• Homes certified in the Built Green Colorado program, such as this project by Building Alternatives, must conform to a rigorous checklist of more than 180 features in 22 categories, including energy efficiency, health, and resource conservation. Because of the range and number of options available under the checklist, participants have flexibility in how they want to build a green home.

    Credit: Building Alternatives

    Homes certified in the Built Green Colorado program, such as this project by Building Alternatives, must conform to a rigorous checklist of more than 180 features in 22 categories, including energy efficiency, health, and resource conservation. Because of the range and number of options available under the checklist, participants have flexibility in how they want to build a green home.

Program: Built Green Colorado
Year founded: 1995
Offered by: The Home Builders Association of Metro Denver
Director: Kim Calomino
Number of participating builders: 220
Number of homes certified: 36,000

Since Built Green Colorado’s founding in 1995, the sustainable home building industry has grown by leaps and bounds, but the organization’s focus has stayed the same: to offer an easy-to-implement green building program for Colorado builders. Director Kim Calomino insists on keeping it simple.

“Green building is something that all builders should take a look at and realize they are able to do it,” she says. “We want to make it accessible and attainable to all builders.”

This sensible approach has helped Built Green amass a broad and loyal following among Colorado home builders, from small custom-home firms to mid-volume builders to multifamily developers. Because the organization offers only one level of certification, there is less paperwork than with national green building programs, Calomino says.

“Our program is un-bureaucratic; there’s not a lot of layers of submittals, reporting, or meetings,” she says. “To some people, [national] LEED or NAHB programs may be daunting and that may keep some people from participating.”

Built Green Colorado is one of oldest and largest green building programs in the nation, second only to Austin Energy Green Building in longevity. A voluntary program of the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver, the organization’s mission is to encourage home builders to use technologies, products, and practices to build well-constructed, eco-friendly houses. Hence the slogan: “Built Green; maybe we should have called it Built Better.”

To achieve the Built Green distinction, homes must be designed and constructed based on a rigorous checklist of more than 180 features in 22 categories, eight of which are required. The 22 categories include energy efficiency, materials, health, and resource conservation.

Program fees are low, at $40 per home plus $200 annual dues. Homes must be third-party verified, at a cost of between $500 and $650, Calomino says.