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Green Home Building Increases in Popularity:


Sustainable Construction and the Number of Remodeling Contractors Increase

© 2009 by all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission

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Green home building as a concept and a fact is becoming more and more popular. Not because Earth Day has magically heightened the general public’s attention. Sure, it’s hip to get decked out in hemp clothing and carry canvas shopping bags, but utilizing green construction materials is making more sense.

Adhering to green methods and materials will save a substantial block of cash on energy efficiency and will lower power bills in the long run, though the price is initially higher.

Understanding the Impact Buildings Have on the Natural Environment

People tend to think of car exhaust pipes and fuming factories when they think about the impact humans impose on their natural environment. But here are some surprising statistics about modern buildings in general. Notably, they’re responsible for:

  • 30% of all raw materials usage
  • 65% of all energy consumption
  • 30% of waste output each year
  • 39% of what’s classified as greenhouse gas emissions
  • 12% of potable (drinking quality) water usage

Do these statistics surprise you? They do represent a compelling argument in favor of constructing sustainable, green houses as well as commercial buildings. As time goes on, more communities, cities, and municipalities have implemented green building standards.

They’re not so stringent as structural or electrical building codes yet, but they certainly outline general guidelines and information.

LEED Takes the Lead

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the standards body leading the pack in sustainable building standards. They’ve developed LEED for Homes.

This is their rating system for dwellings looking to lower energy bills, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and smaller indoor toxin levels, including carbon monoxide and radon gas.

As soon as the home has been inspected and has been granted LEED certification, the owner be reassured and the certification becomes a serious marketing tool when the home goes on the market for sale. Electric and natural gas prices are now at a peak and show no signs of trending down.

In fact, once Cap and Trade legislation goes into effect, look for costs to go even higher; the Heritage Foundation estimates a 50% increase for the average American household.

The LEED Certification Checklist

The certification checklist covers quite a bit and contains such areas as:

  • Quality management for durability
  • Project planning
  • Building site selection (above the floodplain defined by FEMA, no endangered species, etc.)
  • Landscaping methods (drought tolerance, mulch, reduced irrigation demand, etc.)
  • Proximity to mass transit systems
  • Non-toxic pest control
  • Landscaping methods (drought tolerance, mulch, reduced irrigation demand, etc.)
  • Indoor water use (low flow toilets and shower heads, etc.)
  • Water reuse
  • HVAC refrigerants
  • ENERGY STAR performance
  • Construction materials
  • Radon protection
  • Interior heating methods

Green Home Remodeling

Obviously, this list is most easiest met with new home construction. But to be 100% compliant, it all needs to begin on the architect’s drafting table. But if you’re dealing with a remodeling project, don’t despair!

Whenever a remodeling contractor is involved, the new items can be procured from green building materials. Basically, this involves looking at each item and asking some simple questions.

  • What raw materials were used to make the construction materials?
  • What adhesives were used?
  • What is the material's manufacturer's stated commitment to sustainability and green building practices?
  • Are any toxic fumes emitted? (VOC)

Obviously, green and sustainable home building is a work in progress. Still, it has become obvious that it’s not simply a fad. It’s a true movement driven by concern, health, and economic reality.


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