Sustainable Green Building
Building with environmental balance.
Building Green for your new project starts with good planning and a good understanding of core concepts, features and benefits. This section of our website is dedicated to educating our visitors and providing links to more great green building information. Emerging green products and technologies are changing the way we think, live, work and build. Today, buildings are built that can actually breathe. Resources for sustainable materials are becoming more available which is reducing cost. Healthier and more durable buildings make for longer, happier lives of the people who live and work in these buildings. Long term durability planning and environmental balance are features that improve buildings inside and out. Sustainable building is a commitment that starts with the planning process. Sustainable features and technologies are implemented with careful planning which allows us to contain costs and add value to your project.
What is Sustainable Green Building?
Green building is improving the way that homes and homebuilding sites use energy, water, and materials to reduce the impact on human health and the environment. Building a green home means making environmentally conscious and sustainable decisions throughout the building process. These decisions aim to minimize the environmental impact of the home while it is being built and over the many years it will be lived in.
Green homes incorporate resource efficiency into every step of the building process to minimize environmental impact. The design, construction, and operation of a home must focus on energy and water efficiency, resource efficient building design, eco-conscious materials, indoor environmental quality, and must take the home's overall impact on the environment into account.
Many of the energy-efficient qualities of a green home are easy to spot. They include appliances, windows, and water heating systems that have ENERGY STAR® ratings. Efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs are also common. Renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaic electricity and water heating systems can also further decrease the overall energy consumption within the home.
Fixtures and appliances such as low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets, ENERGY STAR dishwashers and washing machines all conserve water. Additional water savings can also be realized through programmed, low-volume irrigation systems, rainwater collection systems, wastewater treatment systems, and hot water recirculation systems.
During the home design and lot development process many of these key resource efficiency decisions are made. They include home size, home orientation on the lot and floor plan layout. The house orientation and design should take advantage of natural daylight to reduce lighting needs, and should use strategies to reduce heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter. The home should contain renewable materials, including rapidly-renewable wood species such as bamboo, and recycled-content materials in carpets, tiles, and concrete formulations.
Indoor Air Quality Features
The heating, air conditioning and ventilation system (HVAC) must be appropriately sized for an efficient and properly ventilated home. Fans in the kitchen and bathrooms should cycle fresh air inside, and release stale air. Low-VOC paints, finishes and wallpaper should also be used.
Outside the Home
In a green home, care must be taken to preserve trees and other vegetation native to the area. Landscaping should contain plants that are appropriate for the climate, and grouped according to water needs. Driveways and other impervious surfaces should be reduced as much as possible, and may be composed of gravel, permeable block pavers, grids, or other permeable systems.
Most Popular Green Building Rating Systems:
LEED for Homes: United States Green Building Council
LEED for Homes is a voluntary rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system which provides third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all of the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
GreenBuilt (tm) : National Association of Homebuilders
In 2007 the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the International Code Council (ICC) partnered to form a much-needed and nationally recognizable standard definition of what is meant by "Green Building."
ENERGY STAR BLUE: EPA & Department of Energy
ENERGY STAR qualified homes are independently verified to meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes save money on utility bills, provide a more comfortable living environment with better indoor air quality, and help protect the environment.
Benefits to Homeowners
Here are many reasons for owning or purchasing a green home.
The technologies and practices required to build a certified, sustainable green home should dramatically reduce average monthly costs to operate the home. Energy-efficient appliances, lighting systems, and HVAC equipment result in lower energy consumption compared to traditional models. Superior thermal envelope construction is the key to energy savings. It incorporates materials like affordable foam or cellulose insulation with building practices used to reduce air infiltration and leaks. Using less water through water-conserving faucets, showers, toilets, and irrigation systems may also result in less water consumption. Properly sized HVAC systems mean that less energy is needed to condition spaces. Employing technologies such as photovoltaic panels for solar electricity and water heating, and geothermal heat exchangers could reduce dependence on public utilities too.
Effective storm water management and landscaping could mean less time maintaining outside spaces. Also, green building practices lead to the use of some longer-performing materials and careful construction assemblies. Drained foundations, water spouts on gutters, and flashing around windows and doors might reduce the opportunity for system failure within the home due to moisture intrusion.
Indoor Environmental Quality
Homes that allow for proper air exchange through ventilation, and low-emitting products like low- or no-VOC paints reduce off-gassing. Further, green building practices look at reducing the opportunity for moisture intrusion. The efficient HVAC systems, windows, and floor plans also mean that heating and cooling is better distributed throughout the home.
Increased energy and water efficiency in construction could lead to decreased energy and water consumption in a home throughout its lifespan. Some renewable, recycled, and other efficient building products used in green home construction may reduce the impact on natural resources. Further, green homes often include resource and waste reduction and recycling amenities.