Up to Code?

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Really exceptional things are considered the "gold standard," but in building, there's a growing "green standard" to meet and exceed. See if your own knowledge of the topic is up to code with this quiz.

When did green building construction get its start in the United States?

Green building practices have been common in indigenous cultures worldwide for thousands of years, but the green architecture movement didn't start in the United States until the 1960s and early 1970s.

A professional with green building expertise might have what type of certification?

Construction and remodeling pros can become Certified Green Professionals (CGPs) through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

An international green building code is due to be published when?

The International Green Construction Code has been rolling out since 2009, and as of late 2010, a publication date of early 2012 was planned.

Which U.S. state implemented the first green codes for construction?

California was the first state to implement green building codes when it adopted the 2010 California Green Building Standards (CALGreen) Code.

New York City regulates green construction with which type of oversight?

New York City has a Buildings Sustainability Board to address green building issues not covered by the New York City Construction Code.

Rammed-Earth buildings follow what construction standards?

Adobe and rammed Earth buildings, as well as Earth or pressed-block construction, are covered within the International Building Code (IBC). Local regulations are available in many areas, as well.

Wood-frame house construction often has code issues with which of the following?

While treated wood is generally avoided in green building due to chemical release hazards, it is not usually an issue with code inspectors, but timber grade is. Having the grade of timber marked or recorded shows the strength of the wood itself and confirms the additional quality step of having the materials checked before building.

Which codes govern solar building designs?

While there are standards for fenestration (window placement and quality), solar building projects should include local, state and national code councils. Some local agencies may even require approval at the neighborhood, condo or block level before proceeding with designs that can infringe on neighboring properties or streetscapes.

Who is responsible for making sure a green home is up to code?

Building professionals and owners are kept in check by inspectors and codes, and ultimately, the owner and those actually doing the work have responsibility for complying with codes.

Why can the foundation be a challenge in green building?

Preserving a site without settling into it can be challenging in many locales. Green technologies and materials have come a long way, but the goal of doing the least amount of harm in the short and long term hasn't changed.

Which countries have many pioneers in green home building?

While most countries contribute to the developing green movement, Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Finland and Sweden in particular have been pioneers of green building and design and are sharing their knowledge with the U.S. Green Building Council for compiling global green construction standards.

Which architect is world-renowned for his green designs?

While Lewis Mumford was a forerunner in writing about and envisioning green design, it is Italian architect Renzo Piano who is famous for integrating both green and high-tech elements into his architectural works.

Which issues might be particularly challenging for straw-bale builders?

Straw-bale homes are considered no more fire or termite susceptible than traditional wood homes; termites actually seem to prefer wood. But banks are wary of lending on straw-bale construction, especially when local code enforcement may hold up permit approval for this non-traditional building type.

Which code has been superseded but is still sometimes used in the United States?

Although the Uniform Building Code (UBC) hasn't been published since 1997 and was replaced with the International Building Code in 2000, many state and local agencies still use UBC for determining code compliance.

What is a common issue with green construction that must be earthquake-resistant?

Depending on location, materials like stucco and packed-earth designs won't be approved for construction unless they're significantly reinforced to protect against seismic damage.

Which materials are hard to get up to code?

Both of these materials have problems with age: one is too old and one is too new. Salvaged materials are great for reuse, but some wood has lead-based paint and other materials may not meet current standards for durability, for instance. ICFs and other newer materials aren't widely codified, so some inspections need to proceed slowly while issues such as wiring pass investigation.

Which of these is NOT a true green innovation?

While technologies for treating and reusing black and gray water are improving, brown water is usually the result of too much copper in the plumbing itself.

What is a common complaint of people who live in green homes?

Many who buy into green are sold on the idea and promises of energy savings, but aren't necessarily seeing the money add up. Guarantees of financial savings should be backed up by a reputable, proven green building professional, and not just a traditional builder or engineer who adds a few green elements here and there.

Can you build sort-of green, or do you have to go all the way?

Going "sort-of" green is a great place to start, and energy companies in many places lead the way with incentives for homeowners to make small improvements that add up. And sometimes when you start small, you get the green bug and want to keep going.

Did the early 20th-century, influential architects Greene & Greene build "green?"

With a strong use of landscape elements and natural materials, brothers Charles Sumner Greene (1868-1957) and Henry Mather Greene (1870-1954) showed a lot of green sensibilities in their designs.

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