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Four Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Green Home Builder

green home builder questions

Green Home Builder in Chesterfield, MOGreen is a very popular color these days, especially in the home building industry. And it might not be for the reason you are thinking. More people are choosing to build and buy green homes – not just because they are good for the planet – but because green, high performance homes save homeowners so much money in monthly utilities and maintenance costs. They are not only energy efficient homes, but they are also constructed of highly durable materials that are longer lasting most.

Back in 2007, Hibbs Homes built one of the first gold level homes in the St. Louis area certified under the St Louis Home Builder‘s Association’s Green Building Initiative. More recently, we completed the first home in the United States using the Active House sustainable building specifications developed in Europe, called Active House – and also celebrated the completion of Missouri’s greenest home – Proud Green Home St. Louis, built in collaboration with Proud Green Home.

Now that St Louisans are becoming more familiar with the cost savings and the health benefits of building a green home, the number of home builders offering green construction options to their clients has increased, but while many builders claim to build green homes, it is important to understand that not every home is the same shade of sustainable, and that also means not every green home can be considered high performance.

Light green means a builder focuses on relatively easy (yet important!) steps such as installing Energy Star rated windows, lights and appliances. While other builders go down a more rigorous path to insure the home is environmentally friendly, sustainable, more efficient, more durable, and provides better indoor air quality. And they often work with homeowners for certifications during the building process so the green aspects of the home are documents and verified through a third-party that can help preserve resale value.

If you are in the market for a green, or high performance, home builder we recommend asking the following questions so you can gain some insight into a builder’s definition of green –

1) What green home building (high performance home builder) specifications are they building to meet? Ask for specifics – including any energy efficiency certifications that your home may be eligible for – and have them thoroughly explain their answer.

2) Does the builder have experience building Verified Green Homes? Verification through National Association of Home Builders, Energy Star or United States Green Building Council means a home meets strict standards for green home construction. In addition to the NAHB, Energy Star and USGBC programs, there are many successful local and state green building programs. GBI-St. Louis, Built Green Colorado and Build Green Utah are a few examples.

3) What references can they provide you? Past clients who have completed a green home project are generally among the first to sing the praises of their builder. They enjoy lower monthly utility bills and many see rewarding gains in their home value. Be certain to ask for a few referrals – and to ask those referrals if they’d share their specific experience with you.

4) Does the builder have extended education or a designation in green building? The National Association of Home Builders offers a Certified Green Professional designation, while the United States Green Building Council offers LEED accreditation. Builders must commit to several hours of continuing education and pass competency tests to earn these designations/accreditations.

Asking the right questions will help you find the right builder that fits your definition of green, and will help ensure that your home is performing at the level that you hope for.

If you’re looking to build a green home in St. Louis and the surrounding areas, we would love to speak with you. Hibbs Homes has a portfolio of energy efficient homes for your review available online and a list of past clients we’d be happy to share. In fact, we’d like you to Meet Fred – a recent client of ours who built an energy efficient home in Webster Groves, Missouri.

Bonus Green Home Infographic Resource

This green home building infographic from the National Association of Realtors takes a look at the green home features that recent home buyers and remodelers find most appealing. green home st louis green home builder infographic

It was created using data from the following reports:

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