From: Green Builder Media [[email protected]]
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Subject: Green Builder Media eNews August 2008

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October 2008 – Vol. 1, No. 8

A reminder to all readers of Green Builder magazine:



Dear Green Builder Community,

The French poet, Paul Valry, said “The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be.” This statement is particularly poignant in the midst of our current financial crisis. With some of the largest (and what were once considered to be the safest) of our financial, mortgage, and insurance institutions crumbling in front of our eyes and the stock market in a free-fall, it’s hard to believe that the future of the American economic system will remain as it has been for the past century. 

As painful as it may be, what is happening in our marketplace may be exactly what we need. Long-term sustainable thinking must supplant the short-sighted strategies that we have been using for the past decade. We must create new strategies that are appropriate for our time – strategies such as investing in clean technology, developing a new unified energy infrastructure that can transport renewable energy across the country, and implementing tax incentives for a wide variety of resource-saving systems and technologies.

Today, more than a bail-out, we need a pitch-in, where the government and corporations provide funding and support to initiatives that will lead to the creation of sustainable systems and services.

Our old patterns are destructive. Our polluting technologies have spoiled our environment. Corporate greed and excess have left us feeling nervous and cynical. The rat race has left us unfulfilled – while our productivity has grown, our satisfaction has diminished. And our political system has become paralyzed so that it is no longer able to effectively address today’s urgent multi-generational problems.

Traditional American strengths and assets have been eroded. Now we must reshape the vision of our future. Just as quantum physicists imagined the quark, we can illuminate the path ahead of us. Revolution is a grassroots effort, and the change that we need will not be dictated by political or corporate leaders. It must come from each of us being actively involved in the solution. By relying on short-sighted solutions for our housing and business markets, we have been mortgaging our future. It’s time that we start rebuilding our equity.

We’re always looking for ways to improve the value that we provide to you, so please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] with any input or creative ideas about ways that we can serve you better. Also, if you don’t receive Green Builder magazine, please feel free to subscribe at

A sincere thank you for your support of Green Builder Media!

Sara Gutterman
CEO & Publisher
Green Builder Media



Featured Service Providers

Green Building Initiative (GBI)

The GBI, a leading resource for sustainable construction, has partnered with the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) and North Carolina State University to provide a comprehensive, easy to use database of local, state and federal green building rebates, tax credits and financial incentives. We encourage you to take a look at the green building incentives available in your area.

To access the database, visit


Kolbe introduces Environmental Expressions, a palette of 32 colors inspired by nature. This expanded exterior color offering is available on most wood, aluminum clad and vinyl windows and doors. To request more information on the Environmental Expressions colors visit or call 800-955-8177.



Green Reel

Watch Ron Jones Speak About Water

This video is designed to be viewed in Windows Media Player. Download the free player here.

Each month Green Builder Media will bring you a video of important information about green building. This month Ron Jones discusses the need to employ strategies and technologies to protect one of our most precious resources: water.

Differentiate yourself in your market place with a Green Builder Certification from Green Builder College




Green Building Grows in Down Market

According to a just-released report from McGraw-Hill Construction, green building is on the rise despite a tough economy.

McGraw-Hill Construction, a part of The McGraw-Hill Companies, in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) National Green Building Program, today released the update to its 2006 study with 2008 green home building data.

The new SmartMarket Report, The Green Home Builder: Navigating for Success in a Down Economy, covers market opportunities, key triggers and obstacles, and trends in green home building practices from 2001 to 2007, such as the impact of the down market on this sector. Major findings include:

  • Forty percent of builders find “building green” makes it easier to market in a down economy; 16% find it makes it much easier.
  • In 2009, 21% of builders expect to be building 90% of projects green.
  • Sixty percent of builders claim home buyers are willing to pay more for green homes. This is greater than the opinion in 2006 (56%).
  • “Quality” is the top driver behind green home building, which is a shift from the top driver in 2006, “doing the right thing.” This seems to indicate that green home buyers in todays market are not just green consumers, but are also buying a green home for investment and performance reasons.
  • Fourteen percent of builders find today’s homes overall more than 30% more environmentally friendly than two years ago. 85% think that energy-efficient features are the ones making these homes more environmentally friendly.
  • Builders use products that lead to energy efficiency far more than other elements. In particular, they focus on air sealing/tight construction, increased insulation, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, and Energy Star products.
  • The region in the United States with the best growth in green building is the Pacific, followed by the South Atlantic and Mountain regions. The East South Central region has the lowest growth.

The report features special sections detailing government regulations, NAHB Green Home Rating Systems, and case studies on different types of green homes (for example, customized, affordable, and large productions). Commentary on green-washing, product availability, brand awareness, and certification provides further background data and analysis of the market.

To order a copy of the report, visit



Editors’ Product Pick


Fagor America just added three new models to its line of ultra efficient induction cooktops. Induction cooks 50% faster than gas or electric cooktops, boiling water rapidly. The products use 90% of the energy produced compared to 50% with gas and electric methods. The energy produced by the cooktop is directly supplied to the cooking vessel by a magnetic field. Self-adjusting burners detect the size of the cookware base and automatically adjust so that very little energy is wasted. The new additions include a 12″ cooktop with stainless steel trim and 30″ and 36″ cooktops with a beveled glass edge (not rim). Suggested retail prices are $1,099 for the 12″, $1,899 for the 30″, and $2,399 for the 36″.




Call to Action

NAHB responds to the chilling economic outlook with a study that demonstrates the importance of housing to our country’s future.

Job losses and declining tax revenues resulting from the deep housing slump and the decline in property values require state and local governments to consider innovative ideas to help put the housing market back on track, according to Sandy Dunn, chairman of the NAHB and a home builder from Point Pleasant, W.Va.

“Necessity is indeed the mother of invention during a financial crisis,” Dunn says.  “While the federal government has stepped forward with a series of emergency actions to stabilize and restore confidence in the financial markets, it’s now time for the same sort of innovative thinking at the local and state levels where public officials are grappling with budget shortfalls that are putting a squeeze on spending for everything from schools to public safety and other essential services.”

Such creative thinking, Dunn added, could range from foregoing impact fees on new development to allowing higher density zoning to build more affordable housing and streamlining the entire development review process. It is also important that cities and counties extend existing zoning approvals while builders work out financing for new projects.

Any of these measures will help stimulate the housing sector and boost local economies. “By encouraging new development rather than penalizing it, local governments will be helping to create a new business environment that will generate jobs, stabilize property values and get the housing market back on track,” she adds.

“Fifteen cents of every dollar spent in this nation is spent on housing,” Dunn says. “It is the engine that runs this country.” The importance of residential construction on local economies can be seen in a recent study by NAHB economists. The study, which looks at the impacts of single-family and multifamily home building and residential remodeling, can be found at

The NAHB study estimates that in 2008, on average:

  • Construction of 1,000 new single-family homes creates 3,049 jobs and generates more than $89 million in tax and other revenues for federal, state, and local governments.

  • Construction of 1,000 new multifamily rental units creates 1,155 jobs and generates more than $33 million in tax and other government revenues.

  • $100 million worth of residential remodeling activity creates 1,109 jobs and generates more than $30 million in tax and other government revenues.

  • The estimates are based primarily on industry accounts published by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, part of the national accounting system that is used to produce official estimates of gross domestic product.

“This study clearly demonstrates the housing industry’s importance to the U.S. economy,” Dunn says. “The fastest, most effective way to turn this economy around is to shore up the housing sector.




Saving Water Easy as 1-2-3

Help your buyers reduce water use inside the home to save money and get the best performance from their plumbing products.

Kohler’s Cimarron Comfort Height Toilet With Class Six Flushing Technology is among the many newly released products that can help your buyers save water.

As the global population grows, water will become scarcer. And as water costs spike in the United States, what most of us think of as a California or Southeast problem, will find water issues in our own neighborhoods. The good news is that saving water in the home is both cost-effective and as easy as 1-2-3: toilets, showers, and faucets.

The number one priority is to address the biggest user of indoor water – the toilet. Twenty years ago, virtually all toilets used at least 3.5 gallons of water per flush (gpf) or more. But a 1992 federal mandate then limited all new toilets to 1.6 gpf. More recently, both large and small companies such as Kohler Co., American Standard, and others have introduced new high-efficiency toilets that use only 1.28 gpf or less. Some of the most efficient toilets now use a mere 1.0 gpf. Still, at least 50% of toilets in the United States still consume 3.5 gpf.

How much water will you save? If an average family of four swaps out a 3.5 gpf toilet for a high efficiency, 1.28 gpf toilet, they could save 20,000 gallons per year.

Manufacturers have made it easy to offer high-efficiency toilets and continue to roll out new choices and water-saving technologies. Performance gravity toilets including those with Kohler EST (Eco-Smart Technology) use just 1.28 gpf. Dual Flush toilets flush liquid wastes with only 0.8 gallons of water and solids with 1.6 gpf. Toilets with Kohler Pressure Lite technology use between 1.0 and 1.4 gpf. And the Kohler Power Lite flushing technology employs an electronic pump and motor for an assisted 1.1 or 1.4 gallon flush. Kohler notes it has made a conscious decision to charge the same for its water-conserving products, which means you don’t have to forego the environmental choice because of your buyer’s budget.

Brondell, a manufacturer of green bathroom products, offers an affordable $149 Perfect Flush option that can be installed on nearly all existing toilet fixtures in less than 30 minutes. The half-flush button for liquid means users are saving 50% of the water on nine of ten bathroom visits, the company says. The product will be available in January 2009.

American Standard is in the game with its FloWise Dual-Flush high efficiency toilet, which offers users the option of 1.6 gpf or .8 gpf. The company just released a white paper that explains high efficiency toilets, which can help plumbers, builders, and remodelers explain high-efficiency toilets to their buyers. Click here to download the white paper.

The number two priority is in the shower, where the standard flow rate is 2.5 gallons per minute. Installing high-efficiency showerheads or handshowers cuts the flow rate to 1.75 gpm – a 30% water savings. Advanced Kohler water engineering in new high-efficiency showerheads provides the same coverage as a standard flow showerhead, plus multi-function performance that still lets you dial down to get a power massage shower.

The number three water-saving priority is the easiest and the least expensive: simply unscrew the 2.2 gpm aerators, replace them with more efficient 1.5 gpm aerators, and save 30%.

The overall point is that water is saved the same way its wasted – a gallon at a time. When you adopt the 1-2-3 approach, youll save an astonishing amount of water. The planet and your pocketbook will both be better for it. Shane R. Judd, senior product manager, water conservation, for Kohler Co. contributed to this report.




Read the Label

Nutrition labels for homes help buyers understand the benefits of buying green.

Green architect Michelle Kaufmann just released a white paper, “Nutrition Labels for Homes,” which explores a universal sustainability labeling standard for houses in the same vein as the federally mandated Nutrition Facts Label for foods. It asserts that a universal labeling system would help grow the green building industry by making it easier for home buyers to understand the environmental, health, and financial benefits of living in a green home.

The white paper is available for download at
“Nutrition labeling allows consumers to purchase food according to the quality of its nutritional content. We want home buyers to be empowered with the same sort of information when it comes to making a decision about what house to live in,” says Michelle Kaufmann, founder and chairwoman of Michelle Kaufmann Companies. “We have to start holding the houses we live in to the same standards as the food we eat. Our habits concerning both are vital to our own wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of the environment.”

“As soon as a sustainability labeling program is in place, even if it is at first instituted on a small scale before ultimately going national, we will be the first to commit to labeling our houses,” Kaufmann claims.




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