Category Archives: Green Developments

2013 NAHBGreen Awards Now Accepting Entries

2013 NAHBGreen AwardsThe National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is pleased to announce that they are now accepting submissions for its 2013 NAHBGreen Awards. Individuals, companies and organizations are recognized annually for excellence in residential green design and construction practices, advocacy efforts and green building programs.

This year, the award winners will be announced in conjunction with the 2012 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas on January 23.

“The NAHBGreen Awards showcase the best and most innovative work in green,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “This is an excellent opportunity for industry professionals to be recognized for their hard work.”

Both members and non-members can apply for these prestigious awards. In order to be eligible for the Green Project of the Year categories, projects must have been started no earlier than January 2010 and substantially completed by December 2012.

Project of the Year award categories include: single family, multifamily, remodel and site development. You may also enter to win Advocate of the Year.

All projects must be scored to the ICC-700 National Green Building Standard to ensure fair comparisons for judging purposes. This can be done by using on the online Green Scoring Tool.

All entries must be received by October 18, and application fees are $250 for Project of the Year categories and $150 for the Advocate of the Year award.

For more information or to apply, visit For examples of green building in Atlanta, visit Atlanta Real Estate Forum.

If you have any questions, please contact Chad Riedy at

Partnership for Sustainable Communities Celebrates Third Anniversary

partnership for sustainable communitiesLast week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming joined Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator Ed Jennings, Jr. and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Regional Administrator Dr. Yvette Taylor to celebrate the third anniversary of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The interagency collaboration helps communities nationwide improve their access to affordable housing, lower transportation costs and increase transportation options, while protecting people’s health and the environment.

“Three years ago, EPA embarked on this innovative partnership to change how we interact with our stakeholders and bring about change in the community,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming.   “The programs and projects that are now in place here in Atlanta and across the Southeast, exemplify what can be accomplished when citizens, states, cities and federal agencies work together.  We look forward to continuing this partnership and assisting each of these communities in achieving its long-term economic, environmental and public health goals.

“Atlanta’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities has really allowed us to do the kind of essential projects that invest directly in our communities, reduce transportation costs for our families, improve house affordability, save energy and increase access to work, play and home,” said Mayor Kasim Reed.  “I applaud the EPA, HUD, the Department of Transportation and Department of Labor for their tremendous efforts.  Through this partnership, we can work as a team to support ongoing initiatives, promote economic development and receive technical assistance on vital projects.”

Since announcing the partnership, agencies have dedicated more than $2.5 billion in assistance nationally to more than 200 communities in 48 states to help meet transportation and housing goals, while also promoting equitable development, protecting the environment and addressing climate change. In addition, $238 million has been spent on America’s rural communities.

The partnership, now in its fourth year, works to provide communities with faster, streamlined access to federal resources and programs, and works closely with other states, local governments and federal agencies to ensure that partnership programs use federal resources effectively.

For more information about the Partnership for Sustainable Communities,

Green Building Leaders Invited to Attend Building Conference

EEBAMark your calendars! The Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) is proud to present the 30th Annual Excellence in Building Conference & Expo on September 25 through September 27 at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz.. Celebrating the best in building science, EEBA’s Excellence in Building Conference & Expo presents a year’s worth of value in just three days!

EEBA will provide  hands-on building science training, innovative ideas, critical information and relevant resources you need from the nation’s leading experts. Participants will hear presentations from John Tooley, Sam Rashkin and Mark LaLiberte, and enjoy more than 55 educational sessions covering building science with insight from the industry’s leading thinkers.

This is a great opportunity to learn how to deliver energy efficient and high performance homes to the public. This conference will provide green building leaders and newcomers alike with a chance to network with other professionals, and to develop solutions to problems within the green building industry. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in two unique off-site tours that will provide hands-on experience as well as mingle with 60 exhibit partners in the Exhibit Hall.

The early rate of full conference registration is $500 from now until July 31. The regular rate is $550, the onsite rate is $600 and the student rate is $350. One day passes are also available. Reserve your room at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess with a single or double room rate of $159.

For more information, visit or email Become part of the EEBA network on Facebook at To register, call the registration hotline at (952) 881-1098. For more information on green building, events and trends, check out our site.

Are Solar Panels Helping or Hurting?

Solar PanelIf you are considering a green remodel of your home, you might want to think twice about solar panels. Solar energy has been touted in recent years as the smartest form of renewable power, and it would be, if it weren’t for solar power’s predisposition for waste. Unfortunately, solar panels only have a life span of approximately twenty-five years, and now that our initial solar experiments are beginning to require replacements, electronic environmentalists are having a hard time figuring out how to recycle these old panels.

Electronic Waste

Electronic waste is beginning to gain widespread attention as our society continues to mass produce and mass dispose of electronics. As of late, electronic waste, also known as electronic scrap, has been discarded to third world countries, where impoverished scavengers cut and burn old electronics to profit from the valuable materials within. In addition to putting their own health at risk by taking apart electronics without proper safety gear, these electronics hounds are endangering the health of their homes by releasing contaminants into the surrounding air and water.

Solar panels have obvious benefits for the environment, and environmental scientists are currently experimenting with more and more uses for them, from heating conductors to cars. But on the downside, solar panels also contain the same harmful materials found in many electronics, including cadmium, silicon tetrachloride, selenium, and sulfur hexafluoride. Of course, green-conscious solar power producers are hoping to maintain the eco-credibility of their solar products.

Solar Panel Recycling

Fortunately, there is some motion towards solar panel recycling, but it is still very limited.  Arizone-based First Solar, the world’s number one PV-cell manufacturer, has initiated an end-of-life solar module collection and recycling program. It currently recycles 95% percent of metal-rich semiconductor materials and 90% of module glass. But while the recycling program is free-of-charge, it is only applicable to First Solar products. This seems to be a common drawback with electronic waste recyclers. If they were truly concerned with the current state of electronic waste, wouldn’t they accept any form or brand of e-scrap? Yes, I’m more likely to buy new First Solar products, knowing they offer free recycling, but where does that leave me with my old, unusable solar panels?

Unfortunately, First Solar does not expect much solar recycling business any time soon. Though the company believes the service should pick up within the next ten to fifteen years, they might also want to consider producing solar products with waste-conscious updates in the meantime. As one of the premier solar recyclers, First Solar needs to set an example for other solar manufacturers. The addition of solar recycling plants around the country will not only benefit our earth, but create countless jobs in a struggling economy. Solar panels also are embedded with numerous precious materials, including pure silver. An effective recycling system could assist in the protection of our Earth’s valuable natural resources. Creating a solar panel from recycled materials costs nearly the same amount as creating a solar panel from new materials and requires only one-third of the energy. With these statistics, it’s obviously time to start recycling solar panels. Let’s not hurt our earth with the very products we use to protect it.

Written by Lynn Jackson

National Green Building Award Winners Announced

iStockThe National Association of Home Builders recently announced the National Green Building Award winners. The awards, which were presented on April 30 during the 14th annual National Green Building Conference in Nashville, were given to eleven industry professionals and companies.

The three-day conference include educational programs, green product exhibits, local green home tours and the Muddy Boots Mixer, which is a networking and awards event.

“These awards recognize the best and most innovative builders and remodelers in green building”, said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “The demand for green building is growing in leaps and bounds, and these winners set a great example of what can be accomplished in terms of sustainable and energy efficient building practices.”

Five single-family home projects were honored:

  • Purdue University of West Lafayette, Ind., for Project of the Year, Single-Family Concept and Research- Academic
  • Meritage Homes of Goodyear, Ariz., for Project of the Year, Single-Family Production Builder
  • TC Legend Homes/Zero-Energy Plans LLC of Coupeville, Wash., for Project of the Year, Single-Family Concept and Research- Enterprise
  • Chandler Design-Build Inc. of Mebane, N.C., for Project of the Year, Single-Family Small Volume Builder
  • MGM Construction of San Francisco, for Project of the Year, Single-Family Custom Builder

Two remodeling projects and one multifamily project were also honored:

  • Trifecta Construction Solutions of Fort Meyers, Fla., for Multifamily Project of the Year
  • G HOME of Rocking Horse Redevelopment of Phoenix, Ariz., for Remodeling Project of the Year Under $100,000
  • G HOME by Rocking Horse Redevelopment of Phoenix, Ariz., for Remodeling Project of the Year Over $100,000

Two awards were given to individuals or organizations for their efforts in green building advocacy:

  • G STREET of Scottsdale, Ariz., as Remodeler Advocate of the Year
  • The Mungo Companies of Irmo, S.C. for Builder Advocate of the Year

A new award, NAHB Green Outstanding Contribution Award, was also presented to T.W. Bailey, of WaterMark Custom Builders in Frisco, Texas.

For more information on this year’s awards, visit the National Green Building Awards website.

Georgia Perimeter College and EPA to Collaborate on Green Initiatives

On Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will enter into an agreement with Georgia Perimeter College to support campus greening and sustainability. As part of the agreement, EPA will commit to enhance the college’s environmental policy and science curricula and offer opportunities for students interested in environmental careers.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be signed during a ceremony at Georgia Perimeter.

WHO: Gwen Keyes Fleming, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 4;
Dr. Anthony Tricoli, President, Georgia Perimeter College
Hank M. Huckaby, Chancellor, University System of Georgia Board of Regents
Karla Drenner, Georgia State Representative

WHAT: EPA and Georgia Perimeter College Sign MOU on Campus Greening and Environmental Careers

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. EST

WHERE: Georgia Perimeter College – Clarkston Campus
Atlanta Center for Civic Engagement & Service Learning
555 N. Indian Creek Drive
Clarkston, GA

For more information, contact Dawn Harris-Young at 404-562-8421 or

Green Homes Market Expected to Increase Five-Fold by 2016

McGraw-Hill Construction, a part of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), today released findings from a new Green Home Builders and Remodelers Study at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show in Orlando. Green homes comprised 17% of the overall residential construction market in 2011 and are expected to grow to between 29% and 38% of the market by 2016. By value, this equates to a five-fold increase, growing from $17 billion in 2011 to $87-$114 billion in 2016, based on the five-year forecast for overall residential construction.

According to the study, construction industry professionals report an even steeper increase in green home remodeling; 34% of remodelers expect to be doing mostly green work by 2016, a 150% increase over 2011 activity levels. Many home builders have shifted to the remodeling market due to the drastic drop in new home construction. In fact, 62% of the builders who do both new and remodeling work verified that the economy has increased their renovation work.

“The housing market is critical to the U.S. economy,” said Harvey M. Bernstein, VP of Industry Insights and Alliances, McGraw-Hill Construction, “and the results of our study show that despite the drastic downturn in housing starts since 2008, green has grown significantly as a share of activity– indicating that the green market is becoming an important part of our overall economic landscape.”

The green home building study, produced by McGraw-Hill Construction in conjunction with the NAHB and Waste Management, is designed to provide key insights into market opportunities, backed by proprietary research surveys and the power of the Dodge database. The study reveals business benefits afforded by green building, such as a competitive marketing advantage: 46% of builders and remodelers find that “building green” makes it easier to market themselves in a down economy, and an overwhelming 71% of firms that are dedicated to green home building report the same.

“This study demonstrates phenomenal growth in green building and indicates that we can expect even larger increases in the coming years,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “In a sample of NAHB builder and remodeler members, nearly 90% reported building green at some level. This is a powerful testament to the importance of green home building–and transforms the way we think of homes overall.”

By 2016, many more builders anticipate that they will be dedicated to green building work on over 90% of projects– 33% expect to be dedicated to green work in 2016, up from 17% in 2011. Remodeling will grow even more dramatically– 22% of remodelers report that they anticipate they will be dedicated to green work in 2016, nearly triple the 8% who report being dedicated to green work in 2011. These builders are clued into the revenue opportunity afforded by green building and know that home buyers will pay more for green homes, according to 61% of builders and 66% of remodelers.

“Home buyers and builders increasingly want to do what’s right for the environment,” said Jim Halter, VP for Construction Solutions, Waste Management. “This trend has been taking off within our business as customers look to recycle and divert more materials from landfills. We’re excited to see the results of the study; they validate the services we offer.”

Many factors are driving the green homes market, with “higher quality” and “increases in energy costs” topping the list, indicating that today’s green homebuyer is not just a green consumer. Buyers recognize that green homes have lower bills due to higher building performance. The reported costs of building a green home have also gone down significantly. Builders report that the cost to go green is now 7%, as compared to 10% in 2008 and 11% in 2006.

While green is growing across the U.S., three regions are seeing higher than average growth. The West Coast has seen the highest green growth; the Midwest’s northern region, west of the Mississippi, is second highest; and New England is ranks third.

McGraw-Hill Construction will continue analyzing the results of the Green Home Builders and Remodelers Study and release a printed report in April during the NAHB’s National Green Building Conference and Expo in Nashville. Further findings, including remodeling details, green technologies, and green product adoption in green homes, will be included in that report. For more details in the meantime, visit

Ground Broken on Green Chicago Residential Tower

The Chicago real estate industry is getting a new high-rise that will fill two popular needs in the city right now: Green building and rental opportunities.

With homeownership at historic lows, many residents in Chicago and around the nation are turning to rental properties for living quarters.

Developer AMLI Residential broke ground last week on a luxury 50-story apartment tower in downtown Chicago that will be built for LEED Gold Designation and designed as part of Chicago’s Green Permit Process.

The high-end AMLI development will include lots of luxurious features, including a pool, fitness center, theatre room and in-unit floor-to-ceiling windows that provide natural night and beautiful city views.

The building will also include a no-smoking policy in which offenders found lighting up anywhere on the property, including in units, will have to send $250 to the American Lung Association.

Want to find out more about this pet-friendly residential tower, including its green features and expected completion date? Check out our story:

Construction Commences on Chicago Luxury Tower

and then check back to Chicagoland Real Estate Forum for updates on this exciting project.

New Chicago Neighborhood Will Focus on Green

The Chicago real estate landscape will be getting an entirely new community in the future, and that community will qualify for the nation’s first sustainable rating system for green neighborhoods.

Lakeside is a proposed community to be built along Lake Michigan on Chicago’s South Side where the U.S. Steel’s South Works manufacturing plant used to sit.

The 500-acre site will include enough single-family homes and high-rise units for 50,000 residents, retail and entertainment space, a marina and a new high school.

The Chicago Lakeside Development Master Plan is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) certified community from the U.S. Green Building Council and will include these environmentally friendly features:

*Large open spaces, compact walkable neighborhoods and access to bike paths and public transportation.

*1.7 miles of additional lakefront access, 91 acres of lakefront park and 125 acres of green space.

*On-site and off-shore wind development.

*Geothermal/lake water cooling.

*Solar panel inclusion.

*An innovative stormwater management plan.

Want to learn more about this new community? Read our story:

Untapped Chicago Real Estate About to Bloom

Then, check back to Chicagoland Real Estate Forum for updates on this exciting project.

Going Green by Downsizing

So you are a green builder. Are you this green?

The Equifax Personal Finance Blog

recently reported on a home at the University of Hertforshire, UK, that is just 3x3x3 meters. That’s a few inches smaller than 10’x10’x10’.

Called the Cube, the home is designed with all the furnishings one person needs. In addition to a kitchenette, table, two chairs, lounge and small bed, it contains a full sized shower and a composting toilet.

Among the home’s many green features are LED lights, an air-source heat pump, and an energy-efficient fridge. Plus, with the use of solar photovoltaic panels, it produces at least as much energy as it uses. To see the home and read about its additional features, check out the full article, “

The Cube Project: What Would You Give Up To Live In A Tiny House?”

For a true green builder, this may be a dream house. But for the rest of us, it’s a little far fetched. Many demonstration projects go to extremes to show all of the things that can be done, while working home builders are faced with trying to build green within real-life budgets and real homebuyer preferences.

After you’ve seen the article at the

Equifax Personal Finance Blog, come back here and tell us if that project gives you any ideas you can use now. What will help you as a green builder incorporate more environmentally friendly components into your next home?