2030 Palette Intro Image

2030 Palette Intro Image

Residential Retrofit Options for Sustainable-Green Projects:

If you are thinking of adding some innovative products or ideas into your residential retrofit project then a very good free resource to help you get started is the "2030 Palette" that contains an ever-growing catalog of innovative designs from around the world. These design examples typically are 'climate-specific', meaning that they are specialized to work in a particular geographic region under the climate conditions expected for that part of the world. Also, most of the examples utilize materials that are commonly available in that particular locale whether it be stone, brick, mud, wood, metal or other. To learn more about the 2030 Palette you can go to: http://2030palette.org/about

Once you get registered with the 2030 Palette you can drill down from country to region to city to neighborhood to building types to locate the information you require. Since this website is a 'work in progress' you might not find what you are looking for upon your first visit but it could be added at a later date so a periodic visit to this resource is recommended. There are also examples of multi-family buildings, mixed-use developments and other projects that combine residential with commercial designs.

Another valuable online resource is the "Green Home Guide" offered by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). You are encouraged to ask questions pertaining to your project and a registered professional will respond. There is no fee associated with using this website and new inquiries are always welcome. There is a handy list of the most frequently asked topics so that you can quickly research your particular areas of interest. Please note that this is not the same program as the USGBC LEED® for Homes program, which is focused on new home construction. There are certain exceptions that might allow a retrofit under the LEED® for Homes program but you will have to perform an entire retrofit of the residence, otherwise known as a 'gut rehab' so some detailed research on your part will likely be necessary.

Want more? You may be interested in looking into the National Home Builders Association (NAHB) "Green Building Standard" for help. (See Amazon inset box)The NAHB Green Building Standard program can be used for new and existing residential buildings and you can find out how well your potential new home or retrofit project could score by using the NGBS Green Scoring Tool.

To obtain actual certification of your residential project differs under these two programs in substantial ways and how these programs operate will be explained in another section. Additional information regarding the NAHB Green Building Standard can be found at their website: http://www.nahb.org/en/research/nahb-priorities/green-building-remodeling-and-development.aspx

IMPORTANT NOTE: Obtaining the desired certification under either the USGBC LEED for Homes program or the NAHB NGBS Green Building Standard program requires the use of an independent third (3rd) party who will inspect and verify if the residence meets the design specifications and program requirements. In the case of the LEED-H program the independent verifier is known as a "Green Rater".

How about another option? The Dept. of Energy (DOE) has a national program that incorporates green/sustainable features and technologies with other efficient programs to create a holistic approach to residential green named the "DOE Building America Builder's Challenge (BABC)" The following information is taken directly from the DOE BABC website:

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Building America program has been a source of innovations in residential building energy performance, durability, quality, affordability, and comfort for 20 years. This world-class research program partners with industry (including many of the top U.S. home builders) to bring cutting-edge innovations and resources to market.

For example, the Solution Center provides expert building science information for building professionals looking to gain a competitive advantage by delivering high performance homes. At Building America meetings, researchers and industry partners can gather to generate new ideas for improving energy efficiency of homes. And, Building America research teams and DOE national laboratories offer the building industry specialized expertise and new insights from the latest research projects.

Next is the "Enterprise Green Communities" program that has now been updated to a 2015 version. This program looks at the development of residential communities and contains a plethora of information about green design, natural landscaping and much more. You can download the 2015 Green Criteria by visiting their website at: http://www.enterprisecommunity.com/solutions-and-innovation/enterprise-green-communities/criteria

Not to be left out, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a Green Communities "Green Kit", which is a five-step environmental planning framework that leads you to a greener, sustainable future.

Additional updated information will become available in the FAQ section of this website.