How to Find an Expert to Construct a Sustainable Home

Green Building for Consumers

Are you interested in a home that is cost-effective to operate, has healthier indoor air quality, and has a minimal impact on the environment? There are home builders and remodelers across the country who are experts in sustainable and energy-efficiency construction and remodeling to help create your own green dream home.

Key Qualifications to Look for in Green Home Builders and Remodelers

An expert green builder focuses on quality, design, and the use of cost-effective products and materials to help create a healthier, more efficient and environmentally friendly home. Building or remodeling a home is a significant investment of time and money, so finding a green professional whose business approach aligns with your preferences is critical to ensuring the process goes smoothly and you are happy with the result.

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Green Home Builder or Remodeler

When you meet with a green builder or remodeler, they will ask you about your interest in making your home sustainable and/or resilient. During this time, you should also ask about the builder or remodelers’ qualifications. An expert green builder will be able to answer questions about their work experience, provide customer references, and be knowledgeable about the steps they take to make their homes green, as well as green building certifications and energy ratings.

Talking to Professionals About Their Work Experience

You’ll want to find a builder or remodeler with experience constructing a sustainable and resilient home. The most qualified professionals understand all the intricacies of green building and have specialized knowledge in areas such as:

  • Practices to increase the energy efficiency of your home
  • Indoor and outdoor water conservation practices
  • Optimizing indoor environmental quality
  • Sustainable and efficient building products
  • Sustainable site development strategies

If you’re looking for a builder, make sure they can show and tell you how many green homes they have constructed from start to finish. Once you view what type of work they have completed in the past, it will help you decide if their company can deliver what you need.

Ask about Green Home Certifications

Ask your builder or remodeler about having your home certified to the National Green Building Standard (NGBS). The NGBS provides independent, third-party certification for new and renovated single-family homes (and multifamily apartment buildings). Administered through the Home Innovation Research Labs, the NGBS is the only residential green building rating system that has received American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approval.

The NGBS has four levels of certification — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald — to designate different thresholds of a home’s performance. The four certification levels enable builders to make the best choice for their projects based on market preferences, buyers’ budgets, and other regional or cultural influences. The NGBS is the only residential green certification program that requires increasingly higher thresholds in all categories of construction (site design, resource efficiency, water efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and operation & maintenance) for a home to reach the next level of certification.

Survey results show that 94% of owners of NGBS-certified homes would recommend a green residence to a friend or family member and 95% are satisfied with the features in their home. Ask your builder or remodeler about having your home certified. Learn more at

Evaluating Past Projects and Client Testimonials

Ask a green builder or remodeler to provide customer references. Any high-quality green professional should be ready to provide you with the names and phone numbers of satisfied customers. If they cannot, consider that a red flag and walk away. When reaching out to those former clients, ask how well the builder or remodeler followed through on the initial plans and if the builder or remodeler met their expectations regarding budget and timing.

Remember the most telling question: Would they hire that builder again if they could do it all over?