What Is the Selection Criteria For Green Building Materials

The concept of a green home doesn’t rely solely on how a homeowner implements ways to make it more eco-friendly. Its whole concept covers sustainability of green building materials from planning, construction, and all the way when occupants are dwelling. You may want them on your house, but the availability of many green construction materials makes the selection process quite difficult. Here are the basic selection criteria to guide you when choosing green home building materials.

Resource efficiency

Resource efficiency is best explained when construction materials used are of known recycled contents. Natural resources like forests are conserved because fewer raw materials like wood are needed. The purchase of recycled construction materials is also a great step in reducing the energy consumption required during the manufacturing stages.

To maximize the resource efficiency of materials for use in construction, ensure that you are purchasing from nearby local manufacturers. This will also help reduce greenhouse emissions associated with the transport of materials from manufacturer to construction site.

Apart from using construction materials with recycled content, you can also make use of salvaged materials from nearby junk yards. There are also hardware stores that supply second hand construction materials. It can save you money while helping reduce garbage accumulation because the materials are saved from being totally junked.

Contributes to improved indoor air quality

Green building materials should be contributors to improved air quality inside the house. This means that they should pass standardized tests to prove they are nontoxic. Materials like paint should have reduced emissions of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). They should be health-friendly particularly to the respiratory system. Look for wall, roof, and other building materials that are less-resistant or fully resistant to moisture. These materials have the highest capacity to prevent the growth of biological contaminants. They can lessen the chances of mold and mildew growth inside the house.

Helps in water conservation

Earth’s water supply is said to be depleted fast if we will not conserve water properly. In fact, there are nations around the world which are already experiencing the effects of water wastage. Your choice of green building materials should help in water conservation efforts. The fixtures you should use in the kitchen, bathroom, comfort room, and laundry area should all have the WaterSense label by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). With this label in your faucets, flush, and showerheads – you are very sure that you are indeed conserving thousands of gallons throughout the lifetime of each fixture.

Green building materials help protect the nature. But they also establish appealing overall aesthetics of a green home. A refreshing and beautiful house is the true key to a comfortable living enjoyed by all family members!

Green Home Building Trends For 2010

Although the building industry had a dark year in 2009, Green building seemed to somehow stick out and shine. According to the Multiple Listing Service date, certified sustainable green new homes actually rose the past year in the northern west coast areas like Portland and Seattle. This trend is believed to spread over the U.S. and green building is expected to grow within new home sales. Already new home sales are on a rise from a year ago with March of 2010 seeing the biggest jump in new home sales in 47 years. So what trends can we expect to see in 2010 in green new homes?

1. Energy Monitoring Home Dashboards. The increasing demand for energy efficient homes, the development of a custom web-based display panel within the home, will show real-time home energy use. This sophisticated produced can break down the real time energy use of homeowners appliances, which will help a homeowner change the way they use their electricity. For example the way an electric car miles per gallon indicator encourages the owner to adapt their driving habits, new homes that offer these Dashboards may encourage homeowners to reach lower energy use. Dashboards will also increase the probability that homeowners of green homes will reach the Energy Performance Score.

2. Energy Efficient Green Home Labeling. Like the miles per gallon label you would find when searching for a new car, energy rating systems for new homes has become popular among legislators. This energy rating system will make it easier for home buyers to see the energy efficiency of one green home compared to another. Each homes score will be available on the MLS.

3. Lenders and Green Homes Make for a Better Bottom Line. Lenders have come to the conclusion that green new homes are better for their bottom line. By seeing a trend of green home owners being more responsible and less probable to default on a loan, due to the fact that most green home owners are more accountable and likely to place higher value on home maintenance. Home owners are also less likely to default due to the decrease in energy coast within their green home. Lenders are now working to get reduced-rate loans and insurance packages for green new home owners.

4. Less Is More. Back when the housing market was booming, a larger homes lead to greater equity. However since that “bubble burst” this is no longer the case. With energy prices expected to rise over time, and the Federal Reserve likely to raise interest rates during 2010, home buyers are likely to feel more at ease with smaller new homes.

5. Water Conservation. Did you know that residential water usage accumulates for more than half of the public water supplied? The EPA decided in December 2009 to implement WaterSense. WaterSense specifies that new homes will need to reduce water use by 20 percent than conventional new home. Mandatory energy labeling in Europe already documents the water efficiency.

6. Net Zero Homes. A net zero home is a green home that generates more energy than it uses over a year. This is done by building a fairly small new home that is extremely energy efficient and uses on site renewable energy like wind, solar or geo-exchange systems.

Beat The Rising Energy Costs With Green Building Trends

Green building trends are becoming increasingly popular among builders, architects and homeowners with every passing year. With growing environmental awareness, more and more people want recycled and sustainable materials to be incorporated in renovation or construction of their houses. They also favor homes which use design and construction techniques developed to improve the indoor air quality and energy efficiency of the house. Apart from enabling the homeowners to feel great about reducing their carbon footprint, eco-friendly building techniques also provide them lifelong savings on the utility bills.

A green home does not need to be like a geodesic dome or a yurt, like the eco-houses that were built a few decades ago. The idea behind building green homes is to save energy. So, it does not matter what size, style or design you opt for, as long as the house is energy-efficient. All types of green buildings have low cooling and heating costs, as they incorporate the principles of solar designs. Today, green building has emerged as a budding segment of home renovation and construction market. This is the reason why, nowadays, you can find numerous vendors exhibiting eco-friendly building services and products.

Nearly all architecture firms specialize in green or sustainable building designs and offer products, like energy-efficient appliances, recycled plastic roof shingles and many more. These companies can offer great help to families that are struggling financially, by helping them lower their rising energy bills. In fact, real estate agents too feel that eco-friendly architecture components act as an added benefit for their property listings. This is because in the current relaxed residential property market home buyers often get more selective while choosing a house. The long-term savings of green houses therefore make for a tempting property package. This also means green homes sell faster than traditional houses and also, at a better price.

Besides, banks and other financial institutions are also realizing the great investment value of green construction. So, you would also see many of them offering more encouraging terms for loan to customers, wanting to borrow money for buying green homes. All these factors are responsible for the increasing popularity of green building trends. Just as people are turning away from the vehicles consuming high amount of fuel and opting for the ones that are fuel-efficient, they are hesitating to live in the traditionally designed homes.

Today, skyrocketing utility bills is a big concern for every homeowner. Thus, buying a green house or making green renovations in the current house is a great way to beat the rising energy costs. To make the most of green building trends, you can look for a capable green architect, builder or constructor, who can help you build or design an eco-friendly house. Apart from proffering financial benefits, green living can also give you numerous health benefits. For instance, improved indoor air quality significantly reduces the risk of many respiratory diseases.

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.

Booming Green Building Market Continues to Grow

Make no mistake: the “green building” market is not only here to stay, but it’s also the wave of the future. In just the next five years, the market for buildings that incorporate alternative energy and conservation techniques will increase some $10-20 billion dollars. Yet the green building market only constituted about two percent of new construction in 2004. By 2010, that figure is expected to jump to 5-10 percent, which still represents only a tiny fraction of the immense potential of the green building market.

A recent survey showed that more than 70 percent of the architects, engineers, contractors and building owners interviewed expect a significant increase in their income from green building. Of those surveyed, some 60 percent of those industry professionals are now regularly including green techniques in their new construction projects.

Although they cost a bit more to construct, once the buildings are completed, they can save their occupants 8-9 percent in operating costs vs. conventional buildings, which can add up to significant savings over time. Recognizing the trend, builders, architects, and manufacturers are rushing to get in on the boom, which will ultimately bring down prices for consumers.

This is no longer just a few environmentally-minded homeowners placing solar collectors on their roofs to heat water. The boom is being driven by giant corporations like Ford, GM, and Adobe, companies that have incorporated green techniques into their buildings to improve their overall bottom line through increased energy savings. That trend proves that green buildings are no longer just a fad, and are definitely here to stay, because if companies can realize a quick return on their investment, they’re also quick to jump on the green building bandwagon.

Green building isn’t just the wave of the future. Green building is also the hottest “new” thing in current construction. There’s an organization called the U.S. Green Building Council that actively promotes the usage of green building techniques. If you or your company are interested in incorporating green features in your next building project, you’ll find lots of information at http://www.usgbc.org.

It all adds up to a win-win situation for everyone concerned. The building industry gets increased business, occupants save significant amounts of money, and the environment is impacted less and less. And the trend should only gain momentum as new technology makes green buildings even more efficient and less expensive.

Copyright © 2006 Jeanette J. Fisher

Tips for Making Use of Natural Lighting When Building a House

Natural light is bestowed by nature free of any charge. The more of it that enters your house, the more advantages you’ll get from it. Imagine the cost you’ll be able to save from your electricity bills. It also give a refreshing glance of your house because it imbibes positive energy. Here are some tips to let natural light help enlighten your house.

  1. Build house to where the sun is oriented. Most builders recommend to have most windows face the south direction. They will get the most sunlight than have it lost. According to experts, north light is more pleasing and free of glare.East and west-faced windows gets more sunlight but they can be difficult to manage and can trap more of the sun’s energy and give a hotter feel. If you can’t avoid having east and west-faced windows, be sure to have low E-coatings on those windows. Deciduous trees can also help give shade during the summer months, and let more sunlight enter during the winter months because they shed leaves.
  2. Have light control materials in your windows. Curtains and blinds are light control materials that will help natural light enter your house depending on the amount you want. During the first hours of the morning, it is good to get sunlight in because it gives a refreshing energy to move. As the day heightens, the curtains and blinds will help you control the amount of sunlight. They may seem low tech but they can help keep in or keep out the amount of sun’s light you just need.
  3. Have daylight harvesting system installed. This is an automated system which through the help of sensors and detectors can control the light inside your house. It combines natural light and artificial light to illuminate the parts of the house. This system detects the natural light intensity and signals the artificial light to give off the right percentage of luminescence to give an atmosphere that will be conducive for movement and productivity.

Natural light is important in a house. Aside from illumination, it gives health benefits particularly to the skin which needs the natural vitamin E that it gives. However, maintaining the amount of natural light that enters the house is still within the control of the owner. Through the tips given above, it is hoped that you somehow grasped the general idea of how to keep natural light inside your house just as you need it.

Green Building – Sustainable Materials For Home Construction

There are prominent issues in the contemporary society especially those that tackle the massive impact of things in the environment. In the real estate industry, preferring technologies and systems that cater to the preservation of the environment is becoming a trend. One of the concerns prevalent today is on the use of sustainable materials for home construction.

There are innumerable criteria you can actually consider when talking about sustainable materials and how such items are qualified under this category.

One of the main properties that sustainable and green buildings must be eligible with is its less environment impact. Since such real property entities account for many effects on the use of land, water and energy consumption as well as the alteration in the air and the atmosphere, buildings must primarily reduce its consumption of natural resources which are slowly depleting and eliminated without chances of renewal.

Sustainable materials are the ones that are recycled and reused in order to build or renovate homes and buildings. This way, you are not contributing to the exhaustion of the natural resources in order to answer the demands for new materials and items to use for construction and renovation of your property. There are numerous industries in the world of real estate that cater to the notion of recycling and refurbishing materials instead of producing new ones for constructing new properties or improving old ones.

In general, bear in mind that the process of building construction is definitely producing a lot of wastes. Hence, the materials that are recycled and reused must have the ability to reincorporate whatever scraps or wastes are made and remixed or reused it for other building construction purposes.

Another important criterion to consider is to look into the sustainability features of the material and to know if it is truly sustainable from the very moment it was harvested or gained as a raw material up to the time of its eventual disposal.

The material must have very minimal impact to the environment especially in terms of the waste, emission, energy consumption and its capacity to replenish itself in order not to deplete the resources taken from nature due to its production. The energy consumption especially in terms of the harvesting process of the material, its actual processing and the transportation required are all considerable qualities to tag a material that is truly not hazardous to nature.

There are different types of resources which are not recyclable however are still considered sustainable because these primarily have the capacity to highly replenish. Examples of such materials are straw, hay, bamboo, cork, adobe and clay among others. They are tagged with this kind of quality because they can quickly replenish and renew their quantity after they have been harvested. These materials also have low or very minimal rates on emission and are highly deemed for energy conservation.

Hence, if you want to build an eco-friendly and healthier property, you must consider using all natural materials which are sustainable and renewable in nature in every corner and foundation of your home.

5 Reasons for Building Green

Various reasons have been given by many people and entities why they go for green homes and buildings. Through the years, developers have been very keen on abiding by the standards set by authorities aimed at promoting sustainable living. Despite the discussions and information drive, many of us are still left clueless about the advantages of such efforts. It is hoped that with the rest of the article, you, as a reader, will be shared with valuable information which will help you grasp the genera idea of ​​green building.

One of the foremost benefits of investing in a green home is the multitude of economic benefits it can give. It may be a costly investment, but as years pass, the owner can actually reap the benefits of lowered electricity and water bills. Operating costs will likely depreciate in figures as compared with operating or maintain a non-green compliant home or building.

The market value of green properties surges as time passes by. Demand for this types of homes are projected to go up by 2020 with more millenials jumping into the realization that owning a dream house should be aligned with embracing environmental obligations as well. If time comes that the owner decides to sell his piece, gain is probably on his edge. Life span of green homes is projected to be longer than their non-compliant counterparts.

Families invest in homes because of their kids. Essentially, the social welfare of younger family members is in the high ranks of consideration when a house is built or bought.

With this come the associated health advantages that owners are likely to get. Planned ventilations and well-located air circulation appliances contribute to improved air quality. In general, windows of green homes are also designed to let natural air and natural sunlight pass according to controlled amount or as needed.

Green homes would not be called such if without for the benefits that the environment gets. These types of homes and structures in general are built using hybrid raw and recycled ingredients. This lessens trees cut for use as boards, lumbers, and hardwoods. The trees are given more time to mature in their natural habitat. Well-planned water sewage and waste disposal systems are also incorporated in the designs of green houses. There is lesser chance that the owner will likely be contributing to the accumulation of untreated waste products.

If you are planning of building a green home, the various benefits discussed above are more than enough reasons to give your plan a green signal.