Modular homes eligible for green cert

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25 - NAHBGreen verification is now available for modular homes, bringing the green building certification process to the industry that produces a fifth of the nation's housing stock.

The Modular Green Approved program was unveiled today by the National Association of Home Builders, the NAHB Building Systems Councils (BSC) and the NAHB Research Center.

Modular Green is a new service offered by the NAHB Research Center, which also administers the National Green Building Certification program for traditionally built homes -- the verification service launched in February 2008 as part of NAHBGreen.

"This is a very important step for the industry as more and more builders rely on systems-built construction methods," said NAHB President Sandy Dunn, a home builder in Point Pleasant, W. Va. "Modular construction helps builders reduce their overhead and go green with ease by assembling a significant portion of the home in the factory."

Research Center President Mike Luzier said thanks are due to the modular home manufacturers who piloted the certification process in preparation for the BSC's SHOWCASE event in Memphis last week, where members eagerly awaited news of the new program. "This shows not only their commitment to quality, but also their dedication to serving the growing list of consumers who are moving towards purchasing green homes," he said.

Because they are factory-built, modular homes can take advantage of resource efficiencies that make them less expensive to produce - and that involves less waste, it's green as well as more affordable, Dunn said.

Traditional homes are inspected onsite by NAHB Research Center-trained verifiers who examine the insulation, framing and other components of the building envelope -as well as the materials and products that help produce water efficiency, better indoor environmental quality and other hallmarks of green building.

While a modular or systems-built home is built to the same codes as a traditional, site-built home, the inspector can't see behind the walls when it arrives at the building site, making the verification process more difficult. By ensuring that the house and its components meet green requirements in the factory through this new program, the rest of the inspection can be conducted onsite.

"Consumers have become wary of vague, unverifiable green claims," said Bret Berneche, BSC Modular Council President and CEO of Cardinal Homes, a modular manufacturer in Wylliesburg, Va. "With this program, consumers can be comfortable knowing they are getting a product that is verified against a nationally recognized program, combined with a highly engineered building system made in a controlled environment that exceeds code requirements for conventional construction."

"We launched NAHBGreen to bring sustainable building to mainstream home buyers," Dunn said. "This is the next step, and as our members work to keep new homes affordable, it's a most welcome one."

The Modular Building Systems Council is part of the NAHB Building Systems Councils. The release of Modular Green is the first step the BSC and its members have taken to introduce in-plant green verification for the systems-built industry. The BSC looks to establish similar programs for its other councils: panelized, log, and concrete residential construction.

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