An Overview of Popular Green Certifications

In today’s residential construction landscape, there’s a growing popularity of sustainably-built homes. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports, “one third of single-family builders and multifamily builders/remodelers are developing 50 percent or more of their projects green.” And that percentage is growing.

As millennials become first-time homebuyers, builders are considering the generation’s housing priorities, including lowered carbon emissions and minimized utility costs. If you’ve recently purchased a home, you may have learned about the many green home certifications available during the purchasing process. Each certifying body seeks to uphold superior building science principles while benefiting both the environment and consumers.

Below, we define a few popular green certifications and detail some of the benefits.

ENERGY STAR®

This certification is for new construction homes that achieve comfort, efficiency and wellness through:

  1. A thermal enclosure system (proper insulation)
  2. A high-efficiency HVAC system that offers humidity control and quiet operation
  3. A water-management system that protects the exterior of your home
  4. Efficient, ENERGY STAR-certified lighting and appliances

Homes that achieve an ENERGY STAR certification are at least 10 percent more efficient than those built to standard code and offer homeowners utility savings.

EPA Indoor airPLUS

This voluntary program from the Environmental Protection Agency recognizes construction practices that promote high indoor air quality and minimize airborne pollutants. The following systems must be carefully considered for this certification to be given:

  • Moisture controls systems
  • HVAC systems
  • Combustion-venting systems
  • Radon-resistant construction
  • Low-emitting building materials

As clean, highly-filtered air is beneficial for everyone, EPA recommends this program to homebuilders who want to offer higher quality assurance to their customers and fewer callbacks.

Pearl Certification

One of the latest green certifications on the market is Pearl, which offers three tiers of certification: Pearl Silver, Pearl Gold or Pearl Platinum. Each scores your home’s construction and systems based on four categories:

  • Building shell (roof, walls and windows)
  • Heating and cooling
  • Baseload (water heaters, appliances, other electronics)
  • Home management (smart devices, dashboards that help you manage your home’s systems)

New homes built to satisfy modern energy-efficiency requirements are eligible for Pearl certification and typically have scores from 700 to 975 points. Pearl notes that homes built in the 80s and 90s will usually fall around 600 points and won’t qualify for certification. According to Pearl, the documented high performance of certified homes allows them to sell for 5 percent more than non-certified homes.

As you probably noticed, having a highly-efficient HVAC system is a common denominator for any of these certifications. HVAC accounts for a large percentage of a home’s energy usage, so why not ensure your system is sustainable? Our Zoned Comfort Solutions® can help any homeowner as they try to meet green criteria, or simply upgrade their home’s indoor air quality.

For more information on Zoned Comfort Solutions, visit www.MitsubishiComfort.com.