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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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Why Build Green?

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?

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” 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.

Answers for Builders, Suppliers and Subcontractors

Why should I build my homes Green?

If you want to be competitive in today’s market you have to build a better home than the many homes, both new and resales, currently for sale.  A new home that home shoppers see as more comfortable to live in, less costly to operate, and altogether a healthier home will become homebuyers.  Build Green NM tests and certifies homes and teams with the Green Build Councils of the local HBA’s to provide education for builders across the state.  Home Buyers are smart and they will look for a builder that has the correct answers and product to satisfy their needs. The marketplace has changed and consumers have come to expect green features and building standards.

How do I certify a home in the Build Green NM program?

Build Green NM (BGNM) is founded on the ANSI 2008 National Green Building Standard (NGBS).  The NGBS is a point based program that requires points being earned in each of 6 categories.  There are 4 levels of certification in the BGNM program.  Build Green NM certifies homes, residential multifamily buildings, new communities, and major remodels. The certification process starts at the design phase and is completed when the home is finished.  Go to the About BGNM / Certification Process tab on this website for more information and BGNM downloadable forms.

Are there incentives to building Green?

New Mexico is one of the most forward-looking states in our country.  We have transferable State Income Tax credits, deep fee-reduction and expedited processing incentives in Albuquerque for building on the “Green Path” and PNM and Gas Company of NM also offer incentives in many areas of the state.  Click on the Member Resources tab for links to these and other sites.

How do I know if my product or Service is considered Green?

The Build Green NM program is based on the 2008 National Green Building Standard.  The Standard indicates what practice or product qualifies to earn “points” in the program.  If you are not sure after looking at that document then contact the Director of Build Green NM for further information (bgnm@comcast.net)