Home Innovation Insights

Insights from NGBS Green Verifier Sara Collier.

Michelle Foster
May 21, 2021

Voice of the Verifier: Sara Collier, NGBS Green Verifier

Sara Collier, Southern Energy ManagementAbout Me: 

  • I am an NGBS Green Accredited Verifier and HERS Rater for single-family new construction with Southern Energy Management (SEM) in Raleigh, N.C.
  • I have a degree in Sustainability Technologies from Central Carolina Community College, where I now teach Building Science as an adjunct instructor.
  • I became a Verifier because many of SEM’s builder clients want to set themselves apart in a robust housing market by offering a high performance, healthier home that is better for the homeowner and the environment. The builders I work with understand that third-party certification is essential to achieve their performance goals and create confidence for their buyers.

As the Southeast’s rooftop solar and building performance experts, Southern Energy Management improves the way people make and use energy. We are passionate about using business as a force for good, through innovation and leadership in energy and construction. As a Certified B Corporation, we hold ourselves to a higher standard through third-party validation, and we understand that good data and transparency are critical to maximize our impact.

Q: Why do you recommend NGBS Green for your clients’ projects?

A: NGBS is a great certification to demonstrate that, as a builder, you are selling a product that has been thoughtfully designed with long-term benefits in mind. The home not only costs the homeowner less to operate because of lower energy and water consumption, but also provides health and wellness benefits, and increased durability over time.

Q: What does the Verifier do behind the scenes?

A: As the NGBS impacts many steps in the construction process, involving many different trades, your NGBS Green Verifier can provide the expertise to identify any potential issues that may hinder your performance or sustainability goals. The verifier is the connection between the ideal certification level you have chosen and the practical implementation of those points. She can provide best practices to use, and can demonstrate how small details can provide great and lasting results. Applying Building Science principles to every system in the home, and knowing how these systems work together, she can predict where there could be heat loss, moisture issues, or indoor air quality problems. For example, spotting any air sealing or insulation defects before drywall is installed can prevent future comfort or building durability issues, which means more customer satisfaction, and fewer warranty calls.

Q: When do you recommend clients engage a green verifier?

A: Meeting with your Verifier during the design phase is important. The Verifier will review building material choices, lot preparation and maintenance, and building processes throughout construction. Your Verifier should be able to help you navigate the NGBS Green Scoring Tool, identify where points toward certification can be claimed, ensure you can proceed with confidence, and avoid any certification shortfalls. Your Verifier has a big picture view of your goals for the project from start to finish, and can help you make the best and most appropriate choices for your project along the way. By meeting with your verifier early, you can avoid delays and create a good game plan to make sure that the certification process is efficient and pain-free!

Thanks for your insights, Sara! Check back for more “Verifier Takeover” posts in the Home Innovation Insights blog in the coming weeks.


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