Building a Green Home That Stacks Up to the Competition

Green… Sustainable… Net Zero Home… Low Impact Building…Energy Star… NC Healthy Built Home… LEED

We seem to be inundated with so much “green” lingo these days, it becomes difficult to know what is legitimate and what isn’t. At a recent “Designing for Impact” lecture, Melanie Moeller, with The Boggs Collective, defined sustainability as “the capacity to endure.” Simple and straightforward, this definition really sums it up.

Often for clients considering “green” home design, the process of reducing one’s carbon footprint while maintaining aesthetics, can seem overwhelming. Understanding the basics is essential, so you can make educated decisions about your own project that based upon your needs and criteria.

There are many online resources which outline the basics of green building. Green building and design is becoming more the norm as homeowners realize the substantial benefits associated with eco-friendly design.

Green homes are rated according to the HERS Index, a scoring system established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET). A green home’s HERS Index is obtained through an in-depth on-site inspection and analysis of your home by a RESNET rater. The reference score is 100, where more energy efficient homes score lower and those that consume more energy score above 100. You can find HERS Index Charts online to show the scoring scale.

If you are looking for ways to lower your home’s energy consumption consider any of the following “green” building ideas. And when building your own “green” home, consider working with an architect experienced in green design. There are many ways to save “green” when going “green.” It’s important to fully research all the products available in home design to make your dwelling as eco-friendly as your heart desires.

Here are some products/techniques to consider when looking to build or renovate your home with “green” in mind:

  • Recycled Products: Recycled decking, counter tops, tiles, carpets & rugs; renewable wood & engineered wood for flooring and construction materials
  • Spray Foam Insulation: Stops air and moisture infiltration
  • Efficient Heating/Water Solutions: Examples include gas fired on-demand water heaters, geothermal heat pump, programmable thermostats
  • Solar Harvesting: Solar Panels, Solatube & SolarStar skylights
  • Energy Star Appliances
  • Efficient Plumbing Fixtures: Low flow toilets, faucets & shower heads
  • Lighting: Energy efficient compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs, dimmer switches
  • Water Harvesting/Saving: Rainwater harvesting barrels and cisterns
  • Sealed Ducts & Air Infiltration System: Ensure appropriated flow of air and prevent leakage
  • Efficient Windows & Doors: Filter heat from sun, and decrease leakiness of house
  • Waterproofing: Foundation waterproofing systems with drainage mats, Good quality flashing around windows and doors to prevent moisture leakage
  • Eliminate Site Waste: Pre-cut studs and other materials cut down waste to landfill
  • Adhesives, Paints & Sealants: Low VOC, plus additives that resist mold growth
  • Roof Shingles: Shingles with Solar Reflective Index (SRI)
  • Use Products from Local Suppliers: Local stones, tiles, flooring, etc.
  • Water Efficiency in Landscaping: Native and drought resistant plants & efficient irrigation system
  • Central Vac System: To control dirt/pollutants in the home