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									                                                                                                   Built Green Washington

  Getting a Built Green™ Home
  Home buyers can get a BUILT GREEN home five ways:

        1. Find BUILT GREEN production or speculative builders. They often build all new homes to a
           minimum Star level and offer upgrade packages.
        2. Find a BUILT GREEN development. These provide both custom and spec (pre-built) home
           options. Development builders are required to meet a minimum Star level and may offer upgrades.
        3. Find a BUILT GREEN custom builder. Work with custom builders early in the process, along
           with your architect or theirs, to choose an appropriate site, or build a home that best suits your
           site and achieves your green goals. You can use the BUILT GREEN program in the early planning
           and design stages to define goals with your building team.
        4. Amend your new home’s design if you’re still in the design phase. If you have already
           secured a builder and are in the pre-construction phase, your builder could join the local Built
           Green™ program to begin incorporating green design techniques and materials into your home.
        5. Find a BUILT GREEN remodeler. Work with a remodeler to design and implement green
           renovations or additions to an existing home that you own or are buying.

  Several local Building Industry Associations
  (also called Home Builders Associations or
  Master Builders Associations) sponsor BUILT
  GREEN programs in Washington. Refer to
  the full list of BUILT GREEN programs and
  builder associations on the next page to find
  the nearest contact. BUILT GREEN is a
  voluntary program to certify homes that have
  met energy-efficient, healthy, resource
  efficient and other environmental criteria.
  BUILT GREEN programs were developed
  through a collaborative process with builders,
  government, environmental groups, and
  others to create a locally-relevant, market-                                                   The Puget Sound Energy Built Green Idea Home.
  based way to promote and recognize green building                                              Cutaways show the often hidden features that make a
  efforts.                                                                                       house ‘green’. Visit
                                                                                                 for more information. Graphic by Yutaka Sasaki, 2004.

  How Does BUILT GREEN Work?
  All BUILT GREEN programs offer a Checklist of Action Items. Builders and designers choose Action Items
  from this menu to apply in their home building and remodeling projects. Builders check off the
  environmental criteria that they implemented, and then submit the signed Checklist to the program for
  review to certify the house. Action items have different point values and the number of points determines if
  a home is certified as the one, two, three, four, or five ‘Star’ level. Higher levels require 3rd party
  verification, while programs award one to three Stars on the honor system based on the builder’s signature
  that they completed those items. Each regional BUILT GREEN program has its own Checklist. They are
  similar, but your builder needs to use the one for their local association where available. You can
  download Checklists for free at any BUILT GREEN program web site.

BUILT GREEN™ is a registered trademark of the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver, Colorado, used by the Washington State BUILT GREEN programs with permission.

                                                                                                                        Built Green™ - Ask for it and it will come.
                                                          Built Green Washington

How Do I Find a Builder Who Participates in BUILT GREEN?
Not all Building Industry Associations have a BUILT GREEN program at this time, but check their status
because new ones are in the works. Ask for or look on their web site to find a list of member builders.
For more information on green building and local BUILT GREEN programs, visit:
        BUILT GREEN Washington (
Additional leads for finding environmentally savvy builders include:
        ENERGY STAR® partner directory ( and
        Northwest EcoBuilding Guild Green Pages (

If you have referrals for builders from other homeowners or your own research, you can use the following
sheets to talk to builders who may not currently be active with a BUILT GREEN program to get a sense of
their experience with green building or their willingness to support your interest in going green. By getting
a new builder involved you may help make an even bigger impact on green home building than with just
your home!

Central Washington Home Builders Association               North Central Home Builders Association
(509) 454-4006,                              (509) 665-8195,
        Yakima, Kittitas, and Klickitat Counties           Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan Counties
BUILT GREEN of Jefferson County                            North Peninsula Building Association
(360) 379-8784,                   (360) 452-8160,
                                                           Clallam County
BUILT GREEN of King and Snohomish Counties
(425) 451-7920,                         Olympia Master Builders - BUILT GREEN
                                                           (360) 754-0912,
BUILT GREEN of Southwestern Washington
                                                           Thurston, Lewis, Mason, Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties
(360) 694-0933,
Clark County                                               San Juan Builders Association
                                                           (360) 376-8112
(360) 671-4247,                   Skagit-Island Counties Builders Association
                                                           (360) 757-6916,
Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities
(509) 735-2745,                              Spokane Home Builders Association
Walla Walla, Benton, Franklin, Columbia, Garfield          (509) 532-4990,
Counties, and Othello area in Grant County                 Spokane, Ferry, Whitman, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens
                                                           Counties and Moses Lake area of Grant County
(360) 479-5778,                          Tacoma-Pierce County BUILT GREEN
                                                           (253) 272-2112,
Lower Columbia Contractors Association
(360) 425-8820,
Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Skamania County

                                                                         Built Green™ - Ask for it and it will come.
                                                          Built Green Washington
Questions to Ask to Get a Green Home
Follow the Usual Guidelines for Selecting a Contractor.
    1. Ask for references and follow them up. Talk to past clients and visit, if possible.
    2. Check on their license, bonding and insurance. Call the local Better Business Bureau.
    3. Ask questions and listen not only for specific responses, but how well they listen to you and are
       able to communicate with you.

Ask Questions
Ask lots of questions. It tells the building industry that this is something homebuyers want, and it can help
you find the right builder to realize your green goals. This handout helps you ask questions and understand
what you want to be listening for in their response. You can also download a BUILT GREEN Checklist and
use that as a reference as well.

                   Listen to HOW contractors answer your questions as much as what they say.

 After the         Did they try to talk me out of wanting green features or did they seem receptive to
 interview,        exploring and evaluating options and trade-offs with me?
 ASK yourself
                   Were they able to give specific answers or vague assurances?

 ASK               Are you a Built Green™ member? Are you familiar with the program and its goals
                   and techniques? Would you be willing to join and certify my home?
 Listen For        Yes! (or “no, but I’m willing to learn more about it and work with you on that”)
 ASK               What measures do you take to protect the site and water during and after
 Listen For                 Try to preserve and protect mature trees by keeping work outside of the
                            root zone.
                            Stockpile topsoil and protect from erosion.
                            Use of pervious or permeable paving that allows water to filter through and
                            soak in to the ground.
                            Use “PIN” or other alternative foundation system that doesn’t require
                            excavation and preserves water’s ability to soak in and flow under ground.
                            Amend the soil with compost to a depth of 8-10 inches.
                            Landscape with native and/or drought-tolerant species. Limit the use of
                            turf and plant grass species or mixes designed for low maintenance, low
                            water, and for the local climate.
                            Design and build rain gardens to help infiltrate water, recharge
                            groundwater and create and attractive landscape feature.
                            Careful steps to prevent erosions and run off.
                            Careful use and disposal of waste materials like concrete and paint.

                                                                       Built Green™ - Ask for it and it will come.
                                                           Built Green Washington

 ASK               What measures do you take to improve energy efficiency? Will you build an
                   ENERGY STAR® qualified home?
 Listen For                 Orient the home to make the best use of solar gain in winter with
                            appropriate shading in summer.
                            Do careful and thorough air sealing;
                            Are familiar with air-tight construction methods, such as SIPS (Structural
                            Insulated Panels) or ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms)
                            Insulate headers (the space above doors and windows is often wood rather
                            than insulation)
                            Go beyond Washington State Energy Code on insulation levels
                            Locate duct work (for furnace systems) inside of conditioned space OR
                            Carefully seal ducts with low-toxic mastic or aerosol sealant and insulate
                            them to R-11
                            Install ENERGY STAR® heating and cooling equipment
                            Performance test ducts (check for leaks, is required for ENERGY STAR®
                            Install high efficiency water heater; OR on-demand hot water system
                            Install programmable thermostats
                            Furnace has a ventilation system AND a fan-only switch
                            If no furnace, install a whole house ventilation system (ideally with heat
                            recovery system).
                            Install ENERGY STAR® appliance and lighting
                            Install skylights or light tubes
                            Install windows with a U-factor of 0.35 (0.45 for skylights)

 There are many other specific energy measures contractors might employ. In general, listen for
 indications that they are familiar with the ENERGY STAR® program, which includes third-party
 verification and testing. OR that they go beyond code on air sealing, insulation, equipment efficiency.
 Also see that they use design and construction techniques to improve performance and reduce the
 need for mechanical heating, cooling, and ventilation.

Visit for more information on home energy efficiency.

                                                                       Built Green™ - Ask for it and it will come.
                                                     Built Green Washington

ASK          What measures do you take in design and construction to ensure good air quality?
Listen For          Use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) products for paint, grout, adhesive,
                    Keep building materials dry to avoid moisture problems, which can lead to
                    mold in the building later.
                    Protect ducts and furnace during construction and carefully clean after to
                    remove dust.
                    Offer a wide range of flooring options and alternatives to carpet, which collects
                    dust and allergens.
                    Where we install carpet we can help source low VOC carpet and install with
                    tack strip rather than glue.
                    Source urea formaldehyde free particleboard and other composite materials
                    (phenol formaldehyde, often found in exterior grade plywood is not as harmful
                    or long lasting).
                    Recommend detached garage or carefully seal it.
                    Design to make sure water does not enter the building shell by:
                        a. carefully sealing of cracks, joints, crawlspace, etc.
                        b. using barriers under the slab, in the crawlspace, ,
                        c. carefully and correctly flashing (covering around window openings
                              before they are inserted and other ‘joints’ in the roof, walls, gables,
                    Install effective and efficient ventilation and filtration systems.
                    Seal off and vent combustion appliances (furnaces and water heaters that are
                    burning natural gas or propane) from the rest of the space.

ASK          What measures do you take to conserve natural resources through waste management
             practices or materials handling and selection?
Listen For          Implement construction waste management plan on site to reduce waste and
                    recycle what we produce.
                    Use reclaimed or reusable materials where appropriate.
                    Help you find and install materials that are:
                        a. Durable
                        b. Locally produced
                        c. Sustainably harvested wood products
                        d. Have recycled content in carpet, tile, drywall sheathing, siding, roofing,
                            insulation, composite decking, and elsewhere
                    Design space for and install recycling area in kitchen.

ASK          What information do you provide to the home buyer about the house?
Listen For   We provide a home owners manual with information on the major products and
             appliances so you know what the cleaning and maintenance requirements are, operating
             instructions. We also include the BUILT GREEN Checklist and certificate.

                                                                  Built Green™ - Ask for it and it will come.

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