Custom Building a Green Home

Considering building a new custom home? Today’s new homes can easily incorporate green features that will not only make a difference in your comfort level but reduce the cost to operate – heating/cooling/electrical and water consumption. Good green construction techniques can also increase the longevity of your home by using techniques that minimize conditions that may damage your home.

These days, green home building is becoming more and more main stream. Custom builders and production builders now commonly incorporate green building techniques into their new homes.

So before you move the first shovel full of dirt consider some green building strategies. Here is a checklist of areas to research when considering a new home project:

1. Energy Efficiency

a) Low infiltration construction

b) Upgraded insulation systems

c) Properly size heat/ac systems

d) Framing & sheathing – size/insulation value

e) Lighting types for efficiency – CFL and/or LED

f) Optional Lighting Efficiencies – Dimmers

g) Select Energy Star appliances

2. Water Efficiency

a) High efficiency fixtures (toilet/shower heads)

b) High efficiency appliances

c) Engineered plumbing systems

3. Indoor Air Quality

a) Sealed air ducts

b) Properly size heat/ac systems

c) Combustion safety

d) Engineered air flow -fresh air & spot ventilation

e) Internal air pressure balancing

f) Internal humidity control

g) Low off gassing paint & products

h) Low off gassing carpets

4. Durability

a) Optimal engineered framing

b) Air & thermal barrier

c) Internal humidity management

d) Durable material selections – use of green building materials

e) Low maintenance building materials

See the Energy Star program for more information on energy efficient homes.

It’s Not Easy Being a Green Home

Green building and green homes are terms that get bandied about pretty liberally these days. Quite often, what passes for green makes strides in one area while backtracking in another. If we’re really keen on going green these days, we’ll need to look beyond labels to find out if what we’re buying will truly benefit the environment. Read on for a run-down of the four biggest magnets for the “green home” label and some of the noxious realities that lurk within:

Recycled Materials

Recycled building products may be considered green because they conserve resources, raw materials and turn post consumer or industrial waste into a valuable and useable resource. These benefits can be nullified however if producing the recycled product requires an undue amount of energy consumption, creates pollution or if the final product leeches toxins into the environment. Rubber tiles for instance put old tires to good use giving them green kudos but when used in an enclosed environment they’ll leak unhealthy chemicals into the air that are decidedly not green.

Conservation of Natural Resources

Building products that use less material than their predecessors, are rapidly renewable or have a high durability factor make the green list because they conserve natural resources. But like recycled products, products that conserve resources may also have qualities or histories that are notoriously not green. For example MDF board can be made from almost any quality wood including sawmill off-cuts and uses almost 100% of the wood in the final product. The result is that an MDF board makes more complete use of natural resources than a natural wood board. But if it has been pressed with urea formaldehyde, as it typically is, it will off-gas and working with it can make you sick. MDF also has a shorter lifespan and less water resistance than natural wood products which means it will need to be replaced sooner and require the use of even more resources.

Clean Air

Natural materials that don’t pollute the environment or leech toxins are legendary for getting green points and keeping it clean. Wood, stone, slate, marble and plant products, for example, don’t require long chains of chemical processing or release cancerous fumes into the lived environment. Natural, minimally processed materials are simply healthier to live with and therefore green. These benefits are eliminated, however, if harvesting, extracting or transporting the materials creates pollution, requires a huge amount of resources or depletes a resource faster than it can be renewed.

Energy Efficiency

Products that affect energy consumption and water use on a day to day basis stand to effect the biggest environmental impact of all materials that go into a home. Those who wish to be truly green will make sure that operating their home requires minimum amounts of energy and water. Properly insulated walls, windows and doors minimize the amount of energy required to heat and cool a building and therefore have a favorable impact on the environment and are fortunately fairly easy to attain. But how will you generate heat and power? Unfortunately, most of us will have to opt for some sort of fossil fuel or electric power limiting our “green” energy options to those that focus on using as few resources as possible rather than renewable resources like solar power and wind power that don’t need to be mined or transported and create no pollution.

Clearly, it’s not easy being green. Though making strides toward reducing our impact on the environment by building and buying green homes is clearly one of the best places to start, it’s important to educate ourselves if we want to do it right. Green isn’t just something we buy, it’s a careful balance between conservation, low pollution and sustainability.

Save Money And Energy With A Green Home Building

Is it impossible to get paid just for living in your home? That is something that millions of people are doing right now. Through the use of alternative energy technology, many homeowners are literally paid by the power companies for generating their own income through their green home building project.

Technology has helped us develop a new sensibility regarding home construction. Green home building projects are no longer a curiosity or unique. We design incorporates solar power in everything from air conditioning lighting; from heating systems to pool pumps. Some property even incorporates wind power and composting as part of their overall energy footprint.

Whether the planners Inc. backup solar battery storage or incorporate solar powered water heaters, green home building ideas are routinely focusing on sustainable architecture, practical use of the available ecology along with recycling and conservation for a total package. In many cases, the use of natural materials for examples known and sod will comprise a green home building project.

The uses of alternative energy generation systems have helped some homeowners earn substantial rebates from the power company. The federal government has established a program back in 1995 to offer rebates for a variety of energy saving programs. Many of those programs have continued to this day and include solar energy power projects. Families have actually benefited from the federal tax credits for energy efficiency programs as well as state and local options as well.

In the USA, over 30 states have programs sponsored by the power company that will allow you to generate an income from the installation of renewable energy systems on your property. Wind turbines are the most common renewable energy systems installed according to the United States Department of Energy. A small 30 foot wind machine with rotors between eight and 25 feet in diameter can supply the power needs of an all electric home or business all year around.

Solar panels are the second most common renewable energy system. 50% of an average families electricity needs can be met with 24 100 W solar panels installed on the roof. This can dramatically lower a home’s carbon footprint.

State and federal rebates are currently available in many areas that can reduce the upfront cost of solar installation. Customers who install the renewable energy sources can sell the excess power back to the electric company. Many homes are currently enrolled in programs like these throughout the United States.

This goes to show you that Green home building projects can incorporate these kinds of state and federal programs to benefit the homeowner or business person. It makes good sense to invest in something that will bring you dollars in return.

Twenty years ago, the idea of your electric meter actually paying you a dividend seemed far-fetched. Having your green home building up your monthly revenue through energy conservation is not only a reality now; it is catching on in many countries. This concept goes far beyond energy conservation; it represents a paradigm shift in power distribution.