• Third-party verification is key to consumers when looking for a "green" home.
  • Green features that address extreme heat, humidity and foundational issues are sought after in Houston.
  • GBGC certification adheres to the National Green Building Standard ICC 700.

Green building is said to account for roughly 30 percent of the nation’s residential building sector. Recent survey findings from Dodge Data & Analytics indicate that percentage will rise in the years to come.

By 2020, it estimates half of all home builders will construct at least 60 percent of their inventory as green homes.

In Houston it appears a number of builders are upping their focus on green home construction.

“There will be a strong market demand here in Houston, and we are ready for it,” said Brandon Lynch, president of Houston-based, custom builder Keechi Creek Homes.

The use of lighting fixtures that require LED bulbs and the installation of water fixtures that are part of the WaterSense program are two green building implementations Lynch has noticed among Houston builders. Landscaping homes with native plants represents an additional trend.

Keechi Creek Homes is one of a consortium of builders that has its new homes certified via Green Built Gulf Coast (GBGC), a green building program launched by the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA).

GBGC certification for green homes in Houston

Texas-focused Highland Homes and Darling Homes, along with locally-focused Trendmaker Homes, Dunn & Stone Builders and Sandcastle Homes are some of GBGC’s largest members, according to Donna Buenik, director of builder programs for GHBA.

Homes that achieve GBGC certification must adhere to the National Green Building Standard ICC 700. The certification standards also place a priority on green features that address specific concerns related to the Gulf Coast environment, namely extreme heat, foundation issues and humidity.

“When consumers see the Green Built Gulf Coast certification, they can be confident that the product has undergone strict, third party verification for compliance,” GBGC’s website states.

Lynch dubbed the program as an achievable and affordable means of certifying a home as green.

By 2018, nearly half of home builders and remodelers expect to be using solar photovoltaics and ground source heat pump technologies. Dodge Data also noted that net zero homes are emerging, as 21 percent of home builders reported having built such a home within the last two years.

Most builders and remodelers believe building green has an incremental cost over traditional construction of at least five percent.

Email Erik Pisor

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