Vicki and Frank Fanta built Nebraska’s first National Association of Home Builder’s top-rated emerald certified home. There are only 90 residential structures with emerald certification, which means that they are 60 percent more efficient than housing code requirements. The Fanta’s rancher looks like other houses in the neighborhood, but includes high-performance, energy-saving features such as the way the house is situated in relation to the sun, carpeting made of recycled material, insulation, CFL bulbs, dual-flush toilets, a rain barrel, compost center, and low-flow faucets. Since 2009, 4,500 single-family homes and 5,800 apartments have met National Green Building Standards, as more people recognize the cost-effectiveness and comfort green buildings provide. In Omaha and Lincoln, 1,000 residents have signed up for the reEnergize Program to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes. Green homes comprised 17 percent of residential construction last year, and are expected to grow to 29 percent to 38 percent by 2016, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Home buyers are willing to pay more for green building methods, according to 61 percent of builders surveyed. The builder of the Fanta’s house says a triple certification of Energy Star, Indoor airPlus, and the NAHB green standard adds an additional five percent to the cost of building a home, which owners recoup in lower energy and water costs. | Read More