2020 Boise Idaho Real Estate Blog
Green building mandates or codes coming our way Main The Durable Green Home
i attended a meeting or green buidling collalition the other day to talk about promoting green building and moving the industry forward to more green homes. while this is a great thing to work for, i was a little put back by the comments from some of the group to get code or mandates to promote green building-ugghhh!!!

I am not a fan of requiring green building, and have seen the tax credits put in place to improve or drive green ( especially solar) ruin or actually degrade an industry or the very thing they are trying to promote. Look at the solar industry now, many manfacturers have gone out of business because of the influx of new solar companies, I have personnally taken systems off of homes that were installed in the 80's for tax credit purposes that have never and could never work, poorly designed, very exspensive, etc the only reason someone boought the sytsems was for the tax credits, and you had every person with a truck and a dog putting on solar. Seen the adds recently in boise of the companies advertising solar! is there more than a handful that understand solar design, or solar site anaylisis? No, there are some companies that have been doing it for awhile that do a pretty good job, but solar without proper desing is an exspensive tax credit and an eyesore!

I know  i can hear it now, but we need the incentives to grow the industry! True not all incentive are bad. how about lowering impact fees for builders that use solar? how about pushing their projects through the code submittal process ahead of others? how about Idaho power actually paying the same rate to purchase alternative power as they charge us? i don't have all the answers but here is my two cents on requireing green building.

look at the code now requireing house wrap on houses. Good thought, should be done on every house ( if you don't know why we need to talk) what good is it to require it if it does not go on correctly? it actually makes things worse. I have never, never had a energy star or green buidling project go well or even half way well when the builder was not on board with HIS reason why he wanted to build green or energy efficient. I  end up dragging them every step, i have to act as an enforcer instead of a team mate, and the end result is a poor certified house, or no certification at all. I once had a well know builder tell me that he did not need to fix his vapor barrier in the crawls space ( if it does not cover the dirt, you will have problems-and this is a code requirement ) because i was the energy inspector not the code inspector, so if the code guy did not catch it then he did not have to fix it. after weeks of arguements that i was not certifying the home i actually fixed it because i felt sorry for the homeowner and wanted it done. the best jobs i have been involved with the builder or the team came to us to help them, we were part of the team. This is why we have done so well with growing faster than our competition, we are part of the team, the other guy is the official. No one likes an official. look at the growth of the voluntary energy star program, some states require it, and the actual quality of the work is much lower than states that have made it voluntary and got on board the builders team to help them market, grow, and promote their product and industry. this should stir things up!!!

Posted by Tad Duby at 8/17/2009 2:15:00 PM
Comments (3)
Re:Green building mandates or codes coming our way
I disagree,

Lax enforcement, weak fines and little code leads to the crappy housing we have all over the valley.

Buyers are not informed enough and builders take advantage of that. Honestly look at all the POS built in the valley that will never last more than their mortgage.

I favor more codes but heavy fines...the day a builder is put out of business do to code violations is the day builders might think twice about ducking code

Take it back! new solution --> NO loan purchase with MY TAX MONEY (Freddie/Fannie/FHA/GMAE etc...) unless the house meets all code including top green stds. If people want to by junk with their own money fine, but if you want to leech my tax money on junk--> forget it. Let free enterprise be free, but the mortgage market is anything but...its a tax payer support system and taxplayers should get something in return...like better homes.
Posted by on 8/17/2009 10:18 AM
Re:Green building mandates or codes coming our way
funny the POS houses you are talking about are built all over the nation and pass codes, some stricker codes than here, some not. Codes are a good thing, we do have to protect health and safety, but we the consumer have as much to blame as the builders you are talking about. next time you go into a open house or talk to a friend about the cost of housing listen -the usuall question is how much per sqft are your homes? Are you willing to pay for the enforcement you are talking about? dive up the housing costs tens of thousands of dollars because of a watch dog society and you will find that most people will rent becaue they can not afford to biuy. While i am not saying there has not been some lousy construction here because there has, as in any market with fast growth. look at who was building, bankers, realitors, investors, people with no backgroung. Maybe a license and basic knowledge of construction would be good, but really-code enforement? you gotta be kidding! I can find code violations on just about any home built, but code does not address real building performance, or durrability long term. codes were meant to give a bottom, so as any good builder would tell you, "code is the worse house you can leggaly build"

Most builders that want to build long term are building way above code, putting higher fees and enforcement will not improve this. give them an incentive, reduce thier government fees, etc.

getting the goverments hands out of the mortgage system might be something you want to address, they put us there in the first place and things are not looking up with the same people back in charge after the last mortgage fiasco, and stimulus money! what a joke-dont get me started..
Posted by on 8/17/2009 2:06 PM
Re:Green building mandates or codes coming our way
The purpose of codes is to provide a safety threshold for consumers (so that they don't electrocute themselves, can exit the house in case of a fire, detecting fires, etc.).

Quality is a different story altogether. Quality is made up of two parts: Performance of materials and execution of technique. The crappy builders cut corners on both. Many of the production builders throughout the nation only cut corners on the materials in order to cut costs and still are deemed to have garbage houses.

The fact is that consumers need to do their homework and work with a builder who is educated in the latest building practices (not educated in the school of hard knocks) and has experience in the industry.

If people want high quality in both materials and techniques then they need to get away from the "how much square footage can I get for the least amount out of pocket".

No matter what the codes are, the crappy builders will always find a way to cut the corners.
Posted by on 8/19/2009 7:41 AM
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