Editor's note: This column will be published in the upcoming edition of Oklahoma Builder Magazine
By Kurt Dinnes
NAHB State Representative
This is a beautiful season that I personally look forward to each year. The grass is greening up, trees are budding, flowers are blooming and home buyers start getting active.
As homebuilding continues to evolve, especially with the rising cost to heat and cool homes today, building energy efficient homes that incorporate "green building standards" are becoming more important to homebuyers across the country.
As a small custom builder myself, we offer energy efficient and green building options as well.
But to my surprise, they are often not chosen by our custom clients. They seem to be opting for luxuries or other amenities.
Perhaps with the lower cost of energy here in our great State, the demand is not as great as it is in other parts of the country. There, dense populations and higher energy costs heavily influence buyers to choose more energy efficient and green built options.
I think we would all agree that the cost of energy will most likely not get any cheaper.
The rising cost of energy will eventually make energy efficient and green building options much more important to buyers in the future here in Oklahoma.
As I have had the privilege to talk to many builders across the state, I am happy to say many builders are already incorporating energy efficient and green building techniques in the homes they are building.
One exciting example of this is some new housing developments are being developed with geothermal wells already installed on each lot, allowing all homes to be heated and cooled, as well as the hot water, assisted by a geo-thermal system in each home.
I believe energy efficiencies and green building methods are not just a trend. This type of construction is here to stay.
It will become increasingly more important as the demand for these types of homes grows that we, as builders, stay educated and informed.
As members of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, we have several great educational opportunities.
Certainly one of the best venues for education is the annual Oklahoma Building Summit.
This two-day event will offer educational opportunities that include construction techniques, green building methods, energy efficiencies, building code changes and compliance as well as business and legal classes.
This year, the Oklahoma Building Summit will be held at the Cox Convention Center and will include a trade show that will feature many suppliers, manufacturers and service providers showcasing the latest and greatest for the home building industry.
Becoming a Certified Professional Builder is another very important opportunity to stay ahead as a builder.
The CPB is a program run by OSHBA and provides a certification of high standards as a builder that among other requirements includes additional annual education.
This additional CPB education can help you, as a builder, gain the added knowledge to have that competitive edge as well as a discount on your general liability insurance provided you are taking advantage of the OSHBA-endorsed insurance program.
As for myself, I would not leave home without it!
My personal experience as a CPB is that it has added that extra professionalism in the minds of my clients.
I not only share the CPB designation with potential clients but also post the CPB logo on all my signage, business cards, marketing and at our job sites as well.
On the national front
I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on the national front. Here is a quick update on a few NAHB efforts on your behalf:
On the National Green Building front, I wanted to reiterate this important NAHB legislative victory I reported to you earlier this year. The ICC National Green Building Standard was approved for use in residential military construction. NAHB's subsidiary, the Home Innovation Research Labs, is now the No. 1 residential green certification programs, having certified more than 45,000 homes, apartments and lots to the Standard.
The NAHB Bring Housing Home Initiative, for the second year now, was another big success. It is estimated more than 200 lawmakers, at home in their respective districts, meet with NAHB members to discuss the issues affecting our industry and how they can help. Your Oklahoma State Builders Association leadership during this initiative scheduled meetings and met with Congressmen Lucas, Russell and Bridenstine. I attended the meetings with Congressmen Lucas and Russell, and can honestly say that meeting them at home in their home districts in a relaxed atmosphere is much more personal and productive. If you did not get a chance to meet with your lawmakers at home in their district, I would encourage you to do so. I think you will be very pleased with the results as well as knowing you too can make a difference.
The NAHB Senior Officers have asked the State Representatives collectively to present a proposed By-Law amendment for their consideration that properly addresses the minimum membership requirements of local HBAs and chapters by the NAHB Spring Board Meeting in Washington D.C., fast approaching in early June. We, as State Representatives have been meeting via telephone conferences, with several more to go, in order to accomplish the task. I can say that the integrity of all local HBAs is first and foremost, so as to not lower standards and to best equip the locals with the ability to be an effective HBA within the NAHB Federation. Addressing the chapters is a little more difficult. However, I feel confident that we, as State Representatives, will find the right resolution to this long standing challenge of minimum memberships of local HBAs and chapters as well.