Builders adopt green guidelines
After two years of monthly meetings with area homebuilders, the Builders Association of Northern Nevada unveiled the Sierra Green rating system, designed to encourage green building practices that dovetail with northern Nevada’s climate.
“We wanted to get ahead of it before it became mandatory requirements by government,” says Mike Dillon, executive director. The guidelines apply to residential and multi-family projects.
“Water policy is unique to northern Nevada,” he says. “We worked with TMWA (Truckee Meadows Water Authority) to go above and beyond, especially regarding landscape designs.”
The Builders Association of Western Nevada and University of Nevada, Reno, also worked on the guidelines.
Other green building programs such as LEED have made some concepts such as grading restraint and deliberate placement of a house on a lot widely known, says Dillon.
But other concepts such as alternatives to curbs and gutters along with use of surfaces that retain water runoff can conflict with municipal codes.
BANN presented a two-day workshop on the Sierra Green guidelines, inviting not just builders, but also planners to get educated on green practices. That may translate to flexibility in codes, he says.
“We’re bringing green building into mainstream home construction,” says Dillon. “Builders can do a tremendous amount to make homes more environmentally friendly, without pricing them out of the reach of the average homebuyer.
“A third-party verifier, licensed in this program, will determine if a project qualifies,” says Dillon. A Home Energy Rating System inspector will sign off. (The inspectors are certified by the California Energy Commission to rate homes’ energy efficiency.)
Consumers would come to value a Sierra Green rating, says Dillon, adding that BANN plans to initiate discussion with local governments in hopes they will provide economic incentives to green builders.
“If you’re going to produce roughly 80,000 ounces (of gold) a year at $800 an ounce … and gold is at $1,900 or $2,000 per ounce, that’s going to create a tremendous amount of cash flow.”