There is not a single definition of “green” that is universally used and accepted. Similar to the food industry using the terms “organic” or “natural”, there is not a source of authority that can verify what is green. At MSH we consider houses to be green that conserve energy, conserve water, conserve resources, decrease impact on public infrastructure, use sustainable materials, increase air quality and utilize natural features of wind and sun.
There are a number of residential rating systems that are point based spreadsheets that a home can qualify itself as green if it meets a certain set of criteria. Two of the most popular are LEED and NAHB. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and has been developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). This is the most widely recognized rating system for commercial construction. The partners at MSH have achieved the highest rated home possible in the rating system with the LEED Platinum on the Treehouse project. It was a rare achievement with only 4 other custom homes in the state having that rating when completed. NAHB stands for the National Association of Home Builders.
The end result of the rating systems is to educate the homeowners, builders, architects, suppliers and manufacturers. There are many choices to be made on a construction project and the more the team is aware of the available options and the magnitude of the decisions being made, the better the chance the project has to be green and sustainable. Some decisions will be nothing more than a matter of specifying the correct product while others may have a cost associated. Our goal is to define all the opportunities and review them with the homeowner based on the value, return on investment, long range impact, short term impact and environmental impact.