The following information is provided to you by GMG Construction Inc. It comes from the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties of Washington State and by Built Green. The following will give you a good idea of what building green is and how it can benefit you and our environment as well as what is involved.

What is Built Green?

Built Green is an environmental building program of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, developed in partnership with King County, Snohomish County, and other government agencies in Washington State. Built Green is designed to help home buyers find quality, affordable homes that offer opportunities to protect the health of their families and the Northwest environment. Interested in learning more about "green" homes? The program provides consumers with four easy-to-understand rating systems, which quantify environmentally friendly building practices for remodeling and new home construction. The four ratings systems are for:

Who is Built Green?

Built Green is a network of architects, builders, developers, subcontractors, suppliers, lenders, and real estate agents working together to improve quality of life in King and Snohomish Counties. The Built Green program accomplishes this by using a menu of options that provide quality homes which, compared to standard homes, are more cost-effective to own and operate, healthier, safer, and more protective of our beautiful Pacific Northwest environment. Built Green is a Program of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties in Partnership with King County and Snohomish County.

What are the Top Ten Reasons to Buy a Built Green Home?

Contractors in King and Snohomish Counties already build to some of the toughest energy, air quality, storm water management, and water efficiency standards in the nation. Based on choices by the builder and homeowner, Built Green™ goes beyond even these standards to give you added value, added peace of mind. Following, in no particular order, are ten reasons to buy a Built Green home:

More Money in the Piggy Bank

A Built Green home typically saves money on operating costs because of more efficient energy use with such features as extra insulation, more efficient water heaters, lighting and appliances, and the use of natural day lighting techniques. Many Built Green features save money on construction costs up-front.

Less “New” Odors and Better Indoor Air

Using low-VOC and low-toxic interior paints and finishes can reduce toxins, thereby increasing indoor air quality in a home. Carpeting can be tacked rather than glued with adhesives that can off-gas over time. Mechanical ventilation can be improved by installing a “positive” system that exhausts indoor air at a slightly slower rate than fresh air is brought inside. Improving indoor air can be especially helpful for residents with sensitivities to allergens.

Saves Old-Growth Forests

Rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo, wheatgrass, cork and strawboard can be managed, grown and harvested in a sustainable way, and can effectively replace lumber from old-growth trees. Engineered lumber uses smaller pieces of fast-growing wood to obtain the same sizes and higher strengths as lumber milled from large old-growth forests. Plastic lumber made from recycled plastic jugs can also be used for decking, sills and siding -- replacing what are traditionally wood products.

Happier Salmon

Water conservation can be achieved by installing drought tolerant plants and less lawn in landscaped areas. Porous paving can be used in driveways and walkways to allow rainwater to seep into the ground instead of running off. Strict erosion control methods are used to help reduce sedimentation into streams, and natural features of a site can be protected. All of these measures benefit salmon habitat.

More Couch Potato Time

It takes less work and resources to maintain certain materials in a home. For example, siding, decking and trim made from plastic lumber needs little or no painting. Durable materials such as stone, tile and slate last longer and therefore need replacement less often.

Reduced Breezes Inside the Home

A home can be sealed against the outside elements with advanced caulking that goes beyond basic practice. Typically, exterior walls are caulked around windows and door frames and on interior walls where they intersect with exterior ceilings. Air sealing can be checked for effectiveness with an optional “blower door” test.

Healthier Yard with Homegrown Topsoil

During construction of a house or development, the topsoil that is removed for grading can be stockpiled and, later, reapplied to the site for healthier soils. Soil amendments can be added, such as compost, to further promote a good soil for plantings that will have a better establishment.

Reduces Dependence on Fossil Fuels & Promotes Cleaner Air

By promoting the use of local materials, transportation and other costs can be reduced. By including pedestrian access and access to mass transit, projects can encourage the decreased use of automobiles, thereby reducing our foreign oil consumption and helping maintain cleaner air outdoors.

Less Trash

Built Green builders and remodelers post job site recycling plans and recycle as much as possible of scrap building materials such as lumber, wall board, concrete, cardboard and packaging. They can also incorporate many materials that contain recycled content or have been salvaged. This helps reduce the amount of material going to our already overburdened landfills.

Promotes Businesses Committed To “Green”

The member companies of Built Green include lenders with special financing for Built Green homes; product manufacturers of durable, recycled content, non-toxic, energy-efficient and recyclable materials; service providers of utilities, engineering, consulting, real estate, interior design and home maintenance; builders and remodelers who are willing to not only build green but to go to the extra effort and cost to have their projects certified as Built Green; architects who can design a green home with you every step of the way; and our local governments that are committed to protecting the quality of life for all of us!

How Does Built Green Work?

Building projects are qualified using a Built Green checklist organized into six categories of environmentally friendly action items. There are four separate checklists for four different types of projects: homebuilder, remodeler, multifamily, and community. Builders choose and use one of the checklists prior to construction to determine which features to include in the home and to track progress. When construction is complete, the builder sends a signed copy of the checklist to the MBA, certifying that the home identified in the project enrollment form contains the identified features. Based upon that builder certification, and after reviewing the application, the MBA will award the appropriate Certificate of Merit indicating that the home has received a 1-, 2-, or 3-, 4- or 5-Star rating. Features included in the Built Green checklists include:

  • Green Building Codes
  • Site & Water Protection
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Health and Air Quality
  • Materials Efficiency
  • Environmentally Responsible Home Ownership

See the checklists or Builder Information/Certification sections of this website for additional information.

What Are the Built Green Checklists?

Each Built Green checklist provides the framework for builders or developers to qualify homes or communities for inclusion in one of the four programs. There are several important areas that are addressed in the checklists:

Site and Water

The Built Green program places a high priority on water conservation and quality. The action items include practices to conserve water, protect natural features, prevent erosion, promote and to otherwise improve water quality.

Energy Efficiency

A Built Green home can be designed and constructed to maximize energy savings by reducing heat loss through a combination of design elements and building practices, thereby making the home more economical to operate.

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality can be improved through a series of practices and features that reduce indoor pollutants such as installing low toxic finishes.

Material Selection

Builders use design and material selections that can result in conserving limited resources. Using recycled content products reduces the use of "virgin" materials. Using current waste minimizing practices can contribute to the overall efficiency of the project. Encouraging builders to use locally manufactured products also reduces the energy used to get them to the job site.

Why Are Your Local Government and the Master Builders Association
Partnering on Built Green™?

The local government partners, including King County, Snohomish County, and the City of Seattle each have a mission as stewards of our region's environment to protect our water, land and natural habitats. The Built Green Program complements the environmental messages that local government already promotes regarding water conservation and water quality, recycling and the use of recycled-content products, and habitat protection, just to name a few. It promises to be a productive partnership that promotes environmental protection and innovation at the same time.

The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties is committed to the goal of building affordable homes to meet consumer demand in the Puget Sound region. At the same time, as we all become more aware of the effect our lives have on the region, the Association is eager to work with knowledgeable partners to control our impact on our environment. The Built Green™ Program encourages builders to provide and consumers to seek homes that are more environmentally - and family-friendly. Built Green homes are designed and built with an eye toward protecting salmon, reducing energy consumption, controlling resource use, and improving the residents' health. By partnering with our local governments, we can thoughtfully address these issues together and find acceptable solutions to housing and construction issues.

How Is The Certification Process Handled?

The Built Green program is a voluntary program that has both self-certification and third party verification elements. The program requires builders or developers to follow a specific set of criteria to attain status as a "Built Green" home or community. Beyond these standards, builders will earn a rating based on a point system. After reviewing the completed checklist provided by the builder, the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties will issue a 1-, 2-, or 3-, 4- or 5-Star rating for the project. 1-, 2-, and 3-Star levels are self-certifying with the builders signature required as confirmation that items on the checklist have been completed. The 4- and 5-Star levels require verification by a third party.

Are There Other Programs of this Type in The Country?

Successful programs of this nature are hosted in Denver, Colorado, Atlanta, Georgia, Portland, Oregon, Wisconsin, Scottsdale, Arizona, Austin, Texas, Florida, and in Clark, Kitsap, Pierce and Thurston counties here in Washington. For a list of other green home building programs across the country, visit the National Association of Home Builders website.