Friday, September 12, 2008

Benefits of Building a Green Home

Building a green home is the only way to build a house. Why?

Reduce, reuse, recycle. People around the world are embracing green. When we can’t reuse or recycle something, we buy it new, and we want it to be green: cars, energy, food, even clothing.

It only makes sense, then, when you’re building a home, to build it green. The benefits are extensive. Here are just a few:

A green home is better for the environment – inside and outside of the home. By building a green home, you will be using less energy for heating, cooling, lighting and power for appliances and electronics. For example, incorporating structural insulated panels as a building envelope will help reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 50% (see the Structural Insulated Panel Association website). You can also reduce your dependency on fossil fuels (oil, coal, propane, and natural gas) by utilizing an alternative energy system such as solar, wind, or geothermal system.

Limiting impact during the construction process helps the surrounding environment. Controlling construction waste reduces the amount of material bound for landfills. Good site design that properly addresses access, slope, soils, vegetation, and water is an important part of a green home. Efficient pluming and bath fixtures, reducing or eliminating landscape irrigation systems are an easy way to reduce water consumption.

Recycled building materials for your green home are abundant and readily available. Wood used in the home can be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which encourages the proper management of the world’s forests, certifies, educates, implements, and regulates forestry practices to help restore the earth’s soils, habitats, and cycles while addressing economic, social, and environmental concerns.

A green home eliminates building materials and systems that produce toxins and allergens, creating a healthy home environment for you and your family. Proper natural ventilation in combination with an air-to-air exchanger (also called a heat recovery ventilator “HRV” or energy recovery ventilator “ERV”) increases indoor air quality by bringing fresh air into the home while recovering the heat before expelling it to the outdoors.

Bottom line: a green home costs less to build than a standard home in areas such as energy costs, health care costs (because you won’t be sick as often), mortgage rates, tax incentives, maintenance and repairs – and has a higher market value. Material costs may be higher, many of the systems and materials carry a higher price tag than their non-green counterparts, but unlike the standard item, the energy efficient choice gives you a return on your investment.

Building a green home takes time in the initial planning and we highly suggest you hire an architect to design the home according to your wants and needs and work with you and your builder throughout the project to ensure a smooth and successful building process.

Kimberly Bonin, Executive Project Manager

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