A home can be considered green when energy efficiency, water and resource conservation, sustainable or recycled products, and indoor air quality considerations are incorporated into the process of home building. The increased availability of education for builders, growing consumer awareness and the exploding market for sustainable, environmentally friendly and recycled building products has accelerated green building’s acceptance rate and move into the mainstream.
Green building means improving the way that homes and building sites use energy, water, and materials to reduce impacts on human health and the environment. Building a green home means making environmentally-preferable and sustainable decisions throughout the building process. These are the decisions that minimize the environmental impact of the home while it is being built and over the many years it will be lived in.
What Makes a Home Green?
Responsible lot and site development – The home is positioned to take advantage of heat and light from the sun. Natural site features are preserved and protected wherever possible.
Energy efficiency – Appliances, insulation, doors, windows, heating and air-conditioning and the home’s design work together to conserve energy resources and reduce utility bills.
Water efficiency – Water heaters, toilets, faucets and drought-tolerant landscaping conserve water inside and out.
Resource efficiency – Materials are selected for durability, origin, and recycled content while waste-management strategies reduce the environmental impact of the home’s construction.
Indoor environmental quality – Appropriate ventilation techniques, along with paints, sealants and adhesives made without harmful compounds help improve a home’s indoor environment for the entire family.
Home owner education – Because knowing how to operate and maintain a green home is just as important as building one!
When a green home doesn’t look or feel significantly different from one built using more traditional construction methods, when builders have the tools and resources to build them without sizeable materials or labor cost increases, and when consumers readily accept the finished product, the ‘green’ has arrived.