Q: What standardization is there in qualifying green homes?

A: Green is a term that has been used quite loosely. What does that term even mean? People refer to ways of becoming greener—is that living efficiently, selecting a sustainable city, recycling, or eating local and organic? I think the same applies to qualifying green homes: there are different levels. It can mean the home is carbon neutral or net zero, but it doesn’t have to. It can mean it has a variety of “green” features, including low-VOC paint or an energy-efficient HVAC system.

The home can be Energy Star certified, which means it has a specific set of features that follow guidelines designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy. You can find out more about the specific features by going to the Energy Star website.

Another designation is LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This is a system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council that rates a home from start to finish. LEED isn’t just for large scale buildings; you can also be certified for existing buildings and homes. To learn more go to the LEED website.

So while there are various discreet certifications and features a home has, there is no base-level regulation for what living units can be termed "green." The best solution is to work with me to decide which features or standards are important to you and then allow me to select the homes or condos that live up to your standards. Portland is one of the foremost leaders in green building and has a ton of sustainable and efficient homes to choose from. Let’s get started to find the one that’s right for you.