Both programs require third-party rating and verification, both programs have levels of required qualifications, and both programs focus on energy savings.
The primary difference is that Energy Star® concentrates on the energy efficiency of the final product (how much energy is required to operate and maintain the residence) while Green includes the energy required to manufacture the building materials, the energy required to construct the residence and the energy required to operate and maintain the residence. For example, credit is given to materials manufactured locally, because the fuel cost to deliver the materials is reduced. Green also includes sustainability, such as the use of wood from forests that are harvested in a way that makes the forest “renewable,” and recycling, such as using the wood chips from the sawmill to manufacture Oriented Strand Board (OSB).
Several Green Programs are available across the country. The Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA) has developed a Green Program called Green Built Gulf Coast (GBGC). These programs all require third-party rating of the home design and specifications. The rating is based on a point system. During construction, third-party inspections and testing take place to ensure that the design criteria have been met. Whiteley & Whiteley has the ability to provide the third party raters with complete plans and specifications sufficient to qualify the design for green certification. Once a home has passed all the inspections and testing, the home is certified Green.
Typically, Green Programs have four levels of certification: bronze, silver, gold and platinum (or emerald).
You can learn more about green design and construction at www.greenbuiltgulfcoast.org.