Greenwashing is a problem in today’s world. No matter what product or service you’re looking for, you need to be on the lookout for phony badges and certificates that aren’t all they are cracked up to be.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, greenwashing refers to brands attempting to make themselves appear more eco-friendly and sustainable than they actually are. You may be surprised by some of the high-profile brands that have been accused of not being as environmentally friendly as marketed.
The reason for greenwashing is because companies perceived as being environmentally conscious have a competitive advantage over those that aren’t. Because we operate in the sphere of sustainable home building, it’s important to us that our clients and potential customers trust that we are an eco-friendly company.
That’s why we strive to get the best certifications so that people can believe us when we say that we are the real deal and that we actually care about creating sustainable homes — and that we aren’t just some greenwashing imposter.
Today, we’re focusing on one of the certifications — the Green Path Builder.
Why Eco-Friendly Home Building Matters
In case you haven’t noticed, the planet has been in a bit of trouble recently.
And homeowners are taking notice. Buyers respect companies that position themselves as standing for sustainability. Among 16 different green features, home buyers rank green certification fifth in importance, following only such vital elements as high-efficiency HVAC, Energy Star appliances, and water-saving measures.
The HERS Index Score
Today, energy codes are making new homes in Minnesota some of the most energy-efficient ever.
Also, manufacturers of materials and supplies for homes are creating eco-friendly products as well, as homeowners today are more concerned about high utility bills.
But, while the appearance of the home may look energy-efficient from the outside, finding a home that has been inspected by a RESNET energy rater will ensure that the home is truly top of the line when it comes to being sustainable.
The RESNET energy raters take a look “under the hood” of new homes. Once they are done, they input the data they find into modeling software that spits out a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index number. This number makes it much easier to decipher an energy-efficient home from one that isn’t, as you won’t need to look at data about other parts of the home — such as insulation and R values.
A good way to think about the HERS Index is that it is similar to a car’s miles per gallon. Just as car manufacturers use the MPG of their vehicles for marketing their cost-efficiency, HERS Index scores are now being used for advertising how sustainable a home is.
It’s all about making sure that potential home buyers are aware of what sort of home they are getting and whether or not it lives up to the energy-efficient standards they want.
MN Green Path
The Green Path program uses HERS as its standard for which home builders are qualified to be considered a Green Path Builder.
At the Energy Tested level, Green Path provides documentation – a Home Performance Report (HPR) – that displays the home’s HERS index. For home builders that go above and beyond, Green Path offers two different certifications levels — advanced and master.
BATC-Housing First Minnesota created Minnesota Green Path to help homebuyers make smart housing decisions. Like its Parade of Homes, BATC-Housing First Minnesota’s goal is to provide families with accurate information about new homes – from pricing to the location to style, and now energy efficiency and green features.
Designated Green Path Builder
As mentioned previously, we wanted to show our clients that we mean it when we say we’re a sustainable home builder.
So much so, we were committed to receiving the Designated Green Path Builder certificate from Green Path.
To be a Designated Green Path Builder, you must energy test a minimum of 75% of your new single-family homes and attend annual training on green building.
We believe that energy testing our homes is a great way to ensure that our homes are living up to your reputation.
But attending the annual training on the latest techniques and technology surrounding a sustainable building is another important part of being a Designated Green Path Builder.
While we do consider ourselves experts in eco-friendly homes, there is always the opportunity to learn and grow within the field and incorporate breakthroughs in sustainable home building into our own homes.
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