Regularly updated information about green & sustainable homes, design and construction based on our experience planning, building and living in our green home.


    1. Welcome To and About Our Green Voice of Experience

    2. Understanding the Terms Green & Sustainable as they
    relate to Green Homes, Part One

    3. Understanding the Terms Green & Sustainable, Part Two.
    Reprint from "What Is Green" essay found on the website of Greenable Building Supply and Design located in Philadelphia, PA.

    4. Setting the Standards: Who Decides What Makes a Home Green, Part Three.
    The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Programs.

    5. Setting the Standards: Who Decides What Makes A Home Green, Part Four.
    Other Home Designation Programs: Where Did They Come From.

    6. Green Homes: Impact Upon Real Estate Market Mind-boggling.

    7. A Sampling of Green Homebuilding Programs Across The Nation.
    A list of 42 local and regional programs with links

    8. TGA:  The Green Aesthetic

    9. Where It's Greener - reprint of article by Tiffany Meyers


1. Welcome To and About Our Green Voice of Experience.

The intent of our Green Voice of Experience is to introduce, educate, and pass along information about green and sustainable homes based upon our experience learning about, planning, building and living in our U.S. Green Building Council LEED Silver and Energy Star Qualified Home. Green homes are changing the residential landscape across the nation as they improve the quality of life for their occupants, the communities they exist in, and for mankind as they serve to conserve precious natural resources. Our content will be presented in an organized manner similar to our book as it intends to introduce and educate. The Green Voice encourages feedback. At the end of each article, we have provided a link to send comments or ask questions pertinent to the article presented. The Green Voice is not a Blog and does not provide for participants to post comments and replies. However, we do host an Amazon Blog where comments and feedback may be posted. In both venues, should we not have the answers to questions, we will do our best to provide our readers with the resources who do.

If you have a comment or question, please e-mail us.


2. Understanding the Terms Green & Sustainable as they relate to Green Homes: Part One

There are several issues that need be understood in defining precisely what green and sustainable homes are. We will address these issues in our series of informative posts.

The terms green and sustainable are the contemporary catch-phrases that represent a renewed approach to how man can interact with respect for the planet that sustains us in every aspect of life. As these terms have become so popular, we're going to take a mini-series approach to defining them and to describing just what green and sustainable homes are. We'll start by explaining the terms in the context of identifying green and sustainable products, and as homebuilding causes us to look at the green and sustainable parts that make up a green home, we'll use the homebuilding model once again to make our point. In Part Two, we will present a very well written and concise definition of green as it appears on the website of Greenable, a leading resource for green building and design located in Philadelphia, PA. Part Three will address just who sets the standards in deciding what a green home is, and what it isn't.

Let's examine these descriptors and apply them to homebuilding.

The word sustain is defined as "to continue in existence," and the word green is symbolic of life. In the interest of early learning, let's agree to associate the word green with products and the word sustainable with community.

When addressing sustainable development, community takes the forefront, and the social, economic, and environmental impacts that development has on the community are all prioritized with equal importance. Understanding green development, on the other hand, takes into consideration the environment and how it is affected first and foremost, taking precedence over the social and economic implications it implies.

While the concepts of green and sustainability vary in meaning from person to person and trade to trade, the most recognized programs that sets the benchmark for green and sustainable construction are the USGBC's LEED certification programs. We'll address the USGBC and it's LEED programs in Part Three. The terms green and sustainable have become trendy to the point that understanding them has become confusing, particularly when ads promoting items like green checking accounts and insurance policies are prevalent in the media on a daily basis. All things considered, the terms can best be understood when viewed in tandem and together.

Singly, green has more to do with actual products, while sustainable addresses community. By combining the two, and including some of LEED's criteria, we can begin to describe this new mode of homebuilding that is improving the quality of life for both the inhabitants of our planet and the earth itself.

Green building products are often products of the natural world, such as responsibly harvested lumber, stone, and marble. Included here are also recycled and reclaimed products (or at least products comprised in part of these items) that are intended to last while doing no harm to man and the environment. Insulation, coatings, glues, and finishes contain no or low VOCs, or toxic off-gases, and promote healthier indoor environments. Homes often include fresh-air systems and increased natural day lighting. Electric lighting incorporates low voltage lighting, and compact florescent, halogen, and LED lighting (all of which have been included in our home). Overall energy efficiency, which includes electric, fossil fuel, natural gas, as well as newer alternative solar and geothermal resources function at least 35% more efficiently than traditional systems do. And resourceful use of water by utilizing low-flow fixtures, rainwater harvesting, and the use of cisterns and gray water for utilitarian purposes are all features found in many green and sustainable homes being built today.

Green and sustainable homebuilding pays particular attention to minimizing disturbing the building site itself, and maintains the natural landscape with native, indigenous plantings. It sustains the local community by supporting the local economy with the use of local products and local labor. After all, it wouldn't make sense to use a green product that had to be trucked from a thousand miles away, as the carbon emissions that the trucking would cause would nullify the positive attributes of the product. By buying local products and utlilizing local labor, we are able to support our local communities, minimize the use of fossil fuels for transportation, and honor the natural landscape from introducing foreign strains of plant life that can become detrimental to our immediate surrounds.

Most importantly, the above mentioned features found in green and sustainable homebuilding are the results of intentional action steps that when planned for and executed produce significant benefits for mankind and the planet.

If you have a comment or question, please e-mail us.


3. Understanding the Terms Green & Sustainable: Part Two

Reprint from "What Is Green" essay found on the website of Greenable Building Supply and Design located in Philadelphia, PA.

You've been seeing this word plastered everywhere. You've been hearing it on TV. Reading about it in magazines and newspapers. You've noticed that everywhere you go, the word follows you: Subway Stations. Billboards. Websites. Conversations. On and on. No, it's not a trend, although it has all the characteristics. The world is changing. People are recognizing the problems and stepping up. Green is a small word with meaning unrivaled in importance."

"Green is synonymous with sustainability.
By definition, sustainability is the ability to provide for the needs of the world's current population without damaging the ability of future generations to provide for themselves. When a product, process, or lifestyle is sustainable it exists within this criteria without negative environmental effects or impossibly high costs to anyone involved."

"Green can mean many different things to many different people. For some, it means simply "environmentally friendly," no matter how vaguely that phrase can be used. At Greenable though, 'green' points to a deeper set of beliefs."

"By designing, building, and living green, we work to reduce our negative impact on the planet in small everyday ways, by leaps and bounds, or somewhere in between. Either way, it means treating all resources as precious; living with nature instead of trying to subdue it. It means being energy efficient, lessening our use of petroleum products, and conserving water. Most of all, it is a mindful way of existing, trying to make every choice a better, more responsible, one."

"Achieving a truly sustainable lifestyle is a gradual process, a series of little steps. And even the smallest changes make a difference."

If you have a comment or question, please e-mail us.


4. Setting the Standards: Who Decides What Makes a Home Green
Part Three:
The U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design Programs.

As previously mentioned, you can't pick up a newspaper or magazine today without reading about "something" green. While some professionals feel the term green has been commercialized (green checking accounts, green mortgages, etc.) to the point of ridiculous, we believe that raising the level of awareness is more important for the greater good. However, the liberal usage of the word does come with challenges.

The real dilemma is found in the simple question "What is a green home?"

For now, and for most Americans, the answer depends on who you ask. During the past several years, the marketplace has become deluged with energy saving products; Low E glass windows, high efficiency heat and cooling systems, environmentally friendly insulation, and reclaimed and recycled building materials not to mention solar panels, windmills, and geothermal heat and cooling technology. Indeed, countless wonderful, innovative products are now contributing to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels, lower our costs of living, and helping conserve and protect the planet and its’ natural resources every day.

With the advent of these products, systems, and technologies, and in the interest of energy efficiency, reducing waste and recycling, and protecting and preserving our natural resources, the term "green home" was born.

Does the inclusion of some of these products and systems during new construction or remodeling make a house green? You'll have to check-out Part Four to hear our answer.

At this point in learning about what green homes are, one specific bit of information needs be emphasized. Green homes are all about choices. Personal choices. When we were first asked what we knew about green & sustainable homes, we replied "Well, we want to explore using solar panels and geothermal heat." Well, our LEED Silver home has neither solar panels nor geothermal heating or cooling, as these were just two product/system choices out of many others that we could choose from in meeting our energy goals. In a future post we'll get into the subject in more detail and how these choices are selected. For now, let's get back to setting the standards and understanding what makes a home green.

Collectively, many of the leading minds including architects, engineers, scientists, builders, and academicians, assembled in many organizations, began addressing the realities and challenges facing the planet. They debated, long story short, just which attributes would be most beneficial and best serve the greater good in terms of promoting energy efficiencies, reversing global warming, and protecting and conserving our natural resources. And as buildings (including every type from factories to homes) represent the core source of our present dilemma, the idea of setting a standard for energy efficient and environmentally friendly construction that everyone could adhere to soon became the universal goal of these think-tanks.

Out of these brain-trusts, one group rose to the top as far recognition, respect, and methodology; the United States Green Building Council. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is the nation's leading trade organization with over 14,000 member organizations in its ranks that promote sustainability in building design, construction, and operation. It's certified rating system known as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) sets the criteria for defining what it deems green and sustainable when it comes to architecture and building. When a building meets a minimum score accumulating enough of the criteria as measured in points, it is certified as green and sustainable under the LEED for Homes program.

LEED for Homes is the benchmark upon which sixty-nine other programs defining green and sustainable areas of construction and design are based. It is important to understand that these other programs, while environmentally responsible, all use LEED as the benchmark from which they were evolved. We decided that if we were going to build green, we would conform to the leading program in the nation, and that is exactly what we did.

The LEED for Homes program certifies green homes based on six sets of criteria: energy and atmosphere, water usage, sustainable sites, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and location and linkages. Additional consideration is given for extraordinary innovation. The LEED for Homes Rating System provides a tool for recognizing homes that are designed and built to be energy and resource efficient, durable, less costly to maintain, and healthy for their occupants. For a home to become certified, projects must meet all prerequisites and achieve a minimum number of points within the six sets of criteria (as stated above) and also homeowner awareness. The number of points the home earns determines the level of LEED Certification the project receives.

LEED for Homes certifications are rated by individuals known as LEED for Homes Providers; representatives of local independent engineering companies trained and sanctioned by the USGBC but who are independent and apart from LEED organizations, with demonstrated expertise in their region's market. Costs for certification are dependent upon the size of the home, the progressive rating pursued (i.e., Certified, Silver, Gold, Platinum), and other factors. LEED certification fees can range from $500 to $5,000.

The benefits of a LEED certified home include:

  • economic benefits such as lower energy and water bills
  • environmental benefits like reduced greenhouse emissions
  • quality of life benefits like improved comfort and less maintenance
  • health benefits such as reduced exposure to mold, mildew, and other indoor toxins
  • third-party verification that a home has been inspected, performance tested, and certified to meet LEED green building criteria.

LEED for Homes is the only national home rating system that clearly defines and establishes benchmarks for green homes in their entirety. It can be applied anywhere in the United States. It awards designations based upon conforming to the set criteria by meeting an all-encompassing, stringent set of guidelines. The USGBC has several other LEED programs. While LEED programs for commercial buildings have been active for several years now, the LEED for Homes program was officially enacted in early 2008. Test and pilot LEED for Homes projects sponsored by the USGBC have been occurring since 2005. However, the program in its current, official incarnation was finally declared "officially launched and implemented" in February 2008.

As the terms and concepts of green and sustainable mean different things to different people, we selected the criteria earmarked by the United States Green Building Council's LEED For Homes certification program to define a common green and sustainable language and vision for our homebuilding project. There were other reasons too, important reasons, or selecting LEED which we will address in subsequent posts.

If you have a comment or question, please e-mail us.


5. Setting the Standards: Who Decides What Makes A Home Green
Part Four:
Other Home Designation Programs: Where Did They Come From

In a previous post, we mentioned 69 other green home designated programs now exist. I got that info from a Mcgraw Hill website some time back, and actually, by this time, hundreds of programs are being marketed by builders tied to new, energy efficient homes they have built and are attempting to sell. We need to put these programs into context, so bare with me... I'm getting to it.

The most important ingredient in the LEED For Homes program is that it is a program which relies on independent THIRD PARTY VERIFICATION that everything that was represented in the architectural and construction plans was actually built according to spec. This protects the homeowner better than any other means on the market, and protects the integrity of the program itself.

Why is this important?
Within a ten mile radius of our home, there are two new home development projects under construction that are marketing themselves under banners that read "A Solar Living Home Development" and "U.S. E.E. H." (U.S. Energy Efficient Home, a national standard). Both developers are probably building wonderful homes to specs that follow someone's plan for energy efficiency and conservancy.

However, while both projects intend to deliver what they claim, who is to say that they really will perform as intended? With spec housing, the proof is left in the hands of the builder.

Without independent THIRD PARTY VERIFICATION, consumers run the risk of relying solely on the word of their homebuilder as to the degree of green attributes a home includes and how it performs.

This is not to say that all green homes need be identified with green home programs. Our creative professional team planned and built a home nearby with far more green attributes than our LEED Silver and Energy Star Qualified Home has and does not have any association with any green designation program. People who are in the know or who have the money to hire the best need not have to meet the requirements dictated by the LEED For Homes or other green home program criteria. But most of us do not have the knowledge or budget to do things this way.

There are two other leading green home programs that rely on THIRD PARTY VERIFICATION protecting consumers when it comes to green homes. These are Energy Star Qualified Homes, which deals primarily with the electrical, lighting, and appliance attributes of a home, and the National Homebuilders Association Green Home Program, which is similar to the LEED For Homes program. But as LEED already includes these areas and in even more detail, why would there be a need for other programs?

Here's why.

The USGBC is the preeminent, undisputed leading entity in setting the standards for green homes. Being so, they have set the standards exceedingly high. They had to if they were to make a real difference in meeting the challenges the planet faces. Simply put, their standards are often difficult to meet, and can be costly as well. The National Homebuilders Association balked at the added expenses and at what they felt was overkill in many areas required for LEED certification, and have developed their own criteria and designated program for building and labeling green homes.

The truth is, many folks who desire to build a LEED certified home stand a good chance of being shut-out from the beginning. The LEED program prefers urban locations, brown-field locations, and locations that have public transportation, water and sewer. They are not going to allow pristine farmland to be developed with their blessing or seal of approval. ALL of the green home programs are works in progress, continuously evolving with their criteria being modified as this new way of responsible building emerges. The USGBC goes back and forth on calculating "carbon footprints" (the amount of fossil fuel that a home/family uses as produced by home and lifestyle) and has even looked at adding the type of cars a family has in determining inclusion in their program. Again, they have to. They are charged with the responsibility of setting the standard that the nation is placing it’s future upon. LEED homes favor smaller homes, and make it increasingly more difficult to acquire points the larger the home is.

Here are a few examples of LEED criteria that the NAHB felt to be overkill. Fireplaces - the USGBC frowns on fireplaces and identifies them as leading heat-loss components. In our home, we had to have custom, airtight doors that passed a blower door test. Another example of added expense that the NAHB felt unnecessary - LEED homes need to install Radon systems as a preventative measure to ensure indoor air quality. And the amount of paperwork and calculations pertaining to storm-water management, air quality and other factors that the LEED programs require owners to submit (actually, their sustainable engineers to submit) were items they felt were unnecessary expenses being placed on homeowners.

To the best of our knowledge, the three programs mentioned thus far; LEED For Homes, Energy Star Qualified Homes, and NAHB Green Homes are the leaders and most credible national programs in America, with the USGBC's LEED For Homes program in a class of its own.

If you have a comment or question, please e-mail us.


6. Green Homes: Impact Upon Real Estate Market Mind-boggling

Yes, you read us correctly. Mind-boggling! Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary adjectives.

We've established that the USGBC's LEED For Homes program sets the standards for all of the other green home programs in the country. As of October, 2008, 1,048 LEED For Homes certified projects had been recorded to date on the USGBC's list of completed projects. However, approximately 1 million units were registered as "in the pipeline", or under construction, at that time. That's a lot of homes, particularly in the slowest homebuilding and house-selling period of time most of us have ever experienced.

It doesn't require a PHD to understand the impact green homes are about to make on the residential real estate market and indeed the world. The LEED programs were originally created to address commercial construction, and indeed LEED office buildings are outperforming traditional buildings in occupancy rates by leaps and bounds. LEED commercial programs now include certifications for remodeled building. LEED For Interior Design is another fairly new designation. LEED For Schools and LEED For Hospitals already have many projects under construction. In fact, 16 cities have now mandated all tax-dollar (governmental) construction be LEED certified. The standard is clearly changing the real estate landscape across the nation. It’s not a fad; it's for real and here to stay for all of our benefit.

Here's the way residential construction is adapting to green.

First, remember that the USGBC's LEED programs have set the standards that all other green home designation or certification programs are based upon. The National Association of Homebuilders, this country's largest residential trade association, has developed their own program because they felt that the USGBC's LEED For Homes program was too excessive. Their program is being promoted nationwide to bring consistency to the process of constructing green homes and to the final product, the homes they build. As the program and demand grows, more and more builders will participate. However, while the USGBC LEED and NAHB programs are the largest and most recognized authoritative bodies which sponsor green home building guidelines and programs, literally hundreds of others, including organizations, states, and home building companies are coming up with standards for green building as well.


The following copy is a Press Release by one such national organization called The Green Building Initiative;

Portland, Ore. (March 19, 2008)
Virginia and South Dakota recognize Green Building Initiative'sTM GREEN GLOBESTM System -- States Become Thirteenth and Fourteenth in U.S. to Formally Include Green Globes in Legislation --
Portland, Ore. (March 19, 2008) - Virginia and South Dakota recently became the thirteenth and fourteenth states in the United States to formally recognize the Green Building Initiative's (GBI) Green Globes environmental assessment and rating system in legislation.

In Virginia, to promote energy-efficient building practices, House Bill 239 and its companion Senate Bill 174 will create a separate class of real estate for tax purposes, beginning July 1, 2008, for buildings that meet one of the following criteria:
  • Exceed the energy efficiency standards prescribed in the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code by 30 percent;

  • Meet or exceed performance standards of the GBI's Green Globes system, the EarthCraft House program or the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program;

  • Qualify as an ENERGY STAR home

In South Dakota, Senate Bill 188 established high performance building design and construction standards for newly constructed or renovated state-owned buildings by requiring the majority of state buildings to meet or exceed the following criteria:
  • A two Globe rating using the GBI's Green Globes system;

  • A LEED silver rating; or

  • A comparable numeric rating under a sustainable building certification program recognized by the American National Standards Institute as an accredited standards developer.

"We applaud the states of Virginia and South Dakota for aggressively encouraging sustainable construction through these pieces of legislation," said Ward Hubbell, president of the GBI. "Decisions such as these, which give design and construction professionals multiple options for meeting the common goal of energy efficiency, will surely result in the increased adoption of sustainable construction practices."

Virginia and South Dakota join Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois, New Jersey and Wisconsin as states which have formally recognized Green Globes in green building legislation or regulation.

For more information about the Green Globes environmental assessment and rating system, or the GBI, visit www.thegbi.org.

ABOUT THE GREEN BUILDING INITIATIVE: The mission of the Green Building Initiative is to accelerate the adoption of building practices that result in energy-efficient, healthier and environmentally sustainable buildings by promoting credible and practical green building approaches. A not-for-profit education initiative, the GBI is supported by a broad cross section of organizations and individuals with an interest in residential and commercial construction. For more information on the Green Building Initiative, please visit www.thegbi.org.

Pretty serious stuff.

In addition to dozens of like-minded groups, many states are sponsoring green building programs with mandated criteria such as Built Green Colorado. But by far the largest number of green programs that have names and offer different levels of certification are those being touted by home building companies themselves. Toll Brothers has a program called Smart Growth Homes that has an established set of standards. Del Webb, Pulte, and others have adapted the GBP green home criteria, another association program popular in the west.

Clearly, there are now more green home programs nationwide than Carter has liver pills.

And the reason for this is, in our humble opinion, not yet as much about demand as it is about awareness. Green homes are clearly superior products. Green homes do not need to be significantly more expensive than conventional homes, and green homes provide too many real life benefits to ignore.

Make no mistake; the popularity of green homes is on the rise. You can't pick up a newspaper or magazine, or turn on the radio or TV without seeing, hearing, or reading about something green. Green homes, including manufacturing the parts they are made have, is a huge part of Barack Obama's 3 million new jobs agenda. We're in the wild wild west era of green home development, and yesteryear's gold-rush is today's green-rush. Architecturally, blueprints have become greenprints. And the marketing mavens are having a heyday shouting from the rooftops spreading the word.

Put as simply as we can, green home programs cannot help but have a significant impact in the residential real estate marketplace.

The Future of Green Home Designation Programs - A Green Beginnings Prediction

First, as confusing as the multitudes of green home programs are about to become for the average homeowner across America, in a nutshell, it's all good. That is, it's all good in the sense that the movement is (1.) bolstering awareness of green and sustainable practices that will benefit the greater good, and (2.) that regardless of how credible any program is, the standards for home building and remodeling can be expected to become much improved as far as conservation of our natural resources is concerned.

With this said, the natural order dictates that the strong will survive, and we find no reason to defy the laws of nature. While every organization behind a program strives for uniformity and conformity to well-intentioned standards, there are just too many programs out there to realistically expect that consumers will understand and accept them all, or that an overall consensus can be reached. Our prediction is that most of the individual builder, state, and regional programs that now exist will, in the next three to five years, consolidate and become absorbed by no more than a dozen or so of the most recognized leading green home programs. In the interest of the greater good: that is, simplicity, uniformity, mass recognition, and economics, strategic partnerships and alliances will be formed while most of the smaller and medium-sized programs will find it beneficial to align themselves under a handful of banners. We have already seen the USGBC modify some of their criteria in different areas of the country as they come to understand geographic and other legitimate differences. Presently, all of the green home programs are "works-in-progress" as the brightest minds in the industry are brought together to ultimately create a new code for the benefit of mankind and the planet.

Positive change is surely on the horizon.

If you have a comment or question, please e-mail us.


7. A Sampling of Green Homebuilding Programs Across The Nation

As we previously mentioned, the number of Green Homebuilding Programs (GBPs) that each have their own criteria are numerous and growing, we came across this partial list complete with links of 42 individual local and regional programs that the USGBC had compiled some time back.

Local and Regional Green Homebuilding Programs (GBPs) in the U.S. The programs listed are not endorsed by nor affiliated with the USGBC.

The links are provided for informational purposes only. Please contact the programs directly for information regarding their services and geographic coverage.

Note to program administrators:
Please contact homes@committees.usgbc.org to update the information on your program or to list your program if it is not shown. Thank you.

Alameda County Waste Management Program
San Leandro, CA
(510) 614-1699

Green Built, Inc.
1627 South Creyts Rd.
Lansing MI 48917
(877) 322-0801

Alliance for Green Development
Albuquerque, NM
(505) 269-2969

Green Homes NorthEast
Boston, MA
(617) 374-3740

Alliance for Environmental Sustainability
Grand Rapids, MI
(616) 241-5537

GreenHOME, Inc.
Washington, DC
(202) 544-5356

Arlington County Green Home Choice Program
Arlington, VA
(703) 228-4792

Green Home Program
Hudson Valley, NY
(800) 638-8556

Build It Green
Berkeley, CA

Green Home Program, New York City, NY
Building America Nationwide
(202) 586-9472

Green Home Program
Schenectady, NY
(518) 355-0055

Build San Antonio Green
San Antonio, TX
(210) 224-7278

Green Points Program
City of Boulder, CO
(303) 441-1964

Built Green Colorado
Denver, CO
(303) 778-1400

Hawaii Built Green
Honolulu, HI
(808) 847-4666 x210

Built Green King & Snohomish Co
King and Snohomish Counties, WA
(425) 460-8230

(928) 779-3071

Built Green Kitsap
Kitsap County, WA
(360) 479-5778

North Carolina Healthy Built
Homes Program
Raleigh, NC
(919) 513-0307

Built Green of SW WA
Clark County, WA
(360) 694-0933

NJ Green Homes
Trenton, NJ
(609) 292-3931

Build Green Program
Kansas City, MO
(816) 942-8800

Portland Green Rated
Portland, OR
(503) 823-7725

California Green Builder Program
Sacramento, CA
(916) 443-7933

San Jose Green Building
San Jose, CA
(408) 277-4111

California Living & Energy's Green Built Homes of America program
Ceres, CA and Lake Elsinore, CA
(800) 498-4110

Santa Barbara County Planning and Development
Santa Barbara County, CA

Earth Advantage Homes
Portland, OR
(888) 327-8433

Seventh Generation Building Guild
Corvallis, OR
(541) 757-2652

EarthCraft House
Atlanta, GA
(404) 872-3549

Memphis, TN
(901) 528-4748

Sustainable City Maryland
Florida Green Building Coalition
(239) 263-6819

Sustainable Design
Hennipin County, MN

Green Building Program
Frisco, TX
(972) 335-5555

Tacoma Built Green
Tacoma, Pierce County, WA
(253) 272-2112

Green Building Program
Austin, TX
(512) 505-3700

Vermont Builds Greener
(800) 893-1997

Green Building Program
Scottsdale, AZ
(480) 312-7080

Western North Carolina Green Building Council (WNCGBC)
Asheville, NC
(828) 232-5080

Green Building Program - Green Affordable Housing Initiative
(508) 870-0312

Wisconsin Environmental Initiative:  Green Built Home
Madison, WI
(608) 280-0360

If you have a comment or question, please e-mail us.


8. TGA:  The Green Aesthetic

We've "coined" a phrase and are using an acronym that really sums up our architect's vision and what our creative team achieved in utilizing the sustainable exterior and interior design elements of our home to evoke and promote awareness to green and sustainable design and homes, and to enhance the experience living in a green home.

The phrase pertaining to our teams' approach of intentionally evoking further awareness to green homes and sustainable design has been labeled TGA:  The Green Aesthetic.

TGA:  The Green Aesthetic defined:
"Beyond the smart, responsible and economical utility of green and sustainable elements within the home, an often overlooked element is The Green Aesthetic (TGA). The Green Aesthetic describes the many visual, spatial and tactile dimensions of the home that appear as part of the "green equation" and enhance the enjoyment and overall experience of sustainable living in harmony with the environment. TGA choices include all aspects of sustainable exterior and interior design and function and include building elements, materials and products not limited to color, texture, lighting, sound and other visual elements that enhance the awareness to the green and sustainable design. TGA enhances the sensory relationship between man, the green and sustainable structure, and the environment.

Green Beginnings the Home includes generous specificity with regard to how The Green Aesthetic was achieved. The "lodge" motif (timber frame) is one of many sound choices and is an easy fit for green and sustainable home building since the lodge traditionally utilizes natural materials, large windows with expansive views, local timbers and stone and brings outdoor living within the home.

GREEN BEGINNINGS: The Story of How We Built Our Green & Sustainable Home includes numerous examples that pertain to incorporating TGA into green homes, along with photographic details that illustrate how applying TGA can enhance anyone's green home environment.

If you have a comment or question, please e-mail us.


9. Where It's Greener - reprint of article by Tiffany Meyers

Which Cities in America are the greenest in terms of LEED

Where it's Greener
by Tiffany Meyers - Entrepreneur.com

Cities across the U.S. have at last realized the need to take action against global warming. Implementing some of the most innovative, far-ranging environmental programs and plans for residents and, in particular, business owners, the 10 cities featured here have earned themselves a rightful place on Entrepreneur's sustainability map.

Population:  594,210
LEED-Certified Buildings:  46
More Than 800:  Number of mayors who've pledged to meet or beat KyotoProtocol targets since 2005, when Seattle's mayor, Greg Nickels, launched the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.
Ecotuesday:  Eco-minded businesspeople meet on the fourth Tuesday of every month (http://www.ecotuesday.com).


Portland, Oregon
Population:  550,396
LEED-Certified Buildings:  47
Likes Bikes:  Portland was the first major U.S. city to earn a Platinum rating from the League of American Bicyclists.
Succession Planning:  With a $149,000 Coleman Foundation grant, The University of Portland teaches sustainable entrepreneurship, cultivating the next generation of ecologically responsible businesspeople.


San Francisco
Population:  764,976
LEED-Certified Buildings:  23
Solar-Incentive Program:  The nation's largest, providing up to $6,000 for residential installations and up to $10,000 for businesses.
Clean-Tech Open:  Entrepreneurs pitch their clean-tech business ideas here, competing to win a "Start-Up in a Box" prize package of $50,000 and donated business services (http://www.cleantechopen.com).


Population:  377,392
LEED-Certified Buildings:  2
Goal Set:  Reduce CO2 emissions from city operations 12 percent by 2012 and 20 percent by 2020.
Green Consulting Services:  are available to entrepreneurs at The Green Institute.


Los Angeles
Population:  3,834,340
LEED-Certified Buildings:  24
By 2010, 20 percent of Los Angeles' energy is expected to come from renewable resources.
Leaders of Green Economy:  They're waiting to meet you at Los Angeles' annual Opportunity Green Conference.


Population:  2,836,658
LEED-Certified Buildings:  48 (More Than Any Other North American City)
New Take On Futures Trading:  The Chicago Climate Exchange Is North America's Only Voluntary, Legally Binding Cap And Trade Program To Reduce Co2--The Future, Indeed.
The Green Exchange:  At its launch this year, this renovated factory aims to be the epicenter of green commerce, housing more than 100 green businesses (http://www.greenexchange.com).


Population:  599,351
LEED-Certified Buildings:  21
Bellyaching:  Heard from taxi stands across town when Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced that city cabs will be required to be fully hybrid by 2015.
Net Impact Boston:  Boston professionals join forces to promote social responsibility in their communities and businesses (http://www.netimpactboston.org).


New York City
Population:  8,274,527
LEED-Certified Buildings:  21
Goals Set:  Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 percent by 2030, plant 1 million trees, clean up "brownfields," upgrade the city's energy infrastructure for efficiency.
Environmental Entrepreneurs:  Known as E2, New York chapter members serve as the "voice of business" on the environment, advocating for green legislation.


Population:  1,449,634
LEED-Certified Buildings:  9
Greenlight:  Philadelphia was the first large U.S. city to replace traffic signals with LEDs, in 1999.

The City's Sustainable Business Network brings together green entrepreneurs committed to a socially, environmentally and financially sustainable economy.


Austin, Texas
Population:  743,074
LEED-Certified Buildings:  18
Goals Set:  Power city facilities with renewable energy by 2012 and require new single-family homes to be net-zero-energy capable by 2015.

SEEN, the Solar Energy Entrepreneurs Network, lets green entrepreneurs exchange ideas about solar innovation.


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