Online Resources for Green Building
 

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently launched two websites to spread the word about environmentally friendly building options and the organization’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes program. LEED for Homes provides criteria for the design, construction and operation of green homes. The Green Home Guide, www.greenhomeguide.org, is aimed at homeowners, homebuyers, renters and landlords, while Greenbuild365, www.greenbuild365.org, features resources for those in the building industry.

Recently, there’s been a huge upswing in the number of U.S. home owners interested in making significant changes to their homes to make them more energy efficient and to lower their impact on the environment. According to the USGBC, there are 350 LEED-certified homes in the United States, and more than 10,000 currently in the LEED process.

The Green Home Guide was designed with support from Newland Communities, a planned community developer. The site features detailed information about the USGBC’s LEED for homes rating system, including project profiles. After a two-year pilot program, the system was officially launched at the Greenbuild conference in Chicago in November.

The Green Home Guide site also offers checklists for green home renovations, new construction and retrofitting older homes.

“The Green Home Guide can help you find LEED Accredited Professional in your area, read news about the latest in green home technologies and products and find local government initiatives for implementing green strategies in your home,” says Doug Smeath, Manager of Consumer Web Site Marketing at USGBC.

The Greenbuild365 Web site, supported by United Technologies, focuses on green building education and research. Free and fee-based online educational courses are offered as well as resources for professionals to learn about LEED certification and how to put environmentally friendly construction and building techniques into practice.

“The goal behind Greenbuild 365 is to increase the reach of our educational sessions because, unfortunately, not everyone is able to attend Greenbuild,” says Smeath. “The Web site is also a great resource to students who don’t have the budget to travel to the show, but could benefit from the educational opportunities that are available at Greenbuild.”

Both sites mention several suggestions for keeping residential lighting applications energy efficient, including switching to compact fluorescent bulbs and using energy from solar power technology.

“Green homes protect the health of the people who live in them, have a reduced impact on their local and global environment, and save residents’ money through lower energy, water and health-care bills,” says Smeath.

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