Although the very first set of standards for National Green Building construction was published in 2008, portions of the methods, techniques, materials, and systems encapsulated in the NGBS (national green building standards) were widely known and talked about as early as 1980. Thus, starting with our very first project in the year 1984, Hawthorne has been implementing several aspects of the green building standards in all its projects. To begin with, a number of these projects were a renovation, rehabilitation, restoration and repurposing of existing buildings, which is a major scoring point in the NGBS. Actually, NGBS focuses on six major areas: lot development, resource efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and homeowner education. All the six areas are applicable for both new construction and renovation. For instance, in the case of lot selection, and lot development, one of the main considerations is the location of the lot or the building in a transportation corridor. All of Hawthorne’s buildings chosen for renovation were in a major transportation corridor. Over time, the use of recycled materials has increased in all of Hawthorne’s projects, thus contributing to resource efficiency.

With respect to maintenance of indoor environmental quality, such features as venting the bathroom or dryers to the outside were practiced by Hawthorne before it was code. Every homeowner was given an instruction booklet on ‘How to care and maintain your home’, giving them tips on materials, and systems, their maintenance, and energy use in the unit.
Now that we have a standard (latest is ICC 700-2015), which is also accepted by ANSI (American National Standards Institute), we can aim for specific ratings for either bronze, silver, gold, or emerald. All of Hawthorne’s construction presently will achieve a minimum of a bronze level, if not silver.

When we combine the Green rating (per NGBS) with the principle of Net Zero, we achieve a dynamite combination of ‘green construction’ with green energy production at a site for the entire project. What could be a better example of American self-reliance? With minimal carbon footprint and grid-dependence, our dedicated path of solely building Net Zero Green buildings is one small step toward protecting the environment. So, our motto is Green building, green energy, and green living’.

Does a green building have to be more expensive? Not necessarily so. In fact, many of the green building practices save a lot of money. For instance, use of bioswales, rain gardens, and native plants results in avoiding the expensive process of building pathways for stormwater runoff into the storm sewer, and also into the expensively dug out detention ponds. The NGBS, on the contrary, awards points for minimal soil disturbance, minimal cut and fill, and saturating the ground with rainwater via native plants. Thus, not only are the practices green but also, they result in considerable cost savings.