Saturday, November 21, 2009
GREEN- yes, but do you need it in writing?
Since there's a lot of hype about green homes- and in our opinion, we certainly would qualify for that description, we were thinking about getting our work certified- kind of an outside confirmation that we passed the green threshold.
But after a closer look at the different rating systems, we started to hesitate. There's just sooo many different green rating programs out there- and typical for our market economy- the bigger the brand name, the bigger the price tag.
The most expensive and most widely known one is USGBC's LEED- Grit and I are both accredited professionals and have seen the program from the designer's point of view: A lot of legwork, assembling fact sheets, photos and uploading them to a website for review. The problem is the price tag- LEED for Homes for certification runs at approximately $5,000- quite a chunk of money.
Then there's the GreenPoint system by Build it Green- a program widely spread in the bay area and much easier to work with, since it goes by a standard checklist and doesn't require a lot of consultants to calculate things. The price tag is also considerably cheaper- below 2,000 for a single family home.
But there are also ideological problems with rating systems- Many points don't make sense. There might be disagreement about what is rated and how much it is weighted in to the whole equation. So, for example, LEED for Homes requires that bathroom fans run constantly- to prevent moisture build-up and mold in bathrooms- but a waste of energy in our eyes.
So for now, we're not sure if we are going to pursue any certification- or use the money for a real green feature- solar panels for example- rather than a piece of paper.