Green Built Alliance celebrates certification of 1,500 homes

Press release from Green Built Alliance:

Administered by the Asheville-based nonprofit Green Built Alliance, the statewide Green Built Homes certification program recently reached a milestone of 1,500 houses certified.

Formerly known as NC HealthyBuilt Homes, the program has had more than 250 builders across North Carolina participate in certifying houses since its inception in 2004.

“A green-certified house in our market has become less of a luxury and more of a necessity,” said Jody Guokas, founder and president of JAG and Associates Construction in Asheville, which has certified more than 130 houses through Green Built Homes since becoming a program participant in 2006. “It’s somewhat expected if you’re building new construction in Asheville that you’re going to be building with some sort of environmental consciousness. Green certification has become a pretty strong part of the market.”

Green Built Alliance will be celebrating the Green Built Homes milestone, along with the accomplishments of the nonprofit’s other programs, at its annual party from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13 at Highland Brewing Co. Offering free food, live music and a cash bar, the event is open to the public.

The party will also premiere a new short film about Green Built Alliance and Green Built Homes, as well as debut the 2018 edition of the nonprofit’s annual Green Building Directory containing a wealth of educational articles including many case studies on certified homes.

The Green Built Homes program provides education and a road map to building green, setting builders up for success on their first home. Third-party raters inspect each home in progress to not only prevent greenwashing through third-party verification, but also to catch mistakes before it is too late.

“My passion for Green Built Homes is due to the fact that everyone wins,” Green Built Homes Program Director Maggie Leslie said. “The builder can make more money, the homeowner gets a better home, all while protecting the environment and our children’s future.”

Studies show that investing in green construction is one of the safest investments you can make. Green homes can cost as little as 1 percent more, with an average of 5 to 10 percent more depending on the technologies and the upgrades chosen.

The investment, however, will be easily paid back over the life of the home through monthly energy and water savings, reduced maintenance and increased resale value. During the recession, Green Built Homes proved to hold their value better as home values in the marketplace were declining.

While growing substantially over the years, the program has maintained a consistent focus on helping small- and medium-sized home builders remain competitive in the green-building industry.

“We’re fortunate here in Western North Carolina and Asheville to have so many passionate green builders,” said Greg McGuffey, president of Earthtone Builders, who joined the program in 2005. “Matched with a population that’s also passionate about the environment, we have a perfect setting to advance the green building industry as shown by this milestone.”

With multiple levels of certification (certified, silver, gold, platinum, net zero ready, and net zero), the program offers guidelines for green building, workshops, consultation services, technical and marketing assistance, field consultation, design reviews, and more.

“There are some other green programs out there that are less stringent and really require less verification, where you just fill out the paperwork, sign it and send it in,” Guokas said. “But, with Green Built Homes, there’s that guaranteed third-party verification and inspection component, which to me gives it real value. I’m not just telling you I build green homes; I’m proving it you by bringing in this third-party inspector to verify all things we’re doing.”

As codes have changed and technologies have advanced, so too has Green Built Homes. The program is always evolving to become more comprehensive and offer new opportunities.

In 2016, the program added a Net Zero Ready and Net Zero Energy Certification to encourage and reward builders that push the envelope even further and provide homeowners with homes ready for a post carbon world. In less than two years, the program has certified 17 Net Zero and 5 Net Zero Ready homes.

As the program’s largest certifier, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity has been involved in Green Built Homes since 2008, certifying 141 homes.

“Habitat for Humanity International and all the affiliates in the country have a commitment to sustainable green practices, and the partnership with Green Built Homes brings us to the table,” said Paul Reeves, director of construction services for Asheville Habitat. “As long as Green Built Homes is certifying homes, I see us staying with them as a local partner. We really do value that local connection, and we’re fortunate to have that knowledgeable, skilled group.”

For more information, contact Cari Barcas, community engagement director for Green Built Alliance, at 828-254-1995 or

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