How to Get Green Energy Certifications for Your Remodel

Green energy is energy generated through environmentally friendly means. A green energy certified home is a home that is certified as being energy-efficient. This can be either a new home or a remodeled home. Having green energy certification adds prestige to you and your home. If you are remodeling your home into something more energy-efficient, there are a number of local and national green energy certification programs you can apply for. Some of the most common national certification programs are outlined below.

NAHB National Green Building Program

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) green certification program will certify remodeled single family and multi-family residential buildings, as well as any remodeling projects that convert previously non-residential buildings into residential buildings (such as hard lofts). Residential and mixed-use developments are covered regardless of whether they are remodeled partially or wholesale. The program will not consider remodeling projects that add new space without renovating the additional buildings, nor will they consider any remodeling projects that don't contain any residential uses.

You can get certified by NAHB by going to the certification section of it's website. There, you will use the Green Scoring tool to generate a Designer's Report. You will then have to schedule an inspection with an NAHB-accredited verifier. There will be two inspections - the rough inspection and the final inspection. After the first inspection, you will be asked to sign the inspection report and submit a verification fee (which varies depending on what building you are remodeling). After the final inspection, you will sign the final verification report and wait for NAHB to review it. If the review goes through, your remodel will be certified.

Home Performance with Energy Star Program

This national program is a joint effort run by the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Energy. The program sets the standards, but the actual certification is enforced by local and regional organizations that are enrolled in the program. Those organizations include state agencies, private companies and non-profit organizations. Their contractors will evaluate your remodel and make recommendations as to how it's energy efficiency can be improved. Once you decide which improvements you want to make, the contractors will make those improvements using the standards set by the NPWES program. When the improvements are complete, your remodel will get an Energy Star certification.

LEED for Homes Program

The Leadership in Energy and Design home certification program is primarily geared towards new homes. In order to qualify, your remodeling project must qualify as a substantial gut rehabilitation. In order to qualify as such, your project must replace most interior systems and components will more energy-efficient alternatives. It must also open the exterior walls to allow for a thermal bypass inspection to be completed.

In order to apply for certification, you must involve a LEED for Homes Provider and a LEED for Homes Green Rater in your remodeling project's planning and design process. They will make sure that the project is energy-efficient enough to qualify for LEED certification.  You will also need to fill out a LEED for Homes credit checklist to determine what kind of certification you would be able to get given your financial resources. You may not have the means to afford all the energy efficient improvements, and the checklist will make sure that your project won't overtax your finances. The Green Rater will conduct inspections throughout the constructions process to make sure it's proceeding according to agreed upon level of certification. The certificate will be issued once the construction is complete.