Builders Circle Blog: Thirty-Nine and Still Counting!

Jim Baker, B & G Drafting

Jack Bennie, the famous comic from years ago, always claimed to be 39 years old. Year after year he remained 39. I like the idea of not aging, but some things need to grow in number. We just received the official certification for the HBA-led Habitat for Humanity house in Builders’ Circle Subdivision from the National Association of Home Builders Research Center. When we add it to the other projects completed by local HBA contractors, we come up with 39 certified projects in the Springfield area.

We have come a long way in the last year. From “zero” Green-Certified houses to “39” is something to brag about. Just a few projects here and there and a handful of contractors have made this happen. I expect this number to grow to almost 60 by the end of the year, with the number of housing units expected to be finished. Thirty-nine houses from 5 or 6 contractors. Look at the impact they are having on the lives of the people who will live in these healthy and energy efficient homes, enjoying low, stable utility bills in comfort with great indoor air quality. Durable homes…sustainable for years to come.

Unlike Jack Bennie’s fiddling around with the truth, the HBA Habitat house had an actual score of 322 and received a Bronze rating. Only 222 points were needed to achieve Bronze. If you examine the specifications and techniques used, you will find almost nothing unusual. Many things were above code, but not out of line with standard HBA quality. The score of 300 on a national scale proves the Green qualities of this house. The other three Habitat houses scored around 250 to 260. Gifts of products, time and experience boosted the score of the HBA model. In fact, we were planning to take the HBA Habitat to Silver which requires a score of 400+. This would not have been difficult to do, but because of a time crunch to move the owners in before Christmas, some points were not achieved.

A few years ago “green” was not part of a home buyer’s motivation. But the 2008 crash, and high energy costs, have been a game changer. I find a large and growing percent of my clients designing new homes are expecting and demanding energy efficiency and green building practices.

The HBA of Greater Springfield has worked diligently to provide training resources for CGP Accreditation, and classes on NAHB Green Verifying. As an organization we are ready to meet the demand of the new emerging market. But unlike Jack’s never increasing age, we must increase the number of durable and highly efficient homes to meet the market’s new expectation. The buyer wants proof, not just Jack’s sleepy grin and obvious exaggeration. And proof can now be provided – certified proof.

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