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Construction Science Education: Industry & Trade
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Student Chapters - National Association of Home Builders
Housed under the Residential Construction Academy and funded by National Association of Home Builder...


As green building science progresses, manufacturing improves, government regulations change and consumer demand grows, construction trade organizations are responding with improved technologies and techniques to make the most of new opportunities and promote them to their members. Almost each organization hosts conferences or events where members can receive updated industry information and training. Most provide special assistance to students and teachers. They may support student chapters, competitions, internships, or some other outreach to help advance their profession to those soon to enter the job market and to develop partnerships with educators, especially those involved in research and student-built homes. This subsection links to many of these trade organizations. Below are descriptions of several prominent national programs that share the common purpose of improving the overall housing stock of America.

American Lung Association Health House

The American Lung Association (ALA) Health House program is a reliable resource for consumers and builders wanting to learn how to build and maintain healthier homes. The American Lung Association Health House Builder Guidelines are the core of the program. Registered builders stand apart from their competitors because they have gone through an extensive training program and have built at least one home that passed ALA's independent inspections and testing. Developed and reviewed by some of the leading indoor air quality experts in the United States, the American Lung Association Health House Builder Guidelines are among the most stringent in the nation for building a healthier, more energy and resource efficient homes. The Guidelines are reviewed annually a technical committee.

Building America

Building America program is a private/public partnership that develops energy solutions for new and existing homes. The Building America project combines the knowledge and resources of industry leaders with the US Department of Energy's technical capabilities. Together, they act as a catalyst for change in the home-building industry.

Buildings use more than 40% of the energy consumed annually in the United States with half of that being used by homes. To help reduce that energy use, the Department of Energy (DOE) and its Building America partners conduct research to develop advanced building energy systems that make homes and communities much more energy-efficient. DOE and its partners design, build, and evaluate attractive, comfortable homes that increase performance with little or no increase in construction costs. DOE-sponsored systems integration research also helps to create homes that meet stringent requirements for reliability, durability, and ease of construction and maintenance. Government-industry teams provide the technical support needed to implement key research results, as demonstrated in more than 25,000 homes across the nation. In addition to increasing energy efficiency, ongoing research focuses on integrating onsite power systems, including renewable energy technologies. Onsite systems can produce as much energy as the building uses, resulting in zero net energy use.

Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings - CARB

The Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings (CARB), is a team of designers, builders, product manufacturers, utilities, testing agencies, insurance companies, and others. CARB's mission under the US Department of Energy (DOE) Building America program is to apply systems engineering to construct technically advanced energy-efficient homes. As one of the DOE Building America teams, CARB has produced houses all across the United States. It publishes a tremendous amount of information about its findings and distributes it free of charge for the asking.

Energy and Environmental Building Association - EEBA

The Energy and Environmental Building Association (EEBA) promotes the awareness, education and development of energy efficient, environmentally responsible buildings and communities. The membership is diverse. It includes architects, builders, developers, manufacturers, engineers, utilities, code officials, researchers, educators, and environmentalists. Its mission is to provide education and resources to transform the residential design, development and construction industries to profitably deliver energy efficiency and environmentally responsible buildings and communities. It also hosts an annual conference held usually in the fall each year.

Energy Star

Created by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy, Energy Star is a government sponsored program that helps businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency in buildings and products. Energy Star qualified homes, for example, are independently verified to be at least 30% more energy efficient than homes built to the 1993 national Model Energy Code or 15% more efficient than state energy code, whichever is more rigorous.

Nearly 10 percent of all homes built in 2004 earned the Energy Star label. According to a recently released report, A Decade of Change in Home Building with Energy Star, since 1995 over 360,000 of the nation's new homes have earned the Energy Star. This has saved homeowners an estimated $200 million and eliminating approximately 4 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. Public awareness of Energy Star has jumped to 64 percent of US households, according to a recent nationwide survey released today by the US Environmental Protection Agency. In many major markets where local utilities and other organizations use Energy Star to promote energy efficiency to their customers, public awareness of Energy Star is even higher, averaging 74 percent.

The Building America program and PATH toolbase are two other government programs. Building America is a private/public partnership that develops energy solutions for new and existing homes. The Building America project combines the knowledge and resources of industry leaders with the US Department of Energy's technical capabilities. Together, they act as a catalyst for change in the home-building industry.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - LEED

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) is finalizing its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Homes (LEED-H) certification criteria. LEED-H is a voluntary initiative to actively promote the transformation of the mainstream home building industry towards more sustainable practices. The USGBC is a coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work. The LEED for Homes program will provide a tool for home builders, homeowners, and local governments for building environmentally sound, healthy, and resource-efficient places to live. The USGBC also promotes the Greenbuilding International Conference and Expo.

National Association of Home Builders - NAHB

The mission of the National Association of Home Builders is to enhance the climate for housing and the building industry. Chief among NAHB's goals is to provide and expand opportunities for all consumers to have safe, decent and affordable housing. NAHB helps promote policies that will keep housing a national priority. Aggressively training its members, NAHB supports building conferences and seminars throughout the year, including the National Green Building Conference usually held each spring. NAHB also supports student chapters and strong supports student participation at its events.

The NAHB Research Center is a wholly owned subsidiary of the NAHB. Uniquely positioned to facilitate invaluable liaisons - between builders and manufacturers, design professionals and housing research, and government and industry - the Research Center is dedicated to advancing housing technology and enhancing housing affordability. The NAHB Research Center worked with home building industry stakeholders to create a set of Green Home Building Guidelines for mainstream home builders. These NAHB Guidelines provide a voluntary point-based system in which a certain number of points are required to achieve green-building "certification."

National Institute of Standards and Technology - Building Environment Division

The Building Environment Division conducts laboratory, field, and analytical research on building mechanical and control systems; develops data, measurement methods and modeling techniques for the performance of the building envelope, its insulation systems, building air leakage, and the release, movement and absorption of indoor air pollutants, and develops standard communication protocols for building management systems and performance criteria, interface standards, and test methods for the Nation's building industry to make effective use of modern computer-aided design hardware and software and database management systems.

Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH)

The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) is a public-private initiative dedicated to accelerating the development and use of technologies that radically improve the quality, durability, energy efficiency, environmental performance, and affordability of America's housing. PATH is a voluntary partnership in which leaders of the home building, product manufacturing, insurance, and financial industries join forces with representatives of Federal agencies concerned with housing. By working together, PATH partners improve the quality and affordability of today's new and existing homes, strengthen the technology infrastructure of the United States, and help create the next generation of American housing.

PATH ToolBase Services is the housing industry's resource for technical information on building products, materials, new technologies, business management, and housing systems. Its technology inventory focuses on technologies currently considered to be "emerging" (i.e. with a market share of 5% or less) in a wide range of categories; from new materials, components and systems to complete houses. Each PATH Technology has at least one, and usually several of the attributes that contribute to achieving PATH goals.

Local Green Building Programs

In addition to these nationwide initiatives, community green building programs are making great strides toward promoting public acceptance of green building and its benefits, as well as encouraging builders to adopt green building practices. Some green building programs are sponsored by state or local government. Others are administered by home building industry associations or by other nonprofit groups.

For example, EarthCraft House is a program the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association developed through a partnership with Southface Energy Institute, government and industry leaders. It serves as a blueprint for healthy, comfortable homes that reduce utility bills and protect the environment. Comparable training and certification programs are available throughout the country. The Department of Energy keeps a list of many green building programs on its Smart Communities Network website.


 

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Hub Last Updated: 12/4/2012

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