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Green Design Is an Investment in the Future

Posted on Aug 17, 2017 in:
  • Buy
  • Remodel
  • Seattle Times HomeWork
  • Homeowners
  • Built Green
  • Build

By Brenda Nunes, Nunes Group Realty

Q: I hear more and more about green homes and communities. Can you tell me why I should be interested?

A: Buying a house is the largest purchase most people ever make and homebuyers are looking for long-term value with their home. With the cost-saving combination of high energy and water efficiency, reduced waste, and a healthier indoor environment, green building offers a smart investment in the future. I like to use the term "future proofing."

Years ago, building green may have meant, to many people, only adding energy efficient appliances to a home. But today, new technologies and methods raise green building to new standards.

Today's buyer is looking for a quality home that will last a long time, protect the health of their families, enhance comfort and reduce the impact on our environment. Homebuyers want a smart-technology home with highly efficient energy and water systems, improved air quality, and to spend less time and money on maintenance and upkeep.

Green building certification programs help buyers identify homes that have been built to exceed code and mitigate their impact on the environment. Here in Washington, Built Green is a holistic, tiered certification that distinguishes green homes.

In Seattle, 58 percent of new single-family homes were certified Built Green in 2016. In total, more than 17,000 single-family homes, multifamily homes, remodels, and communities have been certified Built Green. Today, more builders are offering green homes with cost-efficient features and elements that enhance quality of life, and homebuyers recognize the benefit of these homes.

Built Green is a green home certification program of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. It was founded in 1999 in partnership with King County, Snohomish County, and other agencies in Washington state. The program's mission is "to serve as the driving force for environmentally sound design, construction and development practices in Washington's cities and communities."

Built Green members include architects, builders, developers, subcontractors, suppliers, lenders, and real estate agents working together to improve quality of life in King and Snohomish counties.

Built Green is a holistic certification program. In other words, homes certified as Built Green must meet standards in many environmental categories: site and water, energy efficiency, health and indoor air quality, and materials efficiency. All homes are verified by a third party and are rated 3-, 4-, 5- or Emerald Star. As such, Built Green helps buyers and renters find quality homes that offer the ability to guard the health of their families, as well as the environment.

The program also offers a structure for builders to certify their good work and get incentives for it. Many local municipalities and utilities use Built Green® certification as a basis for awarding builders with expedited permits, rebates, or greater density, knowing that these homes will provide community and environmental benefits beyond homes that are simply built to meet code.

Sustainable communities extend green building practices beyond the individual home to a neighborhood or community level and provide long-term value, helping residents combine and manage resources so that they can live well now and into the future.

Built Green offers a community certification, which indicates that homes in a community are interconnected through shared resources and also demonstrate high levels of stormwater management, water protection, and sustainable land use. The other certification types offered by Built Green are single-family/townhome, multifamily, remodel, and refit.


Brenda Nunes of Nunes Group Realty is a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. HomeWork is the group's weekly column. If you have a home improvement, remodeling, or residential homebuilding question you'd like answered by one of the MBA's more than 2,800 members, write to

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