This is the dilemma that many builders or people wanting to build their next “green dream home” are facing. But, what is the different? Is it not the same? Well, is NOT.

To start with, I’d like to go on record that I prefer any of these two options as oppose to building a home just meeting the minimum energy code requirements. Both approaches are at least trying to deliver a home that is sensible to the environment, that will be respectful to the use of manufacture materials and natural resources, and that will ultimate produce a home that will perform better than your average new home.

The difference between the two approaches is that a Certified Green Home is third-party verified by a qualify individual during the construction process. While, and Eco-Friendly home depends on the knowledge of the builder about green building, and that will vary greatly depending on the training that it has.

Typically, a certified green home will at least undergo what is call a and gather a wide variety of information from the stake holders in order to reproduce the home’s energy model. This model will generate a HERS index, which is the measuring stick for how efficient a home is.

Energy Efficiency is just one part of sustainability, but is the core of any green building program. After the energy model is done, then a rater will focus, depending on the chosen green building program, on other areas such as water conservation (indoor/outdoor), indoor air quality, lighting efficiency and more.

The importance here is that by certifying a green home, you are working hand by hand with someone who has gone through  intensive and multiple training and have gain many credentials that make them an expert in their field. More importantly, they view a home as a system and understand the building science behind it, and the interaction between each component.

So, if you are undecided on what to do. I first encourage you to find a HERS rater that can put you in touch with a builder that at least has gone some “green training”, and get your green team up and running. As an alternative, you can work with organization such as the Imery Group, where we have undergone the intensive training of a HERS rater since we provide third party verification services for Energy Star and EarthCraft House but also have an award winning green construction division.

In a nutshell, a certified green home, is the only way you can know how sustainable your new home is, the rest is just a guessing game.