The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) recently released a statement reflecting its commitment to environmentally responsible building and remodeling practices and outlining steps it is taking to encourage sustainable design efforts.
“The NKBA realizes the special importance that the kitchen and bath have in sustainable design, as each consumes more water and electricity and has a greater impact on health and safety than any other rooms in the home,” said 2008 NKBA president, Sara Ann Busby, CKD.
To realize a return on investment for practicing sustainability, the statement urges members to look for shared values between business and environmental initiatives.
“Green is to be earth friendly,” the document states. “Sustainability, in the context of the environment, is to make use of processes and materials that can be maintained, reused or recycled for an indefinite period in order to reduce and eliminate toxins while minimizing the negative impact on the environment,” it continues.
The NKBA intends to promote sustainability on a variety of fronts, including education and networking to share best practices; green practices, including recycling and energy and water conservation at its national headquarters and major conferences such as K/BIS; encouraging members to teleconference, carpool and use e-mail instead of paper mailing; educating clients on green choices; and promoting alliances with other associations to provide resources and opportunities to further green education.
Market Share Increasing
The green building boom isn’t just a new construction phenomenon. Consumers also want their remodeling projects green, according to research by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers.
“The only way to bring green into 120 million existing households is through remodeling,” says NAHB Remodelers chair Mike Nagel, CGR, CAPS, a remodeler from Chicago, in an association release.
“Americans spent over $230 billion in 2006 in home remodeling, with energy-efficient and sustainable products representing an increasing share of the market,” he says.
And the U.S. Green Building Council cites a 2007 McGraw-Hill report that shows a growing market for green home building and green renovation, even amid a general downturn in the housing market — and maybe even largely because of that downturn.
Many remodelers today say their clients are expressing more interest in options and upgrades that address indoor air quality and energy efficiency.
Natural lighting is one area that can save energy and contribute to a green home. Steve Alfaro, trade business development manager with Velux America, says that kitchens and bathrooms, always high on homeowner remodeling lists, are logical candidates for natural lighting and ventilation upgrades.
NAHB Applications Open
Applications for the 2009 NAHB National Green Building Awards are now being accepted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
The annual awards honor home builders, remodelers, home builders’ associations and other organizations for advancing green building through innovative design and construction techniques, educational programs and advocacy efforts.
Building and remodeling projects must have been started after June 2007 and substantially completed by December 2008 to be considered for an award. The entry deadline is Jan. 31, 2009.
Project entries can be scored to the green certification program of the applicant’s choice, but must also be scored to the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines — the rating system for NAHBGreen — to facilitate judging. NAHBGreen’s online scoring tool will generate checklists that can easily be saved to the submission disk. Information on the awards process is available at www.nahb.org/greenbuildingawards.
Owens Corning Sets Reduction Goal
Owens Corning, a manufacturer of glass fiber reinforcements and building materials systems, announced that it will reduce its total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent per unit of production from 2006 to 2012. Owens Corning says it will achieve the goal through a host of energy efficiency measures ranging from basic electrical equipment improvements to advanced glass melting technology and heat recovery. It will also reduce greenhouse emissions by implementing new blowing agent technology in its foam insulation manufacturing operations.