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Pretty Good House offers a credible building standard without the cost

greenhomesThe average homebuyer might place a great deal of value in standards like LEED, Green Star and Passive House. Yet, year after year, building professionals pay top dollar to achieve these standards and carry the certification.

Steve Hansen at asks, “Would it be possible to improve the performance, quality, and sustainability of more homes with a simpler, more streamlined, and cheaper building standard?”

That’s the thinking behind the Pretty Good House standard, which, unlike the above-listed certifications, currently lacks a backing organization in need of funding or any fee for certification. In fact, there is no certification. But there are still guidelines that impress the importance of building above minimal standards.

Steve Konstantino, owner of Maine Green Building Supply, organizes Pretty Good House standards as follows: General, Site Considerations, Design, Foundations, Building Envelope, Windows, Mechanicals, and Interior Finishes.

According to, here are some of Konstantino’s guidelines:

  • “Use locally sourced materials and labor.
  • Keep the structure less complex.
  • Make things durable.”

And some ideas are more specific. For the building envelope:

  • Build walls to R-40 with thermal break for cold climates.
  • Build ceilings to R-60 with thermal break for cold climates.
  • Aim for airtightness at 1.5 ACH 50 or better.

Some guidelines address sustainability:

  • Use materials that have low embodied energy.
  • Keep the conditioned living space relatively small per occupant (maybe 600 s.f. for the first and 300-400 s.f. per additional occupant).
  • Avoid using fossil fuels.”

To learn more about the basics of Pretty Good House standards, check out

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