The time has come: Built Green is rolling out checklist updates! What are these, why do we do them, and what do you need to know to keep your projects current? Read on to get all of the answers.
What are the changes?
There are two checklist updates being rolled out right now. One is updating the single-family/townhome checklist to reflect the newest state energy code. The only changes pertain to the energy requirements. The other is a complete revamp of the multi-family checklist. View the updated checklists.
How do I keep up with these changes?
For both checklists, Built Green has enrollment deadlines: if you enroll a project after a certain date, the updated checklist must be used. Prior to that date, a builder can decide whether to use the old or updated version of the checklist. We set these enrollment deadlines in the future so designers and builders have time to adjust and so that plans that have already been made based on the older version of the checklist don’t have to be scrapped. Make sure you get your projects enrolled! Here are the dates to know:
- Single-family/townhome checklist enrollment date: Aug. 1, 2017
Multi-family checklist enrollment date: Oct. 1, 2017
Again, all projects enrolled with Built Green after these dates will have to use the updated checklists!
We also have certification deadlines for projects using the older checklist versions to ensure that projects are certified in a timely manner, under the relevant checklist. Here are the certification deadlines:
- Single-family/townhome checklist certification packet due date: Aug. 1, 2018
- Multi-family checklist certification packet due date: Dec. 31, 2019
Certification packets for projects received by Built Green after these dates will have to use the updated checklist, irrespective of their enrollment date. Multi-family projects are given more time to certify under the old checklist due to the longer timeframe these projects generally require due to their size and complexity.
Built Green will be sending out plenty of reminders as these various deadlines approach. Please pay attention to these communications!
Homes in the Issaquah Highlands, most of which were built under the previous two iterations of the Built Green single-family checklist.
Why do you update the checklists?
Built Green is a relative certification system; projects are judged based on the building environment and code at any given time. Checklist updates take into account code changes, how widespread processes and products have become, new technologies, and current costs. For example, our checklists require that projects are modelled to demonstrate a certain percentage of energy efficiency compared to current code. As code updates, so must Built Green checklists. Otherwise, Built Green certification would lose its meaning as code requirements caught up with the program. The aim of this voluntary certification is to recognize builders who go above and beyond, after all!
This means that a 4-Star project certified in 2007 isn’t the same as a 4-Star project certified in 2017 in terms of environmental rigor when compared with each other, but that the cost and effort needed to complete each project given the context of its time was roughly the same. This relative grading system also means that Built Green provides builders with a framework to improve their product over time. A builder that commits to only building 5-Star homes will have to constantly innovate and adapt to continue to achieve this star-level over the years as the rating gets more rigorous over time. But this means that Built Green is helping to spur adoption of new technologies and techniques, and that builders who are dedicated to staying ahead of the curve are supported and rewarded for their endeavors!
How do you update the checklists?
We don’t do any of this alone. In fact, we heavily rely on the generosity of many different industry experts who support the program. This ensures that a variety of perspectives contribute to the checklist updates.
Since this single-family/townhome checklist update was only regarding the energy requirements, we worked with energy modeling experts and third-party verifiers to ensure that our new modeling protocol is robust and that the updated requirements strike the balance of being challenging without being too onerous. We worked with other local Built Green programs in different parts of the state to make sure that the various star-levels on offer also correspond with local markets and incentives available for energy efficiency, so Built Green builders can more easily demonstrate their projects qualify.
To update the multi-family checklist, we worked with a committee consisting of representatives from the public sector, consultants on green building, third-party verifiers, energy modelers, and builders. This team spent a year taking the checklist to the next level!
What else do I need to know?
Just a couple of things! First, the corresponding multi-family handbook update is forthcoming and will be published soon. It will be available online, for free, as a PDF. Second, it is important to discuss these updates with your third-party verifier to make sure you are on the same page about the transition and deadlines that you have to meet for current and upcoming projects. Finally, we know that—though necessary—these transition periods can be a bit confusing and hectic. Don’t worry! Built Green staff and third-party verifiers are available if you have questions, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
Now, let’s keep working to make the green building industry better every day!