On the 41st anniversary of Earth Day, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reminds consumers that an investment in energy and resource efficiency can pay real dividends by reducing a home’s energy use and the associated costs.

This year, the Earth Day Network is encouraging people all over the world to contribute to “a billion acts of green.”

“Something that makes a home more resource efficient is definitely an act of green,” said Eric Borsting, chair of NAHB’s Green Building Subcommittee and a builder from Stockton, Calif. “And being a good steward of the earth’s resources can also help a family save money on utility bills over time.”

There are many ways that consumers can make their homes more resource efficient, such as improving insulation and installing energy efficient appliances and lighting, high performance windows and doors, on-demand water heaters, and high efficiency heating and air conditioning systems, just to name a few, Borsting said.

And whether a family is considering a remodeling project or buying a new home, Borsting encourages them to look for a new home certified under the National Green Building Standard or plan a remodeling project that qualifies for certification. The National Green Building Standard (ICC 700 National Green Building Standard™) is the first point-based rating system for green residential construction, remodeling and land development to be approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

To date, more than 2,200 residential projects nationwide have been certified under the National Green Building Standard.

To comply with the standard, a builder or remodeler must incorporate a minimum number of features in the following areas:

Lot and site development; Energy, water, and resource efficiency; Indoor environmental quality; and Home owner education.

Under the standard, there are four threshold levels – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald. These allow builders and remodelers to quantify and qualify green building at various levels. At the Emerald level, the highest rating for a residential green building, a building must provide energy savings of 60 percent or more.

“Earth Day provides an opportunity for all of us to take stock of what we are doing to make the world a greener, healthier place,” Borsting said. “The green building movement is going to have a significant positive impact as the years go by.”

Visit http://www.nahbgreen.org/ for more information about green building and the National Green Building Standard.

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