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+ Why is it important to buy or build a green?
+ What defines a green built home or project?
+ Is a green home more expensive?
+ Who builds green in New Mexico and where?
+ Why is building efficiently catching on?
+ Are there any drawbacks to building green?
+ How do I retrofit an existing home green?

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Answers for Buyers

Why are more homes being built Green than ever before?

A changing, more demanding marketplace is the short answer. Some builders have been using Green construction methods for years, but it was just three years ago that the first high-volume, production builder in Albuquerque started building Green, and they had their homes certified by Build Green NM. That builder trained their staff, subcontractors and sales people on the ”Hows” and “Whys” of building Green. Once educated to the advantages of living in a Green home, people purchased the homes. Success doesn’t go unnoticed, and now most of the well-known production builders, and many smaller builders, build certified Build Green NM homes.

How do I retrofit an existing home to be Green?

Doing a remodel well enough to achieve certification is quite different, and frequently more of a challenge, than building a new Green home. However, a builder or remodeler who has the appropriate training can check out a home for deficiencies in insulation, air leakage, indoor air problems, and incorporate fixes to those problems into the scope of work during the remodel or addition. The remodeler can also hire a trained professional to inspect and test the home for these deficiencies. These professionals have been trained and have a BPI or RESNET certification. (See the Member Resources tab for a link to these organizations)

Is a Green home more expensive to build?

You would not expect to pay the same price for a Mercedes as a Chevrolet of the same size. What you would expect from the higher priced car is better quality and performance. Similarly, a home that is better built with more insulation, high-efficiency equipment and other sustainable building features will likely have an initial cost that is somewhat higher than a home built to minimal standards. However, the performance of that home will result in lower utility bills and much higher comfort. When you consider the savings in the cost of utilities the Green home may actually cost less in the long run. Besides, the cost of building Green may be far less than you think.

Many builders claim that they build Green. How do I know if that is true?

Many special features are incorporated into a sustainably built Green home. Certainly, some of these features may be used by any builder, but the critical difference is inclusion of Third-Party Inspection and Testing. A home certified by Build Green NM or LEED-H has undergone rigorous testing and inspections. This not only allows a builder to correct mistakes before they are covered up, but also insures the customer that an impartial third-party has certified that all Green practices and products have been employed correctly. A customer can look at their HERS certificate, for example, to see just how efficient that home is compared to a home built only to the minimum code required. (See “What is a HERS Index?” below for more information.)

What is a HERS Index?

The Residential Energy Service Network (RESNET) is an organization that trains professionals to inspect, test and rate the performance efficiency of a home. These professionals are called HERS Raters----HERS stands for Home Energy Rating System. One of the final documents they provide is a certificate that shows the HERS Index of that home. The HERS Index is a comparison of the home tested to a home built to a standard building code (Currently based on the 2004 IECC code). A home equal to that code is rated at 100. An older, less efficient home may have a rating of 145, which means that home is 45% LESS efficient than one built to code. A new energy efficient home may have a number of 60.This home would be 40% MORE efficient than the code built home. The lower the number the better (like a golf score).

Who builds Green homes in New Mexico?

Look on this website for not only builders, but also suppliers and subcontractors who employ Green practices and products. Requirements for joining Build Green NM include membership in Good Standing with the National Association of Home Builders. Build Green NM certifies homes across the state and many of those builders are listed in our “Green Builders” tab.