Green Industry Ambassador: Simone Dadsetan

In this new segment, Green Industry Ambassador, we’re introducing green building professionals that are going above and beyond, paving the way for greener homes in California. Green Industry Ambassador recognizes these professionals for their commitment to green building, holding themselves and their work to higher standards, and educating others on how they can live better, improve their home’s impact on their families, communities, and the planet.

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1878 Napa Victorian Farmhouse Goes GreenPoint Rated

“When the sellers of a recently renovated Victorian farmhouse came to me, I thought you know, I think this home is a green home, and if not we could be really close,” said Kimberly Kinsel, a full-time REALTOR®️ in the Napa Valley Area of California with a National Association of Realtors (NAR) Green Designation and GreenPoint Rated Training.  The farmhouse, built in 1878, by Zenas Garfield, a Napa County Supervisor, was originally built on more than five hundred acres of orchard.  The family that owns the home bought it almost 50 years ago, and began renovations in 2017 and completed in 2018. Although the renovations were meant to bring the home into the 21st century, the owners were careful to preserve and replicate as many of the charming Victorian era details as possible. Read more

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GreenPoint Rated Home Presented to Deserving Family on HGTV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”

Photo: Darren Keefe, left, and Carrie Locklyn, right, design team members of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” after the unveiling of the Clovis Home.

After only 96 hours of construction, CalFire captain and widower Nick Reeder and his family now have the keys to their new home. The work started after Reeder found out he was the recipient of HGTV’s new season of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” show. The Extreme Makeover crew surprised him at his apartment and work on the home proceeded round-the-clock finishing Sunday, Aug. 4th. The show built a completely new home for its recipient located in Clovis, California in the De Young Properties neighborhood, The Highlands, near Shaw and Highland avenues.

Photo: Nick Reeder, left, holds his GreenPoint Rated certificate presented to him by Christopher Becker, Right, Director of Program Services for GreenPoint Rated.

Reeder’s late wife, Amanda Sawyer, died upon giving birth to twins Kaia and Kelce in April 2018. The family was living in a 900-square foot apartment, with Reeder’s 3-year old daughter, twins and mother. The show typically has remodeled an existing home or torn one down and rebuilt it completely for its selected recipient. But in this case they decided to build a home from the ground up in only 96 hours. 

“Building a single home is a process that takes months, but we knew after hearing the Reeder family’s story, how important this mission was. This project wasn’t about building a house it was about building a place that the Reeder family could call home,” said Ryan De Young, President of De Young Properties.

Reeder also had a chance to thank everyone involved for their support after the unveiling. “This week has been a whirlwind but I am so grateful and I can see the puzzle pieces being put back together,” said Reeder. 

California Homeowners: How Green Is Your Home? Use our quick and easy Green Home Calculator to find out! 

The De Young Properties are long-time advocates of green building and wanted to offer the Reeder family a healthy, sustainable home, using the GreenPoint Rated system. The home achieved a GreenPoint Rated “Silver” status (higher energy compliance of 27%) and was reviewed using the standards of our Single-Family New home label.

Some of the features include:

  • Resource Efficient Landscaping
  • WaterSense Bathroom Fixtures
  • Reduced Light Pollution
  • ENERGY STAR® Dishwasher
  • ENERGY STAR® Dryer
  • SizeEfficient ENERGY STAR® Refrigerator
  • Third-Party Verification of Quality Insulation
  • No Fireplace or Sealed Gas Fireplace
  • Supply and Return Air Flow Testing
  • Meet ASHRAE Ventilation Residential Standards

A GreenPoint Rated label represents the gold standard in green homes and proves the home was built to trusted environmental standards and evaluated by a certified GreenPoint Rater. “It is like a report card for green homes that scores the home with categories, including energy and water conservation, indoor air quality, sustainable building materials and community benefits,” said Christopher Becker, Director of Program Services for GreenPoint Rated. 

The episode is set to air sometime early in 2020 on HGTV. 

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Beautiful Energy-Efficient GreenPoint Rated Home, Showcases the Health and Comfort Benefits of Green Homes

This recently listed energy-efficient home received a GreenPoint Rated Elements Existing Home Label, GreenPoint Rated’s new existing home label that represents the gold standard in green homes. It proves that your home remodel was built to trusted environmental standards and evaluated by a certified GreenPoint Elements Rater. The home showcases the health and comfort benefits that you would expect from a green home such as energy-efficient appliances and energy-saving features including:

  • Energy Star washer
  • Dishwasher low-flow faucets
  • Low-flow toilet
  • Solar + Tesla power wall
  • Detached garage
  • Efficiency drip irrigation 
  • Mulched plant beds
  • Energy Star ceiling fans
  • LED lighting 
  • Lighting controls throughout the house
  • Hardwood floors throughout the house
  • Range hood vents to the outside
  • Bathroom fans vent to the outside

The interest was immediate for the home with:

  • Multiple offers within 48-hours
  • The sellers are in escrow with an accepted offer above the list price

The home even received an offer letter that specifically stated their enthusiasm with the green home label. “After learning what it meant to be a GreenPoint Rated [home], we are thrilled to have the opportunity of owning such a sustainable home,” said one potential buyer.

Green home labels are a great way to promote your listings, differentiating them as higher-quality, which may help you to sell listings faster and for more.

California Homeowners: How Green Is Your Home? Use our quick and easy Green Home Calculator to find out! 

Learn more about our GreenPoint Rated trainings and other offerings for real estate professionals here, and more information for homeowners here.

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Why Going Green Is a Win-Win: A Homeowner’s Perspective

Redondo Beach GreenPoint Rated Home

Redondo Beach GreenPoint Rated Home

Last summer, an endurance athlete from Arizona named Erin and her husband purchased a GreenPoint Rated townhome in Redondo Beach. The home’s unique design and construction promised its owners a smarter, cleaner home with lower energy bills.

About the Home
Built by local green developer Fred Koch, the 1,800-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath townhome is a contemporary craftsman just a few blocks from the beach along Highway 1. It was Erin and her husband’s first home purchase. They had previously rented what Erin describes as a 1930s-era, energy-sucking apartment.

“I was already in love with the place when I saw it,” says Erin, “but the greenness made me feel really great about buying it.”

Standout Features
Aside from the home’s open layout and excellent location, several green features stood out at once to Erin:

  • clean, vibrant, LED lighting
  • tankless water heater
  • low-flow toilets
  • drought-tolerant landscaping with succulents

Other green features were built right into the home and can’t be easily seen, although they contribute significantly to the home’s durability and energy efficiency:

Fly ash concrete
Made with the ash “waste” that is captured during coal production, this concrete is stronger and has a more sustainable bond than Portland cement.

Cement board
Used for siding, cement board is stronger than wood, energy efficient, and practically maintenance free.

The “heat island effect” can cause the membrane found on rooftop and balcony decks to separate from drain systems, which can lead to expensive water damage. Instead of roof drains, the home uses scuppers supported by rain gutters to manage exterior water flow.

Fence metal
Metal flashing protects the wood fencing from absorbing water, preventing deterioration.

Climate-rated house wrap
Using house wrap rated to the appropriate climate zone allows a home to “breathe” properly.

Why Buy Green?
Now that Erin and her husband have lived in the home for a few months, the things that bring the couple the most pleasure are how light and airy the home is, the outdoor spaces, and the open layout for entertaining—all of which were thoughtfully designed with comfort and performance in mind.

Erin professes love for the home’s water-efficient master bath, although she confides that low-flow toilets don’t flush as powerfully as she’d like.

She’s pleased to report that her water and electric bills are comparable to their rental, which was considerably smaller than the townhouse.

“It’s a win-win,” says Erin. “You’ll reduce your daily impact on the environment and use less water, which we all know is massively important right now. And you’ll reduce your electricity and water bills.

“I wouldn’t want another place that’s not green,” she adds. “It’s a crime not to build green homes like this one going forward.”

Want to Know More about GreenPoint Rated?


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South Bay Builder Rides Wave of Green in Hermosa Beach

Hermosa Beach in winter (estrategy@en.wikipedia)

Hermosa Beach in winter. Photo credit: estrategy@en.wikipedia

The quiet beachfront community of Hermosa Beach is getting noticed as an up-and-coming destination for green building in Southern California, and the arrival of South Bay developer Fred Koch is a case in point.

Koch is building a duplex that is exceptional not only for its energy efficiency and sweeping ocean views, but for its ground-breaking green certification in Hermosa Beach. The property is the first to take advantage of a city incentive that awards a 50% rebate on building plan check fees for achieving a green building certification. No other city in the South Bay offers such an incentive, but no developer has taken advantage of it before Koch.

“Hermosa Beach is leading the way for other cities,” says Koch. “The city both values and incentivizes green building. It’s walking the walk and talking the talk.”

GreenPoint Rated Certification

Koch’s dramatic new residence will achieve the GreenPoint Rated certification for its all-around excellence in energy efficiency, water and resource conservation, indoor air quality, and community siting. Koch is a big fan of the GreenPoint Rated system. “It’s the most user friendly system for both the end user and the builder,” he says, adding that GreenPoint Rated is tailored for California-related issues and requirements to move the industry above California code in a way that other certification systems are not.



Rendering of Koch’s GreenPoint Rated home at 651 10th Street in Hermosa Beach

Whole House Design

Koch designed the Hermosa Beach project with Kevin Stringfield of Robert C. Stringfield Architects, with whom he worked on a green home in nearby Redondo Beach. Koch and Stringfield evaluate each component of the house and determine what energy efficient features represent the best value for the customer.

For example, Stringfield helped turn the building’s least energy-efficient attributes – sliding glass doors with panoramic views of the ocean – into green assets.

“To optimize the view of the ocean, the living areas were placed on the second floor with wrap-around decks and glass doors,” says Stringfield. But, as most builders know, glass is an energy-efficiency liability: Large amounts of glazing and lack of insulation lead to heat loss, as well as increased solar heat.

“These doors — and how they are arranged along the west and south sides — became the most important aspect of the building in terms of design, structure and climate control.” Koch and Stringfield minimized heat gain by adding appropriately sized overhangs above the doors. They also reduced the size of the doors from the original design to increase the insulation along the walls and allow room for the required structure.

“The prevailing wind is from the west, and having such a large amount of operable windows and doors facing that direction allows the occupants to passively cool the house,” explains Stringfield.

Sustainable Materials

While the wraparound deck was particular to the Hermosa Beach property, other energy efficient features are part and parcel of Koch’s buildings. For example:

  • Fly ash: Fly ash concrete, which is made with the ash “waste” that is captured during coal production, offers a stronger and sustainable bond than Portland cement. Koch says he uses it in all of his projects.
  • Cement board: Koch favors cement board over virgin wood or vinyl for siding. It’s stronger than wood, energy efficient, and practically maintenance free. “The price point is the same,” he adds.
  • LEDs: “They are a cleaner light, both in terms of the quality of light and energy use,” says Stringfield.

“This project fits nicely into the personality of what Hermosa Beach residents want: clean, safe, healthy homes,” explains Koch. “It’s a population that’s going to appreciate what we’re doing. They have a passion for these features more than other folks in other cities.”

Kudos to Stringfield and Koch for going beyond the minimum code requirements, for earning a GreenPoint Rated certification and for understanding the benefits of building green.

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Historic California Hotel to Get GreenPoint Rated

One of Oakland, CA’s most historic hotels has just celebrated a grand reopening — and will soon boast an impressive GreenPoint Rated certification. On May 15, 2014, the GreenPoint Rated team joined the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC), Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, StopWaste staff and many others gathered to celebrate this achievement.

Built in 1929, the California Hotel is a treasured part of Oakland’s rich cultural history. Acquired by EBALDC in 2011, the building has undergone extensive renovation, including many green and energy efficiency upgrades. Today, it provides 137 homes that are affordable and modern. And as the GreenPoint Rated label affirms — safe, healthy, and green as well. The hotel is in the final stages of achieving its certification, which will be awarded soon. Congratulations to EBALDC!

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Financing Makes It Easy to Green Your Next Home

It’s easy to fall in love with a fixer-upper, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer on a budget.  You see the character, charm, and potential of a home, but worry about the costs to modernize and upgrade it, right?

You’ve got more options than you think. The best time to undertake green home improvements — to transform a fixer into a comfortable home with lower utility bills — is during your new home purchase process. A new generation of innovative programs allows you to finance the cost of your renovations through your mortgage. That means one mortgage, one closing, and no additional money down. Talk to your lender about the following options:

FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage
Finance the cost of improvements through a current or new FHA mortgage for 1-4 unit existing single family homes and condos, with no additional income qualification or cash down. Can be used for a range of upgrades, from HVAC modifications to insulation and windows.

FHA 203k Loan
Finance a broad range of repairs and renovations—including energy efficiency upgrades—up to $35,000 for the 203 streamline or $150,000 for the 203K full. Improvements must be completed within 120 days of closing.

Escrow Holdback
This conventional financing option can fund up to 10% of the improved value of the home, or $25,000. Upgrades must be completed within 30 days of closing.

Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage
This conventional home loan provides a convenient way for borrowers to make renovations, repairs, or improvements totaling up to 50 percent of the as-completed value of the property.

Fannie Mae HomePath Renovation Mortgage (REO or Real Estate Owned properties)
This conventional home loan provides an additional 20 percent of the purchase price or $30,000, whichever is less, to pay for a wide range of repairs to HomePath-branded homes owned by Fannie Mae.

Jumbo Renovation
Finance up to $250,000 in major renovations through your mortgage, from green upgrades to kitchen and bathroom remodels. Can be used only for primary, owner-occupied residences


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KB Home: The Leading GreenPoint Rated Home Builder in 2013

In December 2013, the nonprofit Build It Green honored KB Home with a GreenPoint Rated Award for its leadership and dedication to residential green building. By committing to build all of its Northern California homes to the high standards of GreenPoint Rated — the most trusted home rating system in California — KB Home is helping to change the way homes are designed, built, and remodeled.

Steven Bull of KB Home accepts the GreenPoint Rated Award.

Among production builders, KB Home boasts the highest volume of GreenPoint Rated projects, with more than 1,000 in the pipeline, 600 of which are slated for 2014. KB Home has worked hard to educate potential homebuyers on the benefits and qualities of green homes. The bottom line: KB Home is proving that a beautiful, high-quality, and comfortable home is also a green, efficient, and money-saving home!

Browse KB Home Communities >>


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Congrats to Our GreenPoint Rated Award Winners for 2013

Congratulations to the City of Palo Alto for winning a GreenPoint Rated Award in the Public Sector category.

Seven organizations win GreenPoint Rated Awards in recognition of their dedication to residential green building and reducing the impacts of climate change

Dec. 12, 2013

The nonprofit Build It Green has announced seven GreenPoint Rated Award winners for 2013, each selected for their leadership in residential green building in California. These winners are changing the way homes are designed, built, and remodeled—all to the high standards of GreenPoint Rated, the most trusted independent home rating system in California.

Congratulations to the 2013 Winners:

  • Community Builder of the Year: KB Home of Northern California
  • Affordable Builder of the Year: Eden Housing
  • Visionary Builder of the Year: Southern California Edison/ ABC Green Home Builders
  • Custom Builder of the Year: Joe LoConte – Olivewood Builder /Green Building Specialists
  • Green Building Leader in the Public Sector: City of Palo Alto
  • Home Performance Contractor of the Year: Mark Hensley – Building Doctors, Inc.
  • GreenPoint Rater of the Year: Dave Hegarty – DuctTesters, Inc.

“We’re proud to recognize these innovative and forward-thinking organizations for playing a key role to mainstream green building practices,” said Catherine Merschel, Build It Green Executive Director. “These professionals are showing that greener buildings aren’t just good for the environment—they provide a strong economic opportunity.”

The winners were announced Wednesday evening at the BIG Bash, Build It Green’s annual holiday party. Each year, the GreenPoint Rated Awards recognize the leading building professionals and organizations whose on-the-ground efforts are helping to transform the market for green homes—by building and remodeling homes to GreenPoint Rated standards for energy efficiency, water efficiency, indoor air quality, resource conservation, and community features.

Building by building, these professionals are moving the state of California closer to its aggressive climate and energy goals, which include reducing GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and building all new homes to net zero energy standards by 2020.

Building certified green homes is a key strategy to meet these goals. GreenPoint Rated is the most trusted independent green home certification program in California, providing proof that a home is healthy, comfortable, durable, and resource efficient. More than 21,000 homes have been rated through the program, which is administered by Build It Green. These homes have collectively saved more than 58 million kilowatt hours of electricity, 259 million gallons of water, and 103,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.

Winners of the GreenPoint Rated Awards were selected by Build It Green’s technical staff, which has worked closely with hundreds of builders, raters, contractors, and local governments. Selection criteria include the volume of GreenPoint Rated projects, GreenPoint Rated home scores, improvements in scores over time, and ability to market and message the benefits of green building.

“The GreenPoint Rated Awards honor the key actors in our industry,” said Amy Dryden, GreenPoint Rated Technical Manager. “The success of green building requires commitment from builders, progressive policies from local governments, contractors with the technical expertise to perform the work, and raters to verify that the work was performed correctly for maximum benefits and resource savings.”

About the GreenPoint Rated Award Winners

Community Builder of the Year: KB Home of Northern California

KB Home of Northern California has made a strong commitment to building green, high-quality homes—all of which are GreenPoint Rated. Among production builders, KB Home boasts the highest volume of GreenPoint Rated projects, with more than 1,000 in the pipeline, 600 of which are slated for 2014. KB Home has invested in marketing and communications efforts to educate potential homebuyers on the benefits of green homes—a key tactic necessary to transform the marketplace. This effort includes sales training for their staff and a co-branded online advertising campaign with Build It Green that delivered 6.4 million impressions.

Affordable Builder of the Year: Eden Housing
Eden Housing continues to build and rehabilitate green, high-efficiency multifamily buildings, and over time its GreenPoint Rated scores have improved to consistently achieve more than 100 points, with a recent high score of 180 points. That means its buildings have more green features, deeper energy and resource savings—and they’re healthier for their tenants. Eden has participate in pilot projects and is a great supporter of Greenpoint Rated. It remains a strong advocate for creating a diversity of homes in its local communities.

Visionary Builder of the Year: Southern California Edison/ABC Green Home Builders
The ABC Green Home is a visionary demonstration project to create an “Affordable, Buildable, Certified” (ABC) home, and by all accounts it has succeeded. Southern California Edison and ABC Green Home Builders built a remarkable, inspiring and affordable all-electric net zero energy demonstration home, which sets the goal for what all new homes should strive to be. The ABC Green Home pushes the envelope with smart design and innovative systems that contributed to a final GreenPoint Rated score of 231 points—one of the top five highest scores ever.

To spread the word about the home’s design and achievements, a large outreach and marketing effort culminated in the home being featured as a main attraction at the Solar Decathlon this fall. The best part of the story? The ABC Green Home will be donated to a wounded veteran. There are two more ABC homes in the works, so we look forward to future inspiration.

Custom Builder of the Year: Joe LoConte – Olivewood Builder/Green Building Specialists
Joe LoConte first connected with Build It Green in 2007 by becoming a GreenPoint Rater, demonstrating the green building commitment of his custom builder company and bringing that expertise to the construction side. His company originally built and remodeled high-quality custom green homes, and now also performs energy upgrades and green building ratings—with excellent quality of service.

LoConte has been a longtime supporter of green building practices and GreenPoint Rated, and has mentored and educated many individuals including building professionals, building inspectors and homeowners. Over the years LoConte was an outstanding communicator to his clients on the benefits of green homes, and is dedicated to improving the industry, especially in bringing green practices to existing home remodels. Earlier this year LoConte passed away, leaving a legacy of green building achievements that will be continued by his daughter, Collette.

Green Building Leader in the Public Sector: City of Palo Alto
The City of Palo Alto is one of California’s leading green cities and sustainability innovators. To help meet its climate and energy goals, it has been a longtime advocate of GreenPoint Rated certification, which is required for new homes and certain existing home remodels. In 2013, 163 units were GreenPoint Rated certified in Palo Alto, which puts it in the top 5 jurisdictions in California. Through Greenpoint Rated, homeowners get the benefit of verified practices and Palo Alto benefits from verified results. The City is committed to achieving green building goals, and engages raters, developers, and Build It Green staff to discuss the implementation of GreenPoint Rated and make it beneficial for everyone.

Home Performance Contractor of the Year: Mark Hensley – Building Doctors, Inc.
Building Doctors, a home performance company, provides custom energy retrofits and upgrades to Southern California homeowners. A support of GreenPoint Rated since 2010, they have successfully integrated the rating system into their business model to deliver certified homes to their clients. In 2013 Building Doctors submitted 78 projects for certification, an impressive volume. Building Doctors also goes above and beyond to support their clients after these upgrades are completed: They provide comprehensive homeowner manuals that include education on operations and maintenance.

GreenPoint Rater of the Year: Dave Hegarty – DuctTesters, Inc.
A key supporter and advocate since the launch of GreenPoint Rated in 2006, DuctTesters continues to be a leader in certifying green homes across the state. Dave Hegarty, owner of DuctTesters, has continued to expand the number of Raters employed by DuctTesters, and to educate his staff on green building practices and the GreenPoint Rated processes. With more than 400 units submitted in 2013, their volume reflects this commitment. Additionally, they are working with builders to earn additional incentives though the California Advanced Homes Program for GreenPoint Rated. DuctTesters continues to work closely with GreenPoint Rated staff to ensure excellent submissions, support to their clients and achieve excellent QA results.

About Build It Green and GreenPoint Rated
Build It Green is a member-supported non-profit organization working to expand the market for green homes in California. Our mission is to promote healthy, energy- and resource-efficient building practices in California through outreach and education. Learn more at

GreenPoint Rated is the most trusted independent home rating system in California, for proof that a home is healthy, comfortable, durable, and energy efficient. More than 20,000 homes have been rated through the program, administered by Build It Green. Learn more at

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