Home In on Green Ratings

Home builders have lamented in recent years that the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards for office and institutional properties apply to single- and multi-family properties awkwardly. To wit, the National Association of Home Builders, along with the International Code Council, began working on the National Green Building Standards’ early predecessor, the Model Green Home Building Guidelines, in 2004, long before the LEED for Homes, or LEED-H, system was born.Although Jeff Oberdorfer, executive director for sustainable development pioneer First Community Housing, stressed that he welcomes the new LEED-H system, in which his company is participating extensively, he acknowledged that LEED’s format has thus far applied best to non-residential properties.He would also like to see LEED’s certification of new buildings refined to better serve high-density multi-family infill projects. Carlos Martin assistant staff vice president for the National Association of Home Builders’ construction codes and standards staff, noted that the National Green Building Standards will cover multi-family development and community site planning.Michelle Moore, senior vice president overseeing residential programs for the Green Building Council, maintained that the multi-family sector remains a top LEED priority. The LEED-H system applies to low-rise multi-family communities and single-family homes, and the council continues to work on applicability to mid- and high-rise residential properties. In the meantime, she added, developers can apply the LEED-NC system for new construction projects to residential high-rises.