There was a fairly extensive article in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal about green buildings, with a specific emphasis on the various certifications that construction companies will be able to use for residential buildings. I thought I’d mention that content before I get to the real subject of this column: some software that helps builders coordinate all these various green requirements.
Because I know many of you DON’T get the Journal, here’s primarily what the story covered: - The LEED for Homes program from the U.S. Green Building Council. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) The program has been in beta since earlier this year but was launched officially this week in Chicago at GreenBuild. - The National Green Building Standard from the National Association of Homebuilders. This site show the draft in progress, which is scheduled to be approved sometime early next year. - A qualification program from EnergyStar that focuses on air sealing and insulation, the quality of the duct work, and the windows and window treatments. An EnergyStar rating also requires an independent home inspection.
Both LEED and the National Green Building Standards are tiered ratings systems. That is, there are various levels that you can choose to attain. You get points for meeting certain requirements, such as how water is reused, what types of toilets, how energy-efficient the appliances are, and so on.
Stats from the National Association of Home Builders estimate that there will be a 5 percent to 10 percent increase in green houses by 2010. There is as cost, of course, to earning one of these ratings. And that’s where an application like FastTrack Schedule from AEC Software (Sterling, Va.) comes in.
Bill Keech, vice president of sales and business development for AEC, says his company’s application can be configured to handle the nuances of stages in a green building project. “Some of these steps are way outside the normal process of building,” he says. Architects and construction managers began associating his company’s software with green projects several years ago, especially after a mandate that requires all federal buildings to follow green design guidelines.
It’s another example of how green tech isn’t just about energy efficiency, but rather about technology that can help businesses and individuals adopt and comply with broader green principles.