The Environmental Protection Agency recently released new standards for the WaterSense label, including allowing individual apartments and condominiums to qualify for the designation. Read the HousingZone article here. Wood Partners’own Green Team Director and Co-Chair Adelaide Grady writes about other green building attributes in this article.
With all the “green building” labeling options in the market these days – LEED, NAHB’s NGBS, ENERGY STAR, and various regional or local programs – future residents of Class A, green apartment homes may find various certifications attached to their housing options with little basis for identifying what the certification may mean and what the impact on their lives may be.
LEED and NGBS, for example, cover a spectrum of green building attributes – from operational energy and water consumption to regionally sourced materials and non-toxic pest control measures. These standards can be achieved with almost infinite combinations of a Cheesecake Factory-length menu of options, and when the plaque is hung in the leasing office there’s no way to tell which options were utilized. In fact, these certifications may be achieved with little or no reduction in energy and water efficiency versus baseline code. So a resident may perceive “green” to mean low energy and water bills, but if their builder found it more cost-effective to take the points for construction waste recycling and odor-free caulk, their green-certified apartment may be meaningless to them.
Wood Partners has favored the ENERGY STAR for New Homes program over the years, primarily because of the ubiquity and familiarity of the simple blue logo. Consumers don’t necessarily know what it means, but they generally believe it’s a positive thing. The US EPA will likely lend similar breadth to the reach of the WaterSense label, and apartments will benefit from the ability to present an additional check in the “yes” column of green building.
Director and Co-Chair of Wood Partners Green Team
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