Are you building green? Will you home stand up to the forces of nature? In order to determine whether a project is green and safe, people often need to have standards or guidelines to consider. Below we are providing listing some of the existing standards, and providing quotes from Tulsans who are familiar with them.
Paul Moore is with Selser Schaefer Architects, which has developed initial designs for the proposed Millennium Center exhibit.
Our office has been a member of USGBC for a number of years. One of the strengths of their LEED (Leadership in Environmental Education & Design) green rating program is the breadth of building use types that are covered.
Since we design a wide variety of project types we appreciate a green rating system that addresses both the common and special features of different projects. Since the process, credits and submittal requirements are similar in each LEED program the learning curve is reduced as you move between programs. USGBC supports their rating systems with workshops, commentaries, local organizations and on-line information sources which help navigate a rapidly changing subject.
Recently, we participated in a LEED pilot program that created a new LEED rating system. Based on that experience we can say that the process of establishing the credit requirements is very inclusive of all of the design, construction and building operations community. During the development of the pilot program there were frequent conference calls concerning every credit with representatives of each field. Several key issues required multiple calls before the design intent and submittal requirements were acceptable to the pilot program participants. The final rating system reflected a balanced but progressive approach to improving the environmental performance of the building type.
For more information on LEED, go to http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CategoryID=19
To find a LEED accredited professional, go to http://www.gbci.org/
The website for the Oklahoma Chapter of the USGBC is http://www.usgbc-oklahoma.org/
As reported in the Sustainable Tulsa newsletter, the National Homebuilder’s Association’s Green Building Guidelines received approval from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). “The approval of the standard signals a new era for the nation’s builders, remodelers and developers and also provides an extra measure of reassurance for home buyers, said Joe Robson, a home builder in Tulsa, Okla., and Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Brandon Perkins, the Greater Tulsa Home Builder’s Association President, said, “"The ANSI approval is another giant leap forward in helping to better define and mainstream green building. As the nationally-recognized third party certifier for all residential construction, ANSI's backing for the NAHB Green Building Standard will make it easier for homes to be truly built green and lead us on the path to one consistent national program, which will benefit homeowners, builders and their communities alike. As a Tulsa developer, I could not be more excited for my business and the future of green building to see this progress." Brandon is also a member of the Sustainable Tulsa Board and of the Tulsa Partners’ Millennium Center Steering Committee
To find out more about this standard, go to http://www.nahbgreen.org/
The NAHB also has a Certified Green Professional program. To find out more about this, go to http://www.nahbgreen.org/Education/greenprofessional.aspx
In the Tulsa area, you can find a CGB by going to the Greater Tulsa Home Builders Association website at http://www.tulsahba.com/?t=menu&page=Green+Building
Green Globes is a Canadian import administered in the United States by the Green Building Initiative and is for commercial buildings.
For more information go to: https://www.thegbi.org/home.asp
The Institute for Business and Home Safety® has a Fortified for Safer Living® voluntary standard that can be used to protect homes from natural disasters.
Mike Gurley, Loss Mitigation Manager for State Farm Insurance and a Tulsa Partners board member, says, “In our area of the country, we are prone to catastrophic weather. By following the guidance of programs such as Fortified Homes (from IBHS), homebuyers and builders can feel confident they have “covered the bases” in building safer, stronger homes and protecting families.”
Another person who is familiar with this standard, is Tulsa Partners board member Bob Roberts, who promotes it in his job as Senior Disaster Planner for Flanagan and Associates.
"We are working with many communities that are very excited about the possibility of using elements of the Fortified…for Safer Living ® program to promote stronger and safer homes for their residents."
"By using the guidelines of IBHS' Fortified… for Safer Living®, homebuilders and home buyers can feel more confident that our loved ones are protected from Oklahoma's frequently hazardous weather." For more information on this standard go to http://www.ibhs.org/property_protection/default.asp?id=8
When Tulsa Partners began as a nonprofit affiliated with Tulsa’s Project Impact program, we did a great deal of public education on saferooms, an above ground storm shelter concept developed by Dr. Ernst Kiesling of Texas Tech University. We encouraged people to use the guidelines created by FEMA for residential storm saferooms (FEMA 320) and storm shelters for larger facilities (FEMA 361). Since that time, the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA), which Dr. Kiesling leads as executive director, created standards for saferooms, community shelters, and below ground storm shelters which are are met or exceeded by NSSA member companies. Last year, the International Code Council adopted the ICC/NSSA 500-2008, which can now be incorporated in a community’s building codes, requiring all storm shelters to meet these standards. Dirk DeRose with New Day Tornado Shelters has researched the standards. He says, “I feel it is good to have a standard in place for such a life-saving device, installed in Tulsa homes. For so long there was no standard, then came FEMA Pub320 and Pub361. But these were narrowly limited in scope. The people at National Storm Shelter Association have done outstanding work at assembling and applying research and testing, with the latest version of the NSSA Standard, as adopted by ICC. This Standard covers hurricane and tornado shelters, residential and community, above-ground and buried. I think it makes sense to go with it in Tulsa.”
New Day Tornado Shelters has recently applied to be an NSSA member. Even if a storm shelter vendor is not a member of the NSSA, though, Dirk says, “I do believe that they should be able to provide proof that their design and installation meet the ICC/NSSA 500-2008 Standard for the Design and Testing of Storm Shelters.” The standard is included in the 2009 International Building and Residential Codes. To download copies of the FEMA 320 for residential saferooms, go to http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/saferoom/fema320.shtm
To download copies of the FEMA 361 for community saferooms, go to http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/saferoom/fema361.shtm
To read about and perhaps purchase a copy of the ICC/NSSA 500-2008 standard (written for code officials), go to http://www.iccsafe.org/dyn/prod/7026S08.html
To visit the National Storm Shelter Association website, including a list of members, go to http://www.nssa.cc/
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pleased to announce the release of its WaterSense Single-Family New Home Specification, creating the first national, voluntary specification for water-efficient new homes.
“Home builders can now partner with EPA and earn the WaterSense label for their newly built homes, helping to create livable communities and quality homes that are easy to maintain,” said Peter S. Silva, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “These homes will save homeowners as much as $200 a year on utility bills compared to their current homes.”
These homes will feature WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures, ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances (if installed), water-efficient landscaping, and hot water delivery systems that deliver hot water faster, so homeowners don’t waste water—or energy—waiting at the tap.
By investing in WaterSense labeled homes, American home buyers can reduce their water usage by more than 10,000 gallons per year—enough to fill a backyard swimming pool—and save enough energy annually to power a television for four years.
Designed to complement existing green building programs, WaterSense labeled new homes will be 20 percent more efficient than typical new homes, and must be independently inspected and certified by an EPA licensed certification provider to meet the WaterSense criteria for water efficiency and performance. The roles and responsibilities of all applicable parties are defined in more detail in the final specification.
EPA wants to thank the hundreds of partners and stakeholders that helped develop the specification. And now WaterSense looks forward to working with our program partners to spread the word about this exciting new opportunity! Please help us welcome into the WaterSense partnership builders and other organizations that want to bring WaterSense labeled new homes to their communities.
To view a message from Pete Silva, Assistant Administrator for Water, about the WaterSense new homes specification, visit the WaterSense web site.
Home owners, buyers, and renters have a new resource for going green indoors and outdoors. EPA’s new Green Homes website will help people make their homes greener with tips on reducing energy consumption, carbon footprints, waste generation, and water use, as well as improving indoor air quality.
The latest federal survey of American housing (2007) reported 128 million housing units across the United States, accounting for nearly 54 percent of national energy use and nearly 31 percent of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, the most common greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.
Many green building practices and technologies have yet to infiltrate the existing residential market, in part because it is hard for people to find clear and credible information. The Green Homes website addresses that need by providing guidance on approaches to greening each room of the home as well as the surrounding yard. Information is also available on building new homes and finding an energy-efficient mortgage. Renters will find information to help them identify a green property before moving in and tips for working with their landlord to add green features to an existing property.
Most of the energy efficiency information on the Green Homes site draws from the ENERGY STAR Homes program, including ENERGY STAR Qualified New Homes, which are 20-30 percent more efficient than standard homes, and ENERGY STAR’s home improvement resources for existing homes.
To explore the many resources on the Green Homes website, visit http://www.epa.gov/greenhomes.
State and local officials interested in additional information about developing and implementing cost-effective climate and energy strategies that help further environmental goals and achieve public health and economic benefits may visit:
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