The NC Solar Center has spearheaded an effort over the past year for the debut of the North Carolina Green Builder Program (NCGBP), a new program for homebuilders in the state who use green building materials and practices.Raleigh, North Carolina – November 14, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The program will be administered by the NC Solar Center with support from the State Energy Office. It will provide participating builders with technical and marketing assistance to create healthy, energy-efficient homes and to convey their value to the home buyer. The NC Green Builder Program Task Force, comprised of builders, architects, energy raters and realtors from across the state, investigated existing programs, created statewide guidelines, and crafted the basis of the NC program. Homes built under the program must achieve at least a certain number of points from a checklist prepared by the Task Force, but homebuilders will have flexibility as to which of the practices they implement. The NC Green Builder Program structure consists of a Statewide Support Partner (NC Solar Center) supporting several community based partner organizations throughout the state. The program’s structure will help to maintain green building standards in NC while allowing local communities to meet their personal needs. The targeted communities will include home builder associations, non-profit organizations, cooperative extensions, utilities and municipalities, with a program goal of 3,000 NC Green Builder Program homes by 2009. The NC Solar Center will implement the program as the Statewide Support Partner by seeking community partners, improving and maintaining the state guidelines checklist, conducting and reporting research, providing technical assistance, performing consultations and referrals for green builder professionals, offering design reviews, exhibiting the sustainable demonstration house, and creating and delivering marketing. The inaugural project of the NC Green Builder Program is underway in an urban area of downtown Asheville. The Western NC Green Building Council and the NC Solar Center are partnering for this pilot project that will eventually lead to the construction of an 18-unit green neighborhood named Prospect Terrace. Developer Mountain Housing Opportunities, along with Mathews Architecture, has begun work on the project with the support of the State Energy Office, the Land of Sky Regional Council of Governments, Waste Reduction Partners, and Advanced Energy. Several other communities have expressed interest for the NCGBP in Wake County, Charlotte, Boone, Greensboro, Wilmington and Carrboro. Builders benefit from the NCGBP by distinguishing their company in the marketplace, increasing visibility in their profession as a leader, gaining higher access to financial products for their clients, increasing profitability and decreasing callbacks. Financiers will find that NCGBP encourages a ready market for energy efficient mortgages, provides third party certification of energy benefits, gives website recognition and links, and supports a higher level of information and connection to potential clients. Consumer benefits include increased use of financial incentives and tax credits, access to quality builders, and third-party reviews of specific home items. The NCGBP will also provide designers with a pool of builders who are familiar, knowledgeable and willing to construct healthy, resource-efficient and energy-efficient homes. Future targets for the NCGBP will include developers, realtors, and policy makers.