The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) just adjourned its annual International Builders Show in Orlando, Florida and the press releases have been flying out of its news room. After wading through the who was elected, who was honored, what was awarded detritus; some interesting stuff came out of the sessions.

NAHB has a number of components and affiliates with many groups with similar interests and objectives. One of its affiliates, The 50+ Housing Council issued a preliminary joint report with NAHB which stated that, within five years or by 2012, 40 percent of all households will be headed by someone 55 years old or older. This segment of the population is expected to reach 85 million two years later (2014). The number households in the 65-74 age bracket will also grow by 4.5 million between 2005 and 2014. This represents an increase of 38 percent over that ten year period. The full report will be issued at month's end.



Speaking of the study, Norman Cohen, chairman of the NAHB 50+ Housing Council said, "Most Boomer buyers don't need to move. They'll change homes when their lifestyles change - whether it's because they're starting a home-based business or they just want to live maintenance free."

This may explain a second release regarding a joint effort of NAHB and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). The two groups announced a new award to recognize home and community projects that will improve the "daily comfort, ease, and comfort of residents and highlight the critical elements needed for a livable community."

Awards will be given to builders, remodeling experts, and developers who incorporate features in their projects which enhance energy efficiency, further access to community services such as retail businesses, transportation, medical, and other services and recognize the access needs for persons of all levels of physical ability including the very young and the elderly.

Yet another initiative is a joint Green Building Agreement between NAHB and the International Code Council (ICC.). The two have pledged to undertake the development and publication of a resident green building standard. The two groups have reinforced their commitment to sustainable building practices and the creation of national standards for green home building.

ICC is an association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention and develops the codes used to construction residential and commercial buildings. According to the press release, most U.S. cities, counties, and states that adopt codes choose those developed by the ICC.

NAHB published the Model Green Home Building Guidelines in 2005. This is now a nationally recognized green building certification tool. The two organizations hope to build on their respective work to help advance green building practices in the industry.

In related post-convention news, Jack Hebert, president and CEO of Cold Climate Research Center of Fairbanks Alaska spoke to the Senate Subcommittee on Energy representing NAHB. He praised the Model Green Home Building Guidelines for recognizing regional differences in building and as an alternative to green building mandates. "The guidelines embody the flexibility that builders need to achieve efficiency and conservation goals without meeting costly national or statewide mandates."

"Simply, there is no one size fits all green building standard," said Hebert. "Alaska, North Dakota, Florida and Maine all have different efficiency needs and requirements based on their climate. Solar panels don't work in Fairbanks like they do in Miami. Only flexible, locally grown green building programs can adequately take local issues, architecture, weather and geographic differences into account."

Hebert criticized the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy Efficient Design certification pilot program for single family homes (LEED-H) saying that it would have a drastic effect on the affordability of housing. He stated that this program is "costly, requires many unnecessary mandatory provisions, offers little flexibility, and contains extensive implementation fees that could cost a builder, and ultimately the home buyer, from $12,000 to $15,000 extra per home."

Finally, convention goers learned about NAHB's predictions for the "homes of the future." This subject has been a grabber since the World Fairs in the middle part of the last century. We will give you a synopsis of NAHB's visions for both the "average" and the "upscale" home of the near future - 2015 - in a later article.