Builders’ Circle Blog: Green Comes in Many Colors

Jim Baker, B & G Drafting

I don’t know whose idea it was or why Mom thought it was cool, but she did. This idea could be classed in the same league as “bell bottoms”, and likewise, never improved with time. Oh yes, it was green, but not the “green” we refer to today. This green was only skin deep, and on the inside it was an energy hog. Sadly, the only “cool” thing about Mom’s ugly green refrigerator was that it kept milk cold, and once she owned it, it stayed around for years and years.

“Green” refrigerators today come in many colors, and all of them are more energy-efficient than that avocado monstrosity Mom had. Typically, the older the appliance, the more “juice” it drinks. ENERGY STAR refrigerators today use less than half the energy pre-1993 refrigerators used. Similar saving statistics are true for dishwashers, washing machines (plus water and water-heating savings), deep freezes, ceiling fans, TV’s and anything else you “plug in” that is not an ENERGY STAR qualified product.

The HBA Habitat house has all kinds of ENERGY STAR appliances inside. When the house is scored using the NAHB Scoring tool, several NAHB Green Score points are achieved by these appliances. The refrigerator is 5 points, the dishwasher is 2, the washing machine is 4 points, and ceiling fans 1 point, to name a few. And this does not include synergy points embedded elsewhere, like in the HERS Rating. This is almost 5% of the 222 points needed to achieve a Bronze rating.

The Habitat houses have proved that building green is easy, even in smaller and simpler home construction. In many cases we find that Green costs less. Most HBA contractors are building houses that qualify for the NAHB Green Certification. It is becoming well known that these type houses use less energy, are healthier and are more durable in the years to come.

We don’t make them like we used to… houses or refrigerators. So if your mom still has that old green one hiding out in the garage somewhere, get her a new one! With the energy savings of new ENERGY STAR appliances it is cheaper to buy the new one. The ENERGY STAR fridge calculator says so!

Google Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator – ENERGY STAR or go to

In less than 5 years a new ENERGY STAR refrigerator can pay for itself in savings, and the only green you’ll notice will be in your pocket. By the way, use this savings to keep the refrigerator stocked, as an empty one uses more electricity than a full one.

Jim D. Baker, B & G Drafting—HERS Rater and NAHB Verifier with this project.

In January 2011, the HBA of Greater Springfield announced it would partner with Habitat for Humanity of Springfield to build the first two homes in Habitat’s new Builders Circle development. The homes will be certified to the National Green Building Standard and their construction will serve as a demonstration of flexible and affordable methods by which construction professionals can build green in a residential setting.
Jim Baker (B&G Drafting) is a Certified Green Professional (CGP), a HERS Rater, and a certified NAHB Green Building Verifier.  He also helped design these and other green-built homes throughout the area. This Builders Circle Project Blog helps keep HBA industry professionals and curious consumers up to date on the latest green building features being incorporated into the project. The blog also provides updates on the project’s latest progress and upcoming needs. Those who would like to help with the project are encouraged to leave their comments at the end of blog posts, or on the project’s facebook page, to offer your assistance.

Jim D. Baker, B and G Drafting – HERS Rater and NAHB Verifier on this project.