What is it with the NAHB?

What is it with the NAHB that they scheduled “Green Day” at the International Builders Show for Valentines Day and the National Green Building Conference for Mothers Day? Are they anti-marriage or just misogynistic?

We were going to give them the benefit of the doubt but then, during the National Press Conference for the new NAHB-ICC National Green Building Standard, they have a guy stand in for Donna Stankus to talk about the remodeling section and in illustrating the importance of green remodeling he pointed out that the average American home changes hands every seven years by saying “Most Americans change their homes as often as I change my wives” - dead silence in a room full of national press, many of whom are women. Last I checked, people change their underwear or their socks but, having lived through a divorce, I can assure you that we do not simply “change wives.”

Still it was nice to see all the NAHB staff dressed in matching green-themed golf shirts and all the disposable “I heart Green” buttons everyone was wearing. I really had to be there for the press releases for the new National Green Building Standard in I gave so much time to stewarding it through the ANSI process (even though I was in the room as an un-invited interloper.) It was really fun to be at the press conference for the www.NAHBgreen.org on-line green scoring tool that I helped create. Especially since they used a slide from the website to illustrate the scoring tool that featured a photograph of the Berry Residence we finished last summer.

It was gratifying to see all the hard work come to fruition even though it was a major disconnect to see it happen at the Orlando Convention Center with 192,000 other builders and an unknown number of “spokes models” in too-tight tee-shirts and high heels. I can understand that if you’re selling vinyl siding then a cute girl in shorts and a tank top might bring attention to your booth. But I am a little confused about what the cute girl in the extra small NAHB Research Center outfit had to do with the National Homebuilding Questionnaire she was handing out.

In the past year I’ve been exposed to the very best of what the NAHB has to offer through the National Green Building Conference, the NAHB-ICC National Green Building Standard consensus process and the www.NAHBgreen.com beta test group. The brilliant people at the research center who made that thing work were at least fifty percent women, and smart ones who really understand building science and the ANSI Standard Process. Emily English, Calli Schmidt, Megan Inouye, and Amber Wood are a few great examples but there are many more behind them, smart women making the green building movement work. Our own Durham North Carolina just named Michele Myers, a redneck-woman-green-homebuilder to Builder of the Year.

So I thought we had evolved to a higher standard. But Rome wasn’t built in a day and the NAHB will continue to support causes I don’t line up with. Still, I do believe that a more gender equitable Home Builders Association is something we can work towards and that we’ll look back at these days sometime and just shake our heads and grimace.


  1. NAHB Research Center said...
    Thank you for recognizing the smart women at NAHB and NAHB Research Center. There are 3 very smart women behind the development of www.NAHBGreen.org: Pratima Reddy, Carrie Conrad, and Sally McGee. They each played a major role in getting the functionality, the content, and the look and feel of site pulled together in time for the roll-out at the Builders' Show. Oh, yeah, and some guys helped too.
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