The wide availability of eco-friendly materials and products has risen steadily in the past few years. Specifically in the housing market, the research and implementation of environmentally sound building practices and eco-friendly materials has become a consideration in the minds of land owners looking to build. In the process of building your own home, what exactly are the advantages of building green? What does building green consist of?
Building Green — A Working Definition
As construction professionals and researchers continue to discover more energy efficient ways of accomplishing tasks, producing materials, and building homes in general, what constitutes “green” will most certainly fluctuate. At this point, though, a home that is energy efficient, has a low carbon footprint, and utilizes sustainable materials in the building process can be considered a green home. The National Association of Home Builders has developed a list of guidelines regarding that which constitutes an environmentally friendly home. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a environmentally friendly building organization that provides third party verification on things like water and energy conservation, CO2 emission reductions, and general stewardship of both renewable and non-renewable resources. These guidelines are helpful in coming up with a tangible understanding for what makes a home green.
The Advantages of Building Green
As you begin to consider the various features of your home, several advantages accompany an eco-friendly, sustainably-built home. Even if you can incorporate a few features that favor the environment, you will reap the benefits listed below.
- Energy Savings. Heating and cooling homes constitutes 20% of energy costs in the U.S. Considering lights, washer/dryer, electronics, etc., homes are a huge source of energy usage. Green homes typically use about 40% less energy than those built without regard to energy usage.
- Water Conservation.Green homes contain plumbing systems that preserve water through specific types of fixtures, drought-tolerant landscaping, and irrigation systems that conserve water.
- Indoor Air Quality. Green homes produced with environmentally friendly, sustainable materials have a higher level of air quality. This air quality can help protect the general well-being of you and your family members.
- Cost Efficiency.Through energy-use reduction and water conservation alone, a green home can save you a substantial amount of money each month. Typically, green homes use 40% less energy and 50% less water.
- Resale Value. Green homes have a greater potential to sell at a higher price because of the demand for environmentally-friendly features.
To save money, protect the environment, and provide support for indoor air quality, consider incorporating several green features into the home you build.