Take Note – Affordable Green Home Building Is Possible

I’m sure you’ve heard the argument that building an energy efficient, green home costs substantially more than a home constructed using traditional methods. Until fairly recently this was a true statement but builders specializing in green construction are now able to build efficient green homes that are approximately the same cost as standard constructed homes.

Heather’s Home is one such an example. Built by Ferrier Custom Homes – it is a three bedroom, 2000+ square foot, (get this part) affordable green built home near Ft. Worth, Texas. This home is very energy efficient as it rates in the top one percent of Energy Star home built in the United States today. That translates into major savings when it comes to utility bills – how does around $15 per month sound? For Texas, where the summers are very hot, that’s pretty incredible.

Heather’s Home is the first home in the United States to be certified under the new and more strict American Lung Association’s Healthy Home guidelines. Additionally, it was built under the NAHB Green Home Building guidelines and has been accepted into the Building America Program sponsored by the Department of Energy. Even more accolades include being the first Texas home to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and the third home in the country to receive LEED’s Platinum certification. Heather’s Home was also awarded the top most honor (Gold) in the Energy Value Housing Awards by the United States Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Lab, and the National Association of Home Builders.

Following are some of the high performance and green features that went into the construction of the home…

o Passive Solar Design

o Proper Shading of Doors and Windows

o “Thermo-Siphoning” Attic Fan

o Organic Landscaping

o Metal Roof

o Rainwater Harvesting

o Fiber Cement Siding

o Non VOC Interior Finishes

o Green Sustainable Products – Counter tops, Trim, Floor Coverings, Finishes, etc.

o CFL and Flourescent Lighting

o Energy Star Windows, Doors, Lighting, Appliances

o Solar Hot Water System

o High Efficiency Heating and Cooling System

o Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS)

Passive solar design principles are an integral piece of the overall efficiency of Heather’s Home. For Texas, this means minimizing sunlight exposure in the summer months and maximizing it in winter months. A reversed scenario would be typical of a high performance design for homes built in more northern climates.

Water is heated by solar panels on the roof. Heating hot water typically accounts for approximately thirty percent of a home’s utility bills. Solar systems that power an entire house can be expensive, however, solar hot water systems can be installed for as little as $3,000.

Quality control is ensured using a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) test. The testing occurs during and after construction to make sure that the home meets the stringent guidelines of the EPA for energy efficiency. To ensure that the house is airtight, a duct blaster test is also performed as well as the review of a checklist for thermal bypass.

Heather’s Home not only looks great, it’s affordable – proof that a high performance, green, and modern home can be economically pragmatic. Thanks to the innovations of Heather’s Home there is no reason that more builder’s shouldn’t be building green homes for the general population. Shout it from the roof tops – you don’t have to sell the farm to build a green home.

Architecture – Building Green Homes And Buildings

Everything is going green from cars to clothes to what we eat and where we vacation. Green buildings are the next step in the crusade for the environment and are no longer restricted to private homes or eccentric designers.

Going green has several benefits for the building owners and for the environment. The only downside for many is construction cost since eco friendly building materials do tend to be slightly more expensive than traditional materials. Most are fine with the increase in prices since it will pay off in the long run with reductions in the price of utilities.

Going green is becoming very popular with over 50,000 such homes being constructed in just the past decade alone. Whole communities devoted to being ecologically friendly are springing up and even professional buildings are joining the cause. At this rate, many experts believe that a majority of new homes and buildings will soon be all green with older structures being converted in an effort to reduce energy costs and consumption.

There are a large number of materials available on the market today that can be used in the construction of environmentally friendly buildings. From the outside, to the inside, savvy builders are implementing new technology and reused materials in a way that benefits the environment. In fact, many cities and states are looking into implementing guidelines requiring new buildings to be more eco-friendly.

There are many companies offering green building materials for the exterior and interior. Before beginning construction it is important to consider a few key points that will help determine what type of eco friendly materials should be used in construction.

With the variety of construction materials some of the materials will not be suitable in every environment. Builders have to take into consideration what it will take to heat and cool buildings during the winter and summer months when energy consumption for homes and offices are higher. If the materials used make it more difficult to keep the home cool then it will still be damaging to the environment even if the material is eco-friendly in itself.

The importance of recycled materials is worth repeating. There are several building materials on the market that are created using recycled content. Concrete, pipes, carpet, all have recycled counterparts. By buying recycled goods, the consumer is helping complete the cycle that reduces landfill waste and strains on the environment.

Of course, it is wise to purchase eco-friendly materials locally when possible. Most do not take transportation cost into consideration when ordering construction materials. Purchasing local materials will cut down the effects of transportation such as gas usage and harmful emissions.

So, what are some specific benefits of building green? These vary in several fields but all have an overreaching benefit. With the reduction of waste and harmful effects that buildings have on the environment, it will improve the quality of life.

Building a green home or building will aid in improving air and water quality which is becoming a major concern for communities the world over. By using recycled materials, these green buildings will help to conserve natural resources that are being rapidly depleted. The overall operating costs of green buildings have proven to be cheaper in the long run then traditional buildings. As more green buildings sprout up, the demand for them grows creating a very healthy trend that is pretty much guaranteed to continue throughout the years.

Blogging and Social Networking – A Great Vehicle For Promoting New Green Homes

Nowadays new tools such as social media and media sharing sites (like Twitter, MySpace or Facebook, YouTube and Flickr) are being used by home builders replacing traditional media, such as television, newspapers, and magazine to produce and distribute their own messages to viewers using new internet technologies.

Facebook has more than 250 million active users, Twitter has more than 14 million registered and according to comScore Metrix, over 107 million Americans watched 6.8 billion videos on YouTube in April 2009.

Using social networks, blogging and videos are a tremendous way for home builders to connect with their target market earlier in the sales cycle. Much of the selling process is educating the buyers’ particularity the new wave of environmentally conscientious buyers looking to purchase energy efficient and healthy homes. It shows how important it is to make a right choice of materials and design while building green homes.

By using short 1-2 min videos on systems, roofing, drought tolerant landscaping, building envelope, low impact development and intergraded design it is easy to educate buyers, agents, appraisers and stakeholders on the green-value and their related reaps.

Since natural, non-industrial, rapidly renewable non-toxic materials (such as bamboo, clay, lumber, stones and metal, baked earth and other products that may be recycled), new techniques and designs, that are used while building, greatly reduce the environmental impact. Green building also helps consume less energy and keep houses comfortable by means of onsite generation of renewable energy through solar power, hydro power, wind power and biomass. Buildings are designed as per low-energy motifs, thanks to passive solar building strategies. Their windows, walls, porches and trees are specially oriented to provide shaded roofs and windows in the summer and increase solar grain in the winter. Reducing water consumption is vital here too that is why water is collected, used, purified, and reused on-site through dual plumbing, low-flow shower heads and faucets, low-flush toilets and so on. Such homes do not necessarily cost more. You will benefit from its energy efficiency and high level of comfort plus materials, designs and techniques that are used here are inexpensive.

By using short 1-2 min videos on systems, roofing, drought tolerant landscaping, building envelope, low impact development and intergraded design it is easy to educate buyers, agents, appraisers and stakeholders on the green-value and their related reaps.

Thus, using modern advertising tools like social networking can be considered as a great approach to market green construction and attract buyers.