In today’s world, it seems like everybody is at least talking about “going green.” Yet how can you be satisfied that the builder is knowledgeable about green building principles and products you choose are truly green? How can you determine if your new home will really save you measurable amounts energy and money throughout the years? You can start with a few questions.

How can you trust that your builder is familiar with green building practices and that your project will actually be built to green standards?

There are three areas on which you should question your builder:


  • Are they Certified Green Professionals?
    With Ed Nikles Custom Builder, Inc., Ed Sr., Ed Jr., and Jim Leighty all are Green Certified Professionals, and have been adding green elements to houses for over 40 years- long before “going green” came into style.
  • Are they Master Certified Green Professionals?
    Edward D. Nikles (Ed Jr.) is the first of only two builders in Pennsylvania to have successfully completed all of the requirements for this advanced Green designation from NAHB.
  • Are they L.E.E.D. AP’s (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professionals)?
    Hector Baras, with V.Baras Architects PC, who is an approved architect for Ed Nikles Custom Builder, Inc., is the LEED AP certified professional in the Pike County area who consults with us on all our green projects.


  • Are their homes tested and verified as energy-efficient by a third-party, such as Pete Vargo from Nu-Tech Energy Solutions, the third party verifier for Ed Nikles Custom Builder, Inc.?


  • Are they building to or have built National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Green Certified Homes, Energy Star, Zero Energy Ready Home, or EPA Indoor airPlus?

What constitutes a certified “Green Home”?

In order for a home to be declared “green” by the National Green Building Standard™, it must meet performance levels & proper implementation in the following categories:

  • Lot Design, Preparation, & Development: Resource-efficient site design and development practices help leave a light footprint on the earth.
  • Resource Efficiency: Recycled materials, waste management, and durable construction work together to ensure more resources are efficiently utilized and less are destined for landfills.
  • Energy Efficiency: Appliances, insulation, windows, and heating and air conditioning combine to save you energy, and more importantly, measurable amounts of money on your utility bills.
  • Water Efficiency: A “green” home is built to conserve water, both inside and out.
  • Indoor Environmental Air Quality: Proper ventilation promises cleaner indoor air and products that minimize off-gas of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s).
  • Homeowner Education: Knowing how to operate and maintain your green home is as critical as getting it built correctly.


Ed Nikles Custom Builder, Inc. specializes in high performance homes that are extremely energy efficient, giving you the opportunity to save thousands of dollars per year in gas and electric bills. From the insulation, heating, hot water, air quality, and caulking and sealing process, to the windows, doors, appliances, LED lighting systems, ventilating, and lighting controls, Ed Nikles Custom Builder, Inc. has worked with Energy Star, DOE Builders Challenge, and the EPA Indoor airPlus to build homes that were rated, on average, 44% more efficient than required by code and had an average HERS rating of 56 on completed projects. With utility costs rising, your HERS score is going to become nearly as important as your home’s address in the next few years. By building or remodeling your home to be energy efficient from the very beginning, you’ll save yourself money in the future. For recent examples of these high performance homes, visit Nikles in the News.

Energy Star: Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that helps the consumer save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Energy efficient options, such as those offered by Energy Star, can save families about a third on their energy bill, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and still provide all the features, style, and comfort of a traditional-style home. In order for a home to be considered Energy Star certified, it must be at least 10% more energy efficient than homes built to code and achieve a 20% improvement on average, while providing homeowners with better quality, performance and have a HERS rating of 80 or lower.

Builders Challenge: Builders Challenge was a program administered by the Department of Energy (DOE) whose goal is to recognize industry leaders and build the pathway to Net-Zero energy efficient homes for all Americans. In order to be certified by Builders Challenge, homes had to be at least 30% energy efficient when tested by a third party verifier, or have a E-Scale rating of 70 or lower. The minimum efficiency threshold for Builder Challenge was basically double that of Energy Star. Builders Challenge has recently transitioned into the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program.

EPA Indoor airPlus: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), homebuyers are increasingly concerned about the indoor air quality of their homes. Issues like mold, radon, carbon monoxide, and toxic chemicals have received greater attention than ever as poor indoor air quality has been linked to a host of health problems. We can employ a variety of construction practices and techniques in our new homes to help address these concerns.

HERS Index Symbol
HOME ENERGY RATING SYSTEM (HERS): The HERS Index is a scoring system established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) to evaluate a home’s energy efficiency. A home built to the specifications of the HERS Reference Home (based on the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code) scores a HERS index of 100, while a net-zero energy home scores a HERS Index of 0. The lower a home’s HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is in comparison to the HERS Reference

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