Environmentally Friendly Building Methods Spread in Nebraska

Signs of "green," or environmentally friendly, building methods in Nebraska:

Nov. 2—Signs of "green," or environmentally friendly, building methods in Nebraska:

Five Nebraska projects have made public their intention to seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. They are: the U.S. Homeland Security Department and National Park Service buildings in downtown Omaha; the Lewis & Clark Visitor Center in Nebraska City; the Nebraska Heart Institute Medical Office Building in Lincoln; and the USDA Forest Service Nursery Office at Halsey.

The Flatwater Organizing Group, with members from about every architectural firm in Omaha and some contractors, in September earned chapter status with the U.S. Green Building Council, an 11-year-old coalition responsible for developing certification standards for buildings that are environmentally responsible.

The number of builders certified under the Green Built Home program developed by the Nebraska Energy Office and the Nebraska State Home Builders Association numbered three when Gov. Mike Johanns recognized the first home built by such a builder in April 2003. Now eight builders have that status, and two are about to get it. The builders adhere to standards that earn a home a five-star energy rating while also maximizing the use of recycled-content materials and minimizing waste and water use.

Judith Mahoney of McCook has built a "Green Dream House" as a result of winning the national grand prize from the November 2001 America Recycles Day celebration. Her pledge to recycle was drawn at random from more than 6.2 million pledge cards. The prize — a 1,600-square-foot, three-bedroom house called a national model by the National Recycling Coalition — was constructed using recycled-content building materials and energy-efficient equipment.

The Lincoln Green Building Group last month held a six-hour "workshop on wheels," filling a bus with people to tour sites featuring solar designs, energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning systems, straw-bale insulation and natural, sustainable building materials.

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