Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dallas - Green Light On Green Building

Attended the Texas Green Housing Summit at the Convention Center this morning. The Homebuilder’s Association, Andres Construction and Carrier sponsored this meeting. The speakers, which included Mayor Tom Leppart, made and remade several points:

1. Big Issues in Green Housing are Costs and Health (Homes, Jobs and Education,) but costs can be negligible if homes are designed and constructed the right way. Green Building also makes a major contribution to conservation.
2. Dallas has requirements for renewable energy, Green building, and market management, and takes responsibility for implementation with business involvement.
3. Dallas is investing in Green technology.
4. Because the world is thinking Green, the market increase is huge.
5. The quality of construction and the demand for Green building are both increasing.
6. Homeowners are buying Green in the down market and will pay more for a Green home.
7. Although costs are still the biggest obstacle to Green, the experience of the industry is decreasing costs.
8. Builders generally see Green as a tighter envelope while consumers see Green as the use of Greener products and appliances.
9. Renovation & Remodeling are big components of the Green housing industry.
10. It is essential to educate the marketplace.
11. Green building programs must also align with government priorities.

[Aside: Many are of the opinion that Green construction is just the implementation of best practices for architects, designers, engineers and builders. In that case, why haven’t we been building Green all along? One reason, and one related to cost, is that building code requirements have been the standard to meet. Anything more than the building code requires is frequently deemed unnecessary and increases costs. What has rarely been considered in the project budget is that building codes establish the minimum standards for construction. Now that Green is the new black, more standards are being updated to include Green in planning, design and construction.]

12. NAHB makes three big points for their NAHB Green Standards:
a) Green is for everyone.
b) Green is easy.
c) Green is for the whole housing industry.
13. The NAHB Standards cover all types of housing and all price points.
14. To be rated under the Green Building North Texas verification/registration standards, a home must meet criteria established by one of the following:
a) Green Building North Texas Standards
b) LEED for Homes
c) NAHB Green Standards
15. Investigate and take advantage of the various incentive programs, such as rebates and tax credits.