Home Innovation Insights

Insider insights on what's going on in the home building industry.

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March 1, 2017

The Inside Scoop:
NGBS Green Verifiers Tell All

Despite the best efforts of the Home Innovation green team, and volumes of information available to dispel the myth, some builders still believe that getting a home green certified is a difficult, costly, and time-consuming task. Perhaps one of the greatest proof points that NGBS Green Certification is none of these things is its market share – in a relatively short period of time, NGBS Green has gone from a start up to the leading green home certification provider in the country. Many NGBS Green Verifiers say the builders who participate in NGBS Green find it a more straightforward and affordable way to stand out from their competition.

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Green Building

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January 27, 2017

SolSmart Serves Up Soft Cost Savings

Soft costs can often be a deal-breaker for solar installation. DOE's SolSmart is helping builders and developers overcome barriers to solar in residential construction that can often come from arduous local zoning, permitting, and inspection requirements. Find out more about the program and how it can help in your community.

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Green Building, Building Practices, Solar Energy, Energy Performance, Building Codes

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January 9, 2017

NGBS Green: Keys to Success in 2016 and Beyond

2016 was a good year for NGBS Green, marked by steady growth. As we head into the new year on the brink of recognizing our 100,000th NGBS Green Certified home, it's a good time to reflect on the keys to the market success of green certification and how they will continue to benefit participants going forward.

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Green Building, Building Practices, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing

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October 14, 2016

Pivotal Advance in Green Building Valuation

Home Innovation Research Labs recently announced a data sharing agreement with my company, Pivotal Energy Solutions. The announcement may have seemed inconsequential at the time, but I’m convinced that what this agreement represents is a critical next step in the marketing of energy-efficient homes and has potential to impact your business in a BIG way.

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Green Building, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing, Energy Performance, Survey Research

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August 15, 2016

Streamlined Permitting for PV? Yes, Please!

DOE's SolSmart is helping builders and developers overcome the barriers to solar in residential construction that can often come from arduous local zoning, permitting, and inspection requirements. Find out more about this new program and how it can help in your community.

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Green Building, Building Practices, Solar Energy, Energy Performance, Building Codes

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July 1, 2016

2015 NGBS: Keeping Up With The Times

ANSI approved the 2015 NGBS in April. This latest version preserves the standard's tradition as the building industry’s benchmark for residential projects designed and built for high performance, and makes it easier than ever to incorporate green features into your next project. Find out how Home Innovation's NGBS Green Certification program and its rating system are keeping up with latest in green building.

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Green Building, Building Practices

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March 10, 2016

NGBS Green: Getting Better with Age!

Embarking on the 7th year of operation for NGBS Green, Home Innovation Research Labs has made some program improvements -- some big, some not so big, but all geared toward delivering the most responsive, reliable, and cost-effective green home certification program available.

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Green Building, Building Practices

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February 5, 2016

New Green Advocacy Tool Hot Off the Presses: NGBS Green Annual Report

Home Innovation Research Labs recently debuted its inaugural green certification program annual report, “NGBS Green: A Better Place to Call Home.” The report provides a new advocacy quill in the quiver of builders and verifiers around the country hoping to promote more choice in the marketplace in regions where green building is required by code.

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Green Building, Marketing, Building Practices

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November 19, 2015

Don't Mess with FTC: Substantiate Your Green Marketing Claims

The FTC is becoming ever more vigilant on pursuing those who mislead consumers on the "green" attributes of their products. While homes are very different than cleaning products and other consumer goods, find out why Home Innovation’s NGBS Green certification program offers a safe haven for builders to deliver consumers green, high performance homes, and not run afoul of the FTC.

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Green Building, Marketing

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October 9, 2015

Is It Really All About That Price? Not Likely!

Many builders mistakenly believe that green certified homes are a niche product; that only the most environmentally-conscious consumers care about green features. Instead, they reason, homebuyers are all about the sales price. Find out why, more and more, that's simply not the case.

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Green Building, Marketing, Homebuyer Preferences

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September 18, 2015

Kaizen is Key to the Success of NGBS Green

Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement; a belief that big results come from many small changes accumulated over time. In the six years since Home Innovation played a critical role in the development of the National Green Building Standard ICC-700 (NGBS) and began to offer NGBS Green Certification to the residential industry, our kaizen approach has helped drive our success.

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Green Building, Marketing

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July 10, 2015

Data Hot Off the Spreadsheets!

According to Home Innovation's latest Annual Builder Practices Survey, the home building industry is finally climbing out of the doldrums, and some exciting and unexpected opportunities are revealing themselves. For over 30 years, our annual survey and reports have tracked market shares of building material categories. Find out what the latest data tell us.

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Data and Trends, Survey Research, Building Products, Building Practices, Marketing

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June 8, 2015

Capitalizing on Growing NGBS Green Momentum

As a builder, member of Home Innovation's Board, and chair of the new NGBS Green Advisory Group, it was affirming to hear builders and developers on the Advisory Group recently discuss how NGBS Green has helped them transform their specific projects, but also to acknowledge the challenges that remain to transform the market. Quite simply, this is the value proposition of NGBS Green. It helps builders be more successful and at the same time produce buildings with greater inherent value and smaller environmental impacts. Find out more about the growing momentum of NGBS Green.

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Green Building, Marketing

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May 1, 2015

An NGBS Retrospective: 50,000 NGBS Green Certified Homes

With the 50,000th NGBS Green Certified home in our very recent past, it seemed like a perfect time to look back on what a game-changer the NGBS rating system has been to the home building industry, and celebrate the achievements of our dedicated NGBS Green Partners who have sought third-party green home certification.

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Green Building, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Building Codes, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing

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February 12, 2015

Don’t Go It Alone: Verifiers Can Help Avoid Scheduling Issues, Costly Damages

One of the most important aspects of multifamily construction is scheduling. If done properly, it can save the owner and the general contractor a lot of time, money, and frustration. But all too often, this process is not monitored closely enough. In large multi-million-dollar projects, the smallest mistakes in construction sequencing can be devastating to the project by causing costly delays, damages, and legal actions. NGBS Green Verifiers can help you plan so that a small error in scheduling doesn't result in a major catastrophe in your green building.

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Green Building, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Building Codes, Air Sealing Design, Insulation

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January 29, 2015

NGBS Bronze Cookbook: Your Winning Recipe for Green Home Building

Despite green building experts’ declarations to the contrary, a truly high-performance, green home is not always easy for builders to design and construct, and there are always additional costs involved as compared to building a code-minimum home. These are facts. But we do all that we can to make the process easier and more affordable for builders, so that more builders will build green homes and verify performance with independent, third-party verification.

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Green Building, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Building Products, Insulation

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December 26, 2014

Delivering Green for Those Defending the Red, White, and Blue

In light of the recent approval by Congress of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and specific recognition of the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) in that legislation, Balfour Beatty's Hayley King discusses how the NGBS can work well for military housing and the land on which it’s developed.

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Green Building, Marketing, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Building Codes, Building Products

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December 11, 2014

Take Advantage of New Appraisal Tool for Green Homes

Imagine a buyer expecting you to provide a proposal for a new home without knowing what size or type of home they want you to build. Ridiculous! Impossible! Well, that's not too far off from what often happens in high-performance appraisal requests. Find out how to take full advantage of the "Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum" recently issued by the Appraisal Institute to ensure your appraiser can properly value your NGBS Green Certified home by knowing the details of the construction and the high-performance features.

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Green Building, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing, Energy Performance, Survey Research

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November 26, 2014

3 Simple Green Home Marketing Rules

A recent national consumer insights study estimated that 60 percent of Americans, roughly 185 million people, are interested in green and healthy living. OK. So you build green homes. But are you doing your best to reach those green-hungry consumers? Don't go to the effort of having your home NGBS Green Certified and then keep it a secret. Following some simple green home marketing rules can help you get the most out of your commitment to green by helping buyers better understand what they will get (and what they won't be lacking) by buying a green home.

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Green Building, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing, Energy Performance, Survey Research

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November 14, 2014

Maximize the Value of Your Green Home Verification

Rigorous verification is a hallmark of NGBS Green Certification. No other green building certification has a similarly thorough verification protocol, while still being affordable. Our national network includes over 400 accredited NGBS Green Verifiers trained to inspect every conceivable residential project. An experienced verifier can help your project team get the most value out of the verification. So don't just endure verification; embrace it. After all, you are paying for it – might as well maximize the value!

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Green Building, Building Practices, Energy Performance

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November 4, 2014

5 Tips to Help Market Your Green Homes

Some builders are adamant that homebuyers don’t care about green. They rationalize this conclusion because homebuyers don’t typically ask for green features explicitly. However, market research consistently confirms that a majority of mainstream Americans do care about sustainable choices. One national consumer insights study estimates that 60 percent of Americans, roughly 185 million people, are interested in green and healthy living. So what's missing? Builders need to apply the basic tenets of effective marketing to their green home marketing -- deliver the right message to the right audience in the right way.

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Green Building, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing, Energy Performance, Survey Research

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October 17, 2014

Are You Willing to Bet it All on Energy Efficiency?

Homebuyers want much more out of their homes than just energy efficiency. The research findings proving this point are irrefutable. Yet there are still builders who put all their marketing might onto the single-point message that their homes are energy efficient and will provide a tangible, monetary payback. That's leaving a lot of unclaimed marketing chips on the table for the home features buyers value even more than energy and the related cost savings. Isn't it time to face the facts and deliver what homebuyers really want? Homes that provide a healthy place for their families, comfort, and contribute to a sustainable lifestyle — truly green homes.

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Green Building, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Insulation, Survey Research

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October 8, 2014

Local Green Home Advocacy Efforts Lead to Jobs, Market Development

Frustrated by lack of local knowledge about or interest in green home building? See how one local jurisdiction in Washington State used the National Green Building Standard as a catalyst for positive change in job creation and green home market development.

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Green Building, Energy Performance, Building Practices, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing

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September 26, 2014

Significance of a National Standard for Green Homes

The National Green Building Standard (NGBS) provides consumers a single standard by which to make informed decisions for what may be the most important, if not most expensive, purchases of their lives: their homes. With an NGBS Green Certified home, consumers rest assured that the appropriate practices and products have not only been installed, but have also passed (at least) two independent inspections by an accredited, third-party verifier. Consumers should look for the NGBS Green Certified mark to help separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to truly green homes and apartments.

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Green Building, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing, Building Practices, Energy Performance

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September 23, 2014

No Product is an Island

No home is made of just one product. And no one product within a home works without some reliance on one or more other products. Does your product play well with others? Don't be the weakest link in your clients' home systems, or get in your own way on the path to your next innovation. Understand how your product works in relation to a range of connections and assemblies by conducting non-standard testing with Home Innovation Research Labs.

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Product Testing, Building Products, Marketing, Building Codes, Energy Performance

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September 12, 2014

Don’t Get Caught Flat Footed with Market Changes

As a building product manufacturer, it’s important to base your assessment of market change on reliable data and not the latest industry hype. Find out how our product usage data helps vigilant product managers spot changes as they're beginning to happen, when there's still time to act and not just re-act.

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Data and Trends, Homebuyer Preferences, Survey Research, Building Products, Marketing, Building Practices

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September 5, 2014

Making Significant Strides on Green Home Appraisals

Too often, the value of the green features in high-performing homes have been either underestimated or overlooked during the appraisal and lending processes. This limits the ability of builders to properly differentiate themselves in the marketplace, and the ability of homeowners to get the full value of their homes in appraisals and resale pricing. But the times they are a changin’! Over the last year, important strides have been made to ensure that appraisers and lenders are equipped to recognize and value green home features.

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Green Building, Energy Performance, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing

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August 27, 2014

“R” Your Insulation Products Meeting Expectations?

With model building codes ramping up thermal envelope requirements for homes, and homebuyers becoming increasingly concerned (and knowledgeable) about managing their energy bills, both builders and buyers are scrutinizing the performance of the insulative products used in their homes. R-value is the most obvious and universal “proof point” that batt insulation will perform as expected, but how confident can you be that the R-value posted on a label actually reflects how that product will perform? Very confident … as long as the product also carries our Lab Certified mark.

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Product Testing, Building Products, Building Codes, Energy Performance, Insulation

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August 13, 2014

3 Benefits of the ANSI Process for NGBS Development

As the Sustainability Coordinator for Balfour Beatty Communities’ diverse housing portfolio, Hayley King's chief objective is to recommend and execute efficient products and services that reduce our operating costs while increasing the bottom line. Find out why she's found the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) an invaluable resource to accomplish these corporate goals, and why she values the openness, transparency, and diversity of stakeholder input in the development of the 2015 NGBS.

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Green Building, Marketing, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Building Codes, Building Products

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August 8, 2014

Which Costs More - Getting Third-Party Verification, or Not Getting It?

Compared to other national third-party green certification programs, Home Innovation’s NGBS Green Certification fees are remarkably affordable. The “bricks and sticks” costs to comply with the NGBS are also relatively affordable for most projects, due to the expansive point-based system to achieve green certification. So, verification costs end up being the biggest bucket of “added cost” for projects seeking NGBS Green Certification. But experienced NGBS Green Partner builders and developers will attest to the benefits and value that independent, third-party verification provides green projects.

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Green Building, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing, Building Practices, Energy Performance

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August 1, 2014

Prove Your Green Home Claims through Verification

As Ronald Reagan famously declared, “Trust, but verify.” We concur, especially when it comes to green home building. All good intentions aside, there is a lot of complex and interdependent building science at work behind the scenes of any high-performance home, which is why third-party verification is critical for us to have confidence declaring a project “green” via our NGBS Green certification program.

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Green Building, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing, Building Practices, Energy Performance

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July 23, 2014

NGBS Not Just for “Typical” Buyers or Renters

While we know there's increasing awareness and demand for green homes among homebuyers and renters, it's interesting to note these "typical" consumers are not the only drivers for residential green certification. Builders and developers are frequently (and pleasantly) surprised by the wide variety of projects, other than traditional home construction, to which they can apply the National Green Building Standard. Find out a little more about some unique, but practical, applications for NGBS Green Certification, such as student housing and even some hotels.

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Green Building, Energy Performance, Building Practices

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July 16, 2014

Align Your Green Home Marketing with Your Buyers' Values, Not Your Own

One of the most significant obstacles to green home building is the prevailing builder myth that ALL consumers ONLY care about energy efficiency because an energy-efficient home will cost less to operate. It's just not that simple. While many consumers do care about energy efficiency, and a portion of those care about it specifically because a more efficient home, apartment, or car will save them money, that only tells part of the story. Find out more about the other pieces of the green home marketing puzzle that builders must learn to solve.

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Green Building, Data and Trends, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing, Survey Research

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July 3, 2014

Exterior Materials Trends from Annual Builder Practices Survey

With new single-family housing starts up 16 percent from the previous year, 2013 brought some needed relief to a beleaguered industry. What did that mean for building products usage? After comparing data from our 2013 Annual Builder Practices Reports to the previous year, what we saw largely met our expectations. However, there were a few surprises that may signal some fundamental changes in builder preferences for new home materials. Take a look at what we observed for residential exterior materials.

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Data and Trends, Homebuyer Preferences, Survey Research, Building Products, Marketing, Roofing

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June 27, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Lab Director: Post-Audit Reflection

The phrase, “You’re being audited,” can strike fear into the heart of anyone. I am personally recovering from our latest lab audit, or, more accurately, our latest surveillance assessment. Unlike an IRS audit, however, the audits we undergo as an accredited third party are not at all unpleasant; in fact, they’re very beneficial. But they do take a big commitment of time and energy, and involve a certain amount of stress as our company’s credibility relies heavily on the value imbued by our accreditations. Find out what's involved and how this helps define our culture of accountability.

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Product Testing, Building Products, Building Codes

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June 25, 2014

A 50-Year Legacy of Innovation

Having just marked our 50th year in business last week, it seems like a perfect time to look back on some of the key home building innovations our team has helped to gain acceptance in the mainstream by eliminating barriers to market penetration. While there's probably no one builder who uses all these innovations, I bet most builders use at least one on a regular basis. We're proud of that legacy.

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Product Testing, Building Products, Building Practices, Building Codes, Energy Performance, Green Building

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June 18, 2014

Off the Shelf Green: Don't Reinvent the Wheel

For decades, cities have been grafting green building certifications into commercial building codes, but more and more they're doing likewise with residential building. Rather than invent yet another green code, building departments can benefit from using a proven, off-the-shelf green home building certification that can be implemented quickly and effectively. Plus, homeowners get the added benefit of having a nationally recognized green home certification, adding market value to properties in a sale or refinance.

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Green Building, Building Codes, Energy Performance, Building Practices

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June 12, 2014

The Green Building Carrot vs. Stick Debate

When the NGBS was originally developed, some builders opposed it for fear that local jurisdictions would adopt it as code, turning a voluntary, above-code program into a mandate. Those fears have been largely unfounded. A number of government agencies and a few public utilities have incentivized NGBS compliance, but very few have outright mandated the NGBS as code. Find out why Home Innovation encourages the incentive approach.

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Green Building, Energy Performance, Building Practices

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June 6, 2014

Your Building is Green - Why Isn't Your Appraisal?

For multifamily building owners, the old excuse that the appraiser "just didn't get it" when it comes to receiving a green appraisal, doesn't have the validity today that it once did. It's more a matter of owners not knowing how to properly seek an appraisal process that values green attributes. Bob Sahadi of the Institute for Market Transformation discusses the existing gaps he's seen in green multifamily building owners receiving appropriate green appraisals that reflect their buildings' inherent benefits — lower operating expenses, faster absorption, lower vacancies, and even more favorable capitalization rates.

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Green Building, Energy Performance, Building Practices, Marketing

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May 30, 2014

Conquer Conservative Builder Syndrome: Get Tested!

Product failures happen. Because they do, builders tend to stick with the “tried-and-true” building materials, believing that wise builders don’t get fooled by new product claims. So how do new products break through? Consistently, our research shows the most important factor in a builder’s decision to try a new product is confidence that the manufacturer has done the proper testing and evaluation on the product. Have your products been tested?

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Product Testing, Building Products, Marketing, Building Codes, Energy Performance

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May 28, 2014

Get Help Navigating The ‘Gray Zone’ in Green: Commercial-Grade Residential Construction

Use of the NGBS for multifamily construction has been booming over the past few years, and it's being accepted as the green program of choice at near exponential rates. All NGBS Green Verifiers are trained by Home Innovation to verify all types of green projects, but on-the-ground expertise varies. If you are transitioning from multifamily low- and mid-rise buildings to multifamily high-rise buildings, it's important to work with an NGBS Green Verifier who understands the "gray areas" and differences with this kind of project to maximize the value of your verification.

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Air Sealing Design, Building Codes, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Green Building

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May 22, 2014

Moisture Testing: An Ounce of Prevention, Better Than a Pound of Cure

Energy efficiency requirements in the building codes are becoming more and more stringent. This has lead to the unintended consequence of builders having to contend with and mitigate excess moisture in the homes they build. Making houses tighter with less air infiltration creates positive energy benefits but, unless adequate ventilation is provided in the right way, there can be moisture-related issues like mold growth. Proper moisture testing for building products is crucial to ensure they perform as manufacturers, builders, and homeowners desire.

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May 15, 2014

NGBS Keeps Builders on The Cutting Edge

It's 2014, the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is gaining ground and being accepted in many states, and it is no longer a question of "if" but "when" you will be required to meet a certain building leakage number. So if you're a home builder still asking, “Isn't it better – and greener – to just let my homes 'breathe' naturally rather than sealing them tightly and relying on mechanical ventilation?” you're in for an abrupt and rude awakening when the new code comes to town. Don't wait. The future is now. And certification to the NGBS is your best tool.

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Air Sealing Design, Building Codes, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Green Building, Insulation

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May 8, 2014

Why Provide a Green Homeowner Manual?

Homes today, especially high-performance green homes, are complex – they involve systems within systems, integrated technologies, and dozens of “pieces” or components that homeowners rely on every day. Each home component – including systems, appliances, finishes, and more – has its own make, model, serial number, user manual, warranty information, and more. A homeowners’ manual is the key to maintaining and understanding all of these components, and providing a comprehensive manual to your homeowners is the key to establishing yourself as a reliable resource for them.

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Building Products, Energy Performance, Green Building, Marketing

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May 6, 2014

Increasing Green Home Interoperability

Across the real estate transaction process, various users are obtaining and utilizing green home data for their own purposes, but that information is not necessarily translatable to other users. There's a significant lack of interoperability in the system, where everyone is speaking on different frequencies, and often even in different "languages" about green. This undermines the ability of anyone to fully and effectively communicate about green home features and have them recognized and valued throughout the process. Last week's unveiling of NAR's Green MLS Implementation Guide v1.0 is a huge step toward rectifying this situation.

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Green Building, Energy Performance, Building Practices

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May 1, 2014

Time to Rethink Canada

Some U.S. manufacturers of building materials have overlooked Canada as an important part of their market development efforts, instead concentrating on expanding their presence into new U.S. geographies or penetrating deeper into existing markets. This may have been rational, for example, in 2005 when the Canadian housing market about 1/10th the size of the U.S. market (measured in new homes completed). Last year, Canada’s housing market was about 1/5th the size of the U.S. market. The stability of the Canadian housing market is also noteworthy, and the anemic rebound of the U.S. new home market are more reasons to take a closer look at Canada.

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Data and Trends, Homebuyer Preferences, Survey Research, Building Products, Marketing, Building Practices

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April 28, 2014

Start Engaging the Apartment Renter Looking for Green Living

Consumers are crying out for ways to live green. They intrinsically believe that it’s the right thing to do. However, when faced with the most important decisions about where to live, green just can’t compete against more important criteria. That’s fine, because living green is an important part of each box prospects are looking to check. 

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April 17, 2014

Quality is Key

This week I was on a mission to purchase sneakers. I am a loyal consumer to a brand known for their technological innovations and superior performance. Given their extensive product line, I sought to narrow my choice by reading online customer reviews. What I learned was interesting, and a problem not unfamiliar to the residential construction industry: they lost control of their quality.

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April 15, 2014

Reasons to Select NGBS Land Development Certification over LEED ND

While LEED® for Neighborhood Development™ (LEED-ND) continues to hold greater name recognition, a lesser-known certification option of the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) is the Green Land Development certification. This green rating system covers the design, planning, and development of residential and mixed-use green communities. Since 2009, Home Innovation Research Labs has certified 22 land developments, representing over 1,500 lots, with nine communities currently in progress, representing 21,382 lots!

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April 10, 2014

The Pitfalls of Brand Share Studies of Construction Products

A successful year for your company may mean a couple percentage points gain in market share against your competitors. But how do you know your competitive position with any certainty? Are sudden changes in sales affecting only your company, or is the entire market or product category up or down for some reason? Since most companies' product category sales and production figures aren’t made public, companies often resort to conducting their own brand share study to answer these and other questions.

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April 7, 2014

It's Gettin' Hot in Here...

Guests who tour Home Innovation Research Labs are impressed with our sizeable Hot Box. Indeed, we have one of the largest in the country. Less brawny, but equally titillating, are our four heat flow meters. This equipment is essential to measure the thermal efficiency of insulation (and a variety of other building products), commonly measured by R-value, a measure of resistance to heat flow. And increasingly, as Professional Builder magazine recently noted, energy efficiency is table stakes for the new market.

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April 1, 2014

The End of Business as Usual

Today’s housing market presents builders and remodelers with lots of changes. More stringent energy codes. A shortage of skilled labor. Changing consumer preferences. Advanced building science technologies. Rising land and material costs. As a result, builders' and remodelers' practices are changing at a similar pace.

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March 27, 2014

How to Help Appraisers Fairly Value Home Energy Efficiency Improvements

At Elevate Energy, we design and implement efficiency programs that lower costs, protect the environment, and ensure the benefits of energy efficiency reach those who need them most. As a provider of these programs, we understand that future success is dependent upon energy efficiency becoming transparent in the real estate transaction of high performance homes.

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March 25, 2014

The Future of Green Building

Shortly after last year's USGBC GreenBuild conference, an online publication queried building professionals as to their thoughts and expectations of the future of green building. Overwhelmingly, it seemed the green building experts interviewed believed that eventually there would be no distinction between green, high-performance building and standard construction, simply because conventional construction would be so much more efficient than current industry standards. Similarly, I often hear builders opine that because energy codes have become so much more stringent, there soon will be no need for above-code green certification programs.

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March 20, 2014

Green Homes Are Expected to be Durable (Now Let’s Make Sure)

High-performance homes appeal to consumers because of their touted benefits: a healthier indoor environment, lower operating costs, and increased durability. Certainly, the benefits are compelling. But do we know if high-performance homes can live up to these elevated expectations?

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March 13, 2014

Why Use Green Products

If you are a builder or developer who is just getting started with green home construction, look no further than Home Innovation Research Labs' NGBS Green Certified product mark on product packaging and marketing materials to identify and source green building products. NGBS Green Certified products are pre-approved by Home Innovation to contribute toward a home or building meeting specific NGBS practices, and use of certified products offers labor-savings and streamlined verification to builders/developers.

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March 10, 2014

Our Credibility Is Your Currency

There is a common barrier to innovation faced by builders and product manufacturers alike. They may be certain their product or technology is superior, but can they convince relevant decision-makers to change from tried-and-true methodologies and products? The answer is yes – if they have credible and demonstrable proof to back up their claims.

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March 6, 2014

Go forward? It's the only thing to do!

It's a basic rule of business: if you're not moving forward, you get left behind – and the green building market is no exception. With the ink barely dry on the 2012 National Green Building Standard (NGBS), Home Innovation Research Labs is starting the development of the 2015 NGBS. It will take us about two years to fulfill ANSI’s demanding requirements and comprehensive process. That's why it's critical that we start early to have a completed NGBS when the market is ready.

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February 27, 2014

Survey Says…Consumers Are Looking for Green Homes

New consumer research by NAHB and GuildQuality, a leading provider of customer satisfaction surveying for the residential building industry, offers unique insight into how green homeowners feel about their homes – particularly regarding overall satisfaction and promotion.

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February 20, 2014

Making it Easier for Consumers to Go Green

Home Innovation Research Labs began to certify homes and multifamily buildings to the NGBS in 2009. Since then, we have certified over 30,000 homes and lots as NGBS compliant; and have almost 50,000 homes registered as seeking certification. Until recently, however, we have not had an effective way to reach consumers. A new and exciting partnership with Porch.com will help us overcome that challenge.

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February 13, 2014

How Likable (& Effective) Are Your Building Product Ads?

I saw an ad recently that was so good I watched it several times on the DVR. It not only made me feel more positive about the brand, it made me want to use the brand more often. Don’t you hope all the ads you have a hand in crafting are this effective? We can help.

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February 6, 2014

Innovation is Our ROI

We are an enigma -- a for-profit operating as an independent subsidiary of a non-profit. At the same time, our by-laws outline a corporate mission of research and development aimed at increasing the affordability, and improving the quality and performance of homes nationwide. Our mission appears to belie our for-profit organizing principle, but it actually offers insight into barriers to innovation within the residential construction industry. Find out how we help clients navigate those challenges.

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January 30, 2014

Looking Forward to GSA Taking Leadership Role in Green Housing

With all the work GSA has done recently to establish leadership in sustainable commercial building and development, there's reason to be optimistic and anticipate similar leadership on their part in regard to green housing. Find out why I'm hopeful.

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January 23, 2014

Walk It or Work It: The Eternal Trade Show Question

Is it best to take total control of your business experience at the upcoming International Builders' Show and walk the floor, or should you work the booth and make something of whoever comes your way? Or maybe both? It really depends on your objectives. Find out how to make the best decision for your company.

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January 16, 2014

2014: A “Race to Zero” Odyssey

The next generation of housing industry professionals has to be better trained to deliver the home of the future. The DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition is part of this important transformation process toward creating better homes and communities.

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January 9, 2014

5 Green Home Building Trends from 2013

2013 was a year marked with change and innovation in the world of green. Find out about some of the leading trends we saw in our green home certification program.

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January 2, 2014

Going to the Source: On-Site Market Research at IBS

Are you planning to do focus groups at IBS? Shouldn't you be? The attendees will represent everyone from the guys who pound the hammers, to the guys who make the multi-million dollar deals, and everyone in between. Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to get their insights on your products.

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December 26, 2013

The Calendar Year is Ending But Opportunity Springs Eternal - What's Your Next Opportunity?

It’s not always easy to collect the right kind of information from the right kind of respondents for the residential construction industry. But with 50 years of expertise on the ins and outs of the housing industry, we have the know-how to overcome the potential difficulties that come with getting meaningful, actionable data.

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December 19, 2013

Student Design Teams "Race to Zero" in DOE's Challenge Home Competition

In mid-December, we closed out registration for the DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition. The response we got from colleges and universities across North America was really inspiring — all told, 32 teams have stepped up to the challenge in DOE's "race to zero" in energy-efficient home designs. Find out more.

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November 28, 2013

Green Homebuyers (Still) Not Willing to Give Up Comfort, Convenience

Over the past decade, we've undertaken dozens of market research projects to uncover what consumers know or don't know, like or dislike, want or don't want in green homes. Find out what insights this long-ranging look at consumer preferences has given me, and some of the most meaningful and easy remedies to barriers that might confront builders heading down the green home path.

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November 21, 2013

Up Close and Personal with "The Racker"

While its name might conjure up images of a middle ages torture machine or a modern-day MMA move, our "Racker" is actually used to understand the shear wall performance of building assemblies. Find out what makes this custom piece of test equipment particularly well-suited for ensuring structural systems are up to the test.

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November 14, 2013

What You Need, Is a Change of Habit!

Elvis was right. “Changes are a-comin', for these are changing days.” The housing industry is no stranger to change; many of our clients have successfully navigated the cyclical housing market. But it certainly seems the pace of change within our characteristically slow-to-change industry has accelerated.

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October 31, 2013

Multiple Units, Multiple Benefits: Multifamily Certification to the NGBS

The National Green Building Standard (NGBS) has broad applicability for projects of all sizes and designs, including single-family homes and multifamily buildings, and both new construction and rehab/remodel projects. This post breaks down perhaps the “best kept secret” of the NGBS - the option for multifamily rehab projects. 

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October 17, 2013

Not Your Average Product Torture Device: Home Innovation's Large-Scale UTM

Think all Universal Test Machines are the same? Think again. Find out more about our large-scale Southwerk-Emery UTM, one of the workhorse pieces of equipment in our product testing lab.

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October 3, 2013

Good, Fast, or Cheap - Why Choose?

The old adage says consumers can pick two — good, fast, or cheap. So if you want good + fast, the result will be expensive. Contrary to this common belief, when designing NGBS Green Certification our goal was to deliver a program that met all three criteria. Find out how we've met this goal.

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September 26, 2013

Tallahasee Community Becomes First NGBS Green Certified Student Housing Project

Continuing my series on NGBS "firsts," find out more about the first student housing community to ever be NGBS Green Certified. In keeping with market demands for multifamily development, Home Innovation now offers NGBS Green certifications for some hotels, barracks, and dorms. 

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September 19, 2013

Carpe Design: Get Ahead of the Curve in Home Design

Home design may be holding onto to tradition on the exterior, but on the inside, consumers are yearning for more and different all the time. Find out how some recent data from a builder survey may reveal where the action really is for home innovation -- after all, it's what's on the inside that counts!

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September 12, 2013

Is Green Certification Worth the Cost?

Is just building a high-performing home enough? Is there value in a third-party validation that what you say about the homes you build is actually true? Find out more about how NGBS Green certification is not just an added cost on your bottom line, but an added, marketable value to the products you offer consumers.

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September 5, 2013

Putting Cabinets Through Their Paces

Ever sneak a peak at what's inside your neighbor's cabinet? Not to be creepy, just to see if they were KCMA Certified. Let us quell your curiosity by telling you a little more about the third-party product testing we provide to give KCMA confidence in the products that bear their mark.

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August 29, 2013

First Small Remodel Project Becomes 2012 NGBS Green Certified

Continuing my series on 2012 NGBS "firsts," this post talks about the first basement remodel to ever be "NGBS Green Certified." Small/functional/area remodel certifications are a new option that had not been available in the previous version of the NGBS. 

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August 22, 2013

First Emerald-Level 2012 NGBS Green Certified Home

Continuing my series on 2012 NGBS "firsts," find out more about the first home in the country to achieve Emerald, the highest certification level under the new standard. 

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August 15, 2013

First 2012 NGBS Green Certified Single-Family Home

This summer, two single-family homes and a remodeled basement became the first projects certified by Home Innovation to the 2012 version of the NGBS. Check out this first post in my blog mini-series about the first single-family home that was 2012 NGBS Green Certified. 

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August 8, 2013

Don’t Hide Behind the Fine Print. Stand Behind Your NGBS Green Certified Home.

Consumers hate fine print, for good reason. Now, in addition to the extra level of quality NGBS Green Certified homes already provide, there's even more reason for builders of these homes not to hide behind fine print and stand behind their homes with the Bonded Builders Warranty Group Residential Energy Guarantee. 

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July 25, 2013

Look for the Home Innovation Label

As new and improved building products come onto the market, how do you know what's going to stand the test of time? It's easy — just look for the Home Innovation Lab Certified mark.

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July 18, 2013

Cost is Not Always King: Builders Look for Value When Increasing R-Value

While cost is always a factor with home builders, we've seen through data collected in our Annual Builder Practices Survey that value is often an overriding consideration. See what we've found for how builders address the cost vs. value equation when increasing R-value in their new homes.

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June 20, 2013

What is an NGBS Green Certified Product?

One of the barriers to green certified housing is the ability for architects, builders, and remodelers to find products that help their project attain certification. That's why Home Innovation Labs created our NGBS Green Certified Products Program. 

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June 13, 2013

Now's the Time to XYQ (Examine Your Quality)

The impending growth of the housing market will likely require builders and contractors to do some hiring. New staff means training and quality management challenges (and opportunities) ahead. Before the market shifts into full gear, now may be the best time to XYQ - examine your quality - to position yourself for the rebound.

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June 6, 2013

6 Reasons to Choose NGBS Green Certification Over LEED

Despite having tens of thousands of green home certifications under out belt, the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) and Home Innovation's NGBS Certification Program are still not as well-known as LEED. Find out why NGBS is still the best choice.

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May 23, 2013

The Modern Crawlspace: No Rot, Mold, or Bugs About It!

The IRC now has provisions for unvented crawlspaces, which can be practical, energy-efficient options for those building in hot-humid climates. But what's the best way to build these types of crawlspaces? Our new builder resources can help.

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May 9, 2013

To Park or Not To Park: The Real Value of Garages (Part 3)

In this third and final in our series discussing our recent consumer survey on garages, I cover some of the "wish list" items consumers say would help them enjoy their garages more. There are potential market opportunities for product manufacturers and other industry professionals.

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April 25, 2013

To Park or Not To Park: The Real Value of Garages (Part 2)

In this second of a three-part series, find out some of the demographic differences we found in terms of how people use their garages. There are potential market opportunities both in what has changed and in what has remained the same.

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April 18, 2013

To Park or Not To Park: The Real Value of Garages (Part 1)

We investigated all-things-garage in a recent survey commissioned by the Wall Street Journal, and found some interesting market opportunities for product manufacturers who can satisfy the garage makeover needs of today's homeowners, renters, and buyers. In this first of a three-part series, find out some of the regional and demographic differences we found in terms of garage size and type.

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April 5, 2013

2013: A Green Building Odessy

So far this is turning out to be a really transformative year for green home building generally, and the Home Innovation NGBS Green Certification program specifically. Find out why. 

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March 21, 2013

Attention to Detail Pays Off in Product Testing

Quarter-inch by quarter-inch, nail by nail, panel by panel — our lab testing procedures "sweat the details" of every test we do to ensure our clients have comprehensive, credible, and actionable data.

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March 14, 2013

Invention vs. Innovation

What's the difference between Invention and Innovation? And why is the later more important than the former in the home building industry these days? Our newly-appointed VP of Innovation Services provides some perspective. 

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February 21, 2013

What's in a Name? More Than You Think!

And I thought it was tough naming my four kids -- that was nothing compared to renaming/rebranding our company! Find out a little more about the process that resulted in the NAHB Research Center becoming Home Innovation Research Labs. 

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February 14, 2013

NGBS 2012: What's In It For Consumers?

What does ANSI approval of the 2012 National Green Building Standard mean for home buyers and owners? Plenty ... and good! Find out more about the consumer benefits imbued in the 2012 NGBS. 

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February 7, 2013

Want Product Success? We Can Help

Like seeing your child graduate and walk across the stage, diploma in hand, it's always gratifying for us as researchers to see a building product we tested gain commercial success. Check out this example — we can do the same for you.

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January 31, 2013

How Wet is Too Wet?

It's all relative. That adage certainly holds true when considering moisture content in wood-based building materials. A retrospective on what we've found over the last five years of our investigations on moisture performance of common wall assemblies, and a call for the next round.

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January 24, 2013

Under the Hood: ANSI Standards Development Process

With the January 10th approval of the 2012 National Green Building Standard by ANSI, here's a glimpse into the practice of “due process” – a hallmark of a formal consensus process that sets the NGBS apart.

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January 18, 2013

6 Ways to Maximize Your 2013 IBS Experience

The International Builders' Show is an outstanding place to gather market intelligence and uncover current trends shaping our industry. Learn six tried and true ways to enrich your show experience from a market researcher, analyst, and IBS veteran.

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January 11, 2013

Moving to a Higher Green Standard

The 2008 National Green Building Standard has been helping transform the residential construction industry since it was published in January 2009. With the ANSI approval this week of the 2012 version of the NGBS,  I look forward to the even greater transformation to come.

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January 3, 2013

Fellowship of the New Year's Resolution

Like many, a new year has me reflecting on past accomplishments, pondering new goals, and committing to a few new resolutions. Why not make a resolution that gives you the possibility of success and provides some extra joy – resolve to build a green certified home this year.

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December 27, 2012

Drop by Drop: Water Infiltration Testing

In our wind-blown rain and air infiltration chamber we huff and puff and see what it takes to blow water into even the tiniest entry points of a home's exterior envelope. Would your products pass our rigorous testing?

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December 13, 2012

Bullish Future for Luxury Home Market?

Don’t throw in the towel on the luxury home market just yet. As single-family housing is coming back to life, some hints of a strengthening luxury home market are appearing as well. Find out what's keeping me optimistic about a bright future for building product manufacturers and suppliers.

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Data and Trends, Survey Research, Building Products, Building Practices, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing

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December 6, 2012

Multifamily is Hot. Why Green Certify?

The multifamily market is booming and the forecast is bright. So why is voluntary green certification for multifamily also booming now? See what's driving this decision in many markets.

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Green Building, Data and Trends, Energy Performance, Homebuyer Preferences, Affordable Homes, Marketing, Survey Research

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November 22, 2012

'Tis the Season for (Percent Energy) Savings

Visions of holiday savings at the mall may be dancing through the heads of consumers across the country this Thanksgiving weekend, but I've been thinking about percent energy savings instead. What can I say? I'm an energy code geek!

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Energy Performance, Building Codes, Building Practices, Air Sealing Design, Green Building, Insulation

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November 15, 2012

Occupy Green: My 99% Solution

How can we get more builders to build green certified homes and more consumers to seek them out? So glad you asked! Weigh in on this “99% solution” toward building a brighter future for green residential.

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Green Building, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Homebuyer Preferences

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November 8, 2012

When You're Hot, You're Hot

With thermal performance requirements being ratcheted up throughout the building code, it's more important than ever to get a true sense of how the building envelope performs as a system. The Home Innovation can help with our large-scale hot box.

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Energy Performance, Product Testing, Building Products, Building Codes, Insulation

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October 25, 2012

Building Product Market Opps: Attics & Crawlspaces

What's lurking in those dark attics and creepy crawlspaces just in time for Halloween? Market opportunities, if you know what to look for. An Home Innovation Research Labs nationwide survey of builders earlier this month showed some interesting new trends in unvented attics and crawlspaces.

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Survey Research, Building Products, Marketing, Air Sealing Design, Energy Performance, Insulation

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October 18, 2012

Deck the Walls with Insulation

What's one of the "low-hanging fruits" when creating an extremely energy-efficient home? Wall insulation. Be sure not to overlook some of the best practices in this area that can get you closer to your high-performance home goals.

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Energy Performance, Green Building, Building Practices, Insulation

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October 11, 2012

It's Hip to be Square Footage Savvy

The Home Innovation Research Labs recently ushered the ANSI square footage standard through a regular review and updating process. Are you confident in your ability to assess square footage? This standard can be a huge benefit.

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Building Practices, Building Codes

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October 4, 2012

Got Third-Party Certification?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued updated Green Guides earlier this week that emphasize the value of third-party certifications in minimizing potential consumer confusion and "greenwashing." A must-read for those who market their homes as green.

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Marketing, Green Building, Energy Performance, Data and Trends, Homebuyer Preferences

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September 27, 2012

What's New in the 2012 NGBS?

The next version of the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard is soon to make the scene in the home building industry. Find out what has changed from the 2008 version.

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Green Building, Building Codes, Building Practices, Energy Performance

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September 20, 2012

Tried & True: Home Innovation Lab TESTED

In the highly competitive building product market, find out how Home Innovation Research Labs is helping manufacturers highlight the "gee-whiz" product attributes that set them apart from the competition.

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Product Testing, Building Products, Homebuyer Preferences

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September 13, 2012

5 Things You Don't Know About the National Green Building Standard

Think all green rating systems are the same? Think again. Let's set the record straight on some common “unknowns” about the National Green Building Standard and continue the important business of building truly green certified homes and apartments.

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Green Building, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Marketing, Affordable Homes

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September 6, 2012

Effective Green Messaging for New Homes

Don't be fooled – just because prospective homebuyers don't ask for "green" specifically, doesn't mean they don't want the benefits that living in a green home can provide. A homebuyer survey we conducted earlier this year proves that green marketing can be very successful as long as you don't leave the meaning of green open to interpretation.

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Green Building, Survey Research, Marketing, Homebuyer Preferences

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August 30, 2012

Bound for Net Zero

There are lots of ways to describe a net-zero home. But no matter the terminology, there is a real-world proven methodology that Home Innovation Labs has used successfully with builders and remodelers across the country to achieve net-zero – it could work for you too.

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Energy Performance, Green Building, Building Practices, Insulation, Solar Energy

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August 23, 2012

An Open Invitation to the Home Building Industry

Many know Home Innovation Research Labs for our product testing and certification marks, but here are some examples why we’re much more than just a pretty certification label. The invitation is open – get to know us!

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Tagged:
Building Codes, Building Practices, Building Products, Product Testing, Affordable Homes

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August 16, 2012

Do Customers Really Care About Green?

A recent shopping trip highlighted some very salient elements about marketing "green" to consumers – find out my lessons learned.

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Green Building, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing

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August 9, 2012

To Vent or Not to Vent - Perhaps No Longer an Option

Mechanical ventilation has become a must-do in most parts of the country with the implementation of the 2012 IECC. What do you need to know?

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Air Sealing Design, Energy Performance, Building Practices

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August 2, 2012

Don't Get Caught in A Tight Spot - Pay Attention to Air Sealing

The Home Innovation is helping builders and manufacturers prepare for more stringent air sealing requirements in the 2012 IECC.

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Air Sealing Design, Building Products, Energy Performance, Insulation

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July 26, 2012

Rockin' The Suburbs

Suburbia, which has taken its share of criticism from planners, is still the preferred housing location of a majority of households, according to Harvard's latest state of housing report. Some builders and developers are quieting the suburban critics by doing it right.

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Building Practices, Green Building, Homebuyer Preferences, Marketing

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July 19, 2012

Survey Says... Consumer Austerity Fading, Efficiency Rising

Our Annual Builder Practices Survey shows a return to some pre-recession higher-end preferences and an increase in energy efficiency practices.

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Building Products, Building Practices, Energy Performance, Homebuyer Preferences

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July 12, 2012

NTER-active New Training Platform for Energy Efficiency

A new online training platform is hoping to become a one-stop-shop for interactive energy efficiency training.

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Energy Performance, Solar Energy, Building Practices

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July 5, 2012

Turn Your Homeowner's Manual into a Marketing Opportunity

Turn the Homeowner’s Manual that is required for NGBS green certification from a challenge into an opportunity with these five easy steps you can start doing today.

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Marketing, Green Building, Building Practices

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June 28, 2012

It Takes a Research Center

Moving new technologies into the marketplace is a difficult and daunting task. Usually, the risks are perceived by the private sector to be too excessive given the potential rewards, and opportunities to advance technologies aren’t pursued. That's where we come in.

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Building Practices, Marketing