• For Builders/Professionals FAQ


Program Requirements
The Environments For Living program provides solid value to you and your customers by ensuring that specific standards are met. Download a complete list of Builders' Program Requirements here.

Who is behind the Environments For Living® program?
TopBuild Home Services., a TopBuild company, offers the Environments For Living program and the Environments For Living Certified Green program to builders. Participating builders must meet the program requirements in order to qualify their homes.
Does the Environments For Living program require the use of TopBuild products or any other manufacturer's products?
No. The Environments For Living program is performance-based, not product-based. Builders are free to use any products that meet the program requirements, unless the builder decides to participate in the ecomaginationsm Homebuilder Program.
What is the difference between the Environments For Living program and the Environments For Living Certified Green program?
All Environments For Living programs and levels require greater energy efficiency than conventional code-built homes, and all have building science-based requirements that result in enhanced durability and indoor environmental quality. However, the Environments For Living Certified Green program adds indoor water efficiency and appliance and lighting efficiency to achieve even more homeowner and environmental benefits.
What is the ecomaginationsm Homebuilder Program®, and must I use GE products in order to participate in that program or the Environments For Living Certified Green program?
The ecomagination Homebuilder Program is an option builders may choose to leverage the brand power of GE and ecomagination. Under that option, GE products are required.

However, the Environments For Living Certified Green program does not require the use of GE products, or any particular manufacturer's products.
What is the difference between the Environments For Living Certified Green program and other green building programs?
In terms of structure, a key difference is that the Environments For Living Certified Green program is performance-based, while other programs are typically “checklist” programs whereby builders earn points in various categories. The Environments For Living Certified Green program, as with most green building programs, includes requirements for energy efficiency, resource/material efficiency, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and homeowner education. The one area our program does not include is site planning, because this does not fit into our performance-based structure. Builders can look to any number of local and national green building guidelines to incorporate site planning in their building plans.
Can I participate in the Environments For Living Certified Green program if I am also participating in my local home builders association's green building program?
Yes! The Environments For Living Certified Green program is designed to be complementary with other programs because we know that builders often desire more than one certification when they are building to higher standards than codes typically require.
How do I get started?
It all starts with a plan review of the home or homes you intend to build. For assistance filling out the input sheet for your plan review, you can contact us at 1-(866) 912-7233 or via e-mail at environmentsforliving@topbuild.com. We will either forward you to regional manager or a certified contractor in your area who can help you fill out the plan input sheet. The input sheet and your house plan(s) is then sent to our plan review center.
What is provided in the plan review?
The plan review provides you with the following:
  • • An energy performance analysis of your home plan(s) under the Environments For Living program requirements.
  • • A comparison of the way your home plan(s) will perform under the Environments For Living program requirements and the identification of any changes necessary for your home plan(s) to conform to the program requirements
  • • An estimate of the costs required to meet the program requirements
  • • A heating and cooling energy usage estimate
  • • The estimated amount of carbon emissions that will be reduced under the Environments For Living program

Based on the plan review and the Environments For Living program requirements, you can then bid your project to your subcontractors, just as you do currently.

If you decide to participate in the program you will need to sign our standard Project Agreement.
What are limited guarantees for homeowners?
The limited guarantee on heating and cooling energy use guarantees the amount of energy needed to heat and cool the home. The guarantee is for energy “use,” not cost. (We cannot guarantee the cost since we do not have any control over utility rates.) The comfort guarantee promises that the temperature at the location of the thermostat will not vary more than 3 degrees from the center of any conditioned room within the thermostat's zone. Please see the guarantee for complete details and limitations.
Who issues the limited guarantees?
TopBuild Home Services. issues and administers all guarantees associated with the Environments For Living program.
When are the limited guarantees issued?
As a matter of convenience we issue the guarantee when you submit your housing start to us. However, you can't provide the guarantee to the homeowner until the house is completed and has passed all applicable tests and inspections.
Why is the insulation bid more expensive to meet the program requirements?
Your current insulation and installation methods may provide you with a reliable thermal envelope to meet conventional building codes but, under the Environments For Living program, meeting conventional code requirements is not enough. The program exceeds most current requirements and conventional codes in order to enhance performance. The change in insulation techniques and application requires a higher degree of quality, skill and time. Additional attention is given to the interaction between the air barrier system and the thermal envelope so that these components work in harmony. Changes in framing may be required to support modifications to application methods.
How can I ensure that the completed homes meet the program requirements?
The Environments For Living program is designed to provide builders with maximum flexibility; however, with that flexibility comes responsibility. For a list of your responsibilities, please review the program requirements document. After your obligations have been met, the program requires testing and inspections to verify that your home meets certain program requirements. To ensure that testing and inspection procedures are in compliance with the program, we have quality control measures that monitor all test and inspection results and randomly retest and inspect a percentage of all homes.
What information do I need to provide with the weekly job schedule?
The tester will use your weekly job schedule to arrange for the required testing. The schedule report should provide:
  • • A complete listing of each participating home, including lot number, block, physical address and model.
  • • The date on which construction began/begins.
  • • When the home will be available for testing.
  • • When the completed home will be available for testing prior to closing.
Who can I contact if I have questions about the Environments For Living program?
Call us toll-free at 1-(866) 912-7233, or via e-mail at environmentsforliving@topbuild.com