The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced a program to expand the residential green building market around the country. As part of the program, regional and local green building organizations collaborate with USGBC as LEED for Homes Affiliates, receiving support for education, marketing, and initiatives at the local level and for local programs while promoting LEED for Homes.

According to Nate Kredich, USGBC's vice president of residential market development, the affiliates program serves two purposes: it helps the USGBC achieve its mission of growing green home building markets and it helps local home builders associations with green building programs achieve their missions.

"There's lots of confusion between the different green building programs in the residential markets, and when people are confused they hesitate to take action on building green homes," adds Matthew Libby, USGBC's manager of residential alliances. "So we partner to help educate [consumers] about the different green building programs. Local green building programs may be the first step they elect to take, but that's one step closer to LEED. We'd prefer they take that one step than not take any step at all."

In addition, the USGBC will be relaunching GreenHomeGuide.com to incorporate regionally relevant information on available green building programs and green building professionals, as well as information on general green home building topics. The organization has not yet determined when the relaunch will take place.

The Home Builders Association of Greater Dallas and Minnesota GreenStar are the first two regional programs to become LEED for Homes Affiliates.