Green Communities Criteria

“Practical Earth & Money Savings”

Aspen Dental Front Facade Rendering 2

We have all heard of LEED Certified Buildings. Yep, you know it, those buildings that cost an extra gazillion dollars so a plaque can be displayed in the lobby. Architects jumped all over this certification. I don’t know how many LEED buildings those architects have actually done in the last 10 years. One thing for sure is that it takes a special owner to afford this luxury. A rare historic downtown building owner for sure.

Not all is lost. There are practical programs out there, and Enterprise’s Green Communities is one of them. My state of Iowa has gone one step farther and created a spinoff, Iowa Green Streets. Check your state for a similar program that uses Green Communities principals. Iowa Economic Development Authority does an excellent job providing millions of renovation grant dollars throughout the state using “Green Street” Criteria.

The principals for the program focus on practical expenses that return value, or direct value to you in the form of energy efficient detailing. Consider using a white roof system instead of a dark color that will consume heat instead of repel it. The acceptance for insulated windows over historical single pane systems have relaxed historical positioning. Always ask if the product you are purchasing has low or no VOCs and formaldehydes. These items don’t cost more and should always be used. We should always attempt to seal up our facades with proper caulking. The days for wanting “natural” air infiltration should be gone.

This program is quickly becoming complicated. Authorities feel compelled to constantly change and improve the programs. In doing so, they end up making the system confusing to the extent that it’s not worth the effort to comprehend. If your state doesn’t have a program, consider visiting Iowa’s site. Feel free to cherry pick those items that are reasonable to you. The later pages provide a good understanding of each item. Remember to keep things simple and practical.