’s important to be informed when looking to purchase or sell a high-performance home. Consider third-party certifications such as the NGBS. You can also obtain a green appraisal and use a green real estate broker.

To find a green home builder in the area, contact the NCBIA.  Contact us for a list of reputable and dependable professionals who can help you.  WE HAVE THE ONLY LIST YOU WILL EVER NEED!

Visit our website – for a list of our members, as well as our new For Consumer section and job posting (under the About Us tab).  Be sure to check our Virtual Parade of Homes which updates regularly.  Or, give us a call Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 440-934-1090.