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Green Building News

‘GreenPoint Rated’: A Green Label for California Homes

Build It Green has been advocating green homebuilding since 2003, and its GreenPoint Rated program for new and remodeled homes is designed to complement other rating systems

This Los Angeles house has been certified by Build It Green. Wick Architecture designed the house for the Jacobson family.
Image Credit: Wick Architecture
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This Los Angeles house has been certified by Build It Green. Wick Architecture designed the house for the Jacobson family.
Image Credit: Wick Architecture
Based in Oakland, Build It Green works with public and private organizations as well as industry professionals to advance green residential construction and remodeling in California.
Image Credit: Build It Green
Build It Green’s rating service, GreenPoint Rated, is available only in California, but is designed to be compatible with rating programs used nationally, as well as California Green Builder, whose purview also is limited to projects in the state. Build It Green also provides training for Building Performance Institute certification and offers a program designed to bring real estate professionals up to speed on green building performance, market demand, regulatory changes, the ratings programs, and rebates for energy efficiency upgrades. A comparision of verification fees, which do not include registration and certification fees, consulting fees, or HERS or Energy Star tests and verifications. (1) indicates utility rebate incentives are available, and (2) indicates that building to Energy Star standards is required for LEED for Homes certification.

With a relatively stringent building code already in place, California seems to have a running start in cultivating homeowner interest in green building and remodeling. But it still doesn’t hurt to further highlight the merits of energy-efficient homes, tout their environmental virtues, and, when projects are complete and their green features verified, certify the results in a way that homeowners can market to future buyers.

That is where Build It Green comes in. A nonprofit advocacy group and rating service for new and retrofitted residential projects in California, Build It Green helps promote green building initiatives in collaboration with private partners, builders, and local governments and other public agencies. It also provides consumer education programs and offers training in green building practices to industry professionals, many of whom become certified as raters in the organization’s GreenPoint Rated residential program.

A compatible system

According to Build It Green, which is based in Oakland and currently operates only in California, GreenPoint Rated is not designed to compete with national programs such as LEED for Homes, the National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building Program, the California Green Builder program, or Energy Star for Homes. Rather, GreenPoint Rated is intended to be compatible with all of them while it also can be used independently. (Several homes have been dual rated, through both LEED for Homes and GreenPoint Rated.)

GreenPoint Rated requirements for energy efficiency, site work, and resource conservation, for example, are less rigorous than those imposed by LEED for Homes, but GreenPoint Rated’s requirements for water efficiency are more rigorous than LEED’s and are comparable for renewable-energy features. So far, more than 8,000 residential units have been certified, and another 11,000 are under planning or construction, according to Build It Green.

Focus on training

Founded in 2003 as Bay Area Build It Green, the organization merged with another Bay Area group, the Green Resource Center, in 2005. Its membership topped 1,000 for the first time in 2009, although the housing downturn has pushed that number down into the 700s, says Janine Kubert, Build It Green’s director of marketing and communications.

However, interest in Build It Green training programs remains strong. So far, more than 7,000 people have participated in the programs, which include those aimed at GreenPoint Rated certification, developing expertise in green building principals and green home analysis, Building Performance Institute analyst training, and a four-hour course aimed at bringing real estate professionals up to speed on energy efficiency criteria, market demand, regulatory changes, the ratings programs, and rebate programs for energy efficiency upgrades.

Build It Green also trains contractors to deliver the types of upgrades highlighted in Energy Upgrade California, a one-stop-shopping online service designed to help homeowners plan energy efficiency retrofits and identify rebate programs and other incentives available in the state.


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