Green building standards have been around since before the 2000s, but it wasn’t until then that they really took off. Green projects were not seen as the norm in the business and real estate worlds. Then, things changed. The US Green Building Council launched the Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating program. Plus, the Energy Star rating system picked up more credibility. Studies began to conclude that going green was cost-effective — not expensive — as many had previously believed.
Access became the third pillar that really pushed the acceptance of green building standards forward. Eco-friendly materials, machines and furnishings became mainstream, so more developers and individuals began to employ them. Here are eight ways you can build a home according to green building standards.
Use Sustainable Materials
To qualify as green, a carbon footprint cannot be left behind. If you do leave a footprint, you have to take an action that offsets it. A great way to adhere to green building standards is to ensure that you use sustainable materials. Sustainable materials can be produced in large quantities, but they do not deplete non-renewable resources. Sustainable materials that are commonly used in construction are wood, cork ,and concrete. Straw bales, recycled plastic and rammed earth are other options. For a home, you have to take several factors into consideration, such as location, weather, and other outdoor elements. So, use materials that can also withstand the region’s conditions.
Construction sites tend to be messy. There is a lot of dirt, dust and raw materials involved. It is inevitable. Organizations whose mission it is to educate various industry professionals on how to achieve green building standards know this. So, offsetting the waste by recycling is a must. Service providers whose job is to pick up waste from construction sites are readily available. Separating the smaller materials is easy. For bigger jobs, outsourcing the task is a viable option. Making sure you recycle your materials will make sure that perfectly usable materials don’t go to waste and can help to make less of an impact on the environment.
Make Clean-Up Easier
When a home is built, raw materials are heavy, large and odd-shaped. They are bulky, too, which makes them difficult to handle by one person alone. Once the sawing and fitting begins, the mess left behind is sharp, odd-shaped and still heavy. A bottom dump hopper can make the site safer for everyone and simplify cleaning up waste. The container is used as temporary storage. There are several makes and models that function in different ways. One model is able to dump free flow materials from a forklift as well as a crane.
An Energy-Efficient Design
Energy efficiency is a big focus in the real estate field. New homes are designed specifically to maximize energy use so that less is consumed. Big-ticket household appliances and any others that require electricity also must have a favorable ENERGY STAR rating. An energy-efficient design for a new home means that heating, cooling and hot water systems operate in harmony with each other and based on the home’s structure. Features of an energy-efficient home include triple-pane windows, smart thermometers and ductless mini-split systems, for example. The goal is to prevent air leaks while providing healthy indoor air quality. Since with this type of system no air is leaking and bad air is not coming in, the belief is that homeowners can use less energy and still remain comfortable inside. An energy-efficient design is an essential component of green building standards.
Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality is also a very important aspect of green building. It’s critical to make sure that the materials you are using don’t emit any chemicals that are harmful to not only the occupants but also to the environment. To make sure that your home doesn’t emit these kinds of pollutants, avoid building materials like paints, sealants, adhesives that emit volatile chemicals (VOCs). To improve the indoor air quality, you can also make sure to add plenty of windows and vents to provide more ventilation throughout the home. Additionally, you can install an efficient HVAC system not only improve the air quality but also lessen the impact on the environment.
When you’re building a green home, it’s important to pay attention to water conservation. Thankfully, there are things you can implement when building a home to make it so that you can conserve more water. Being mindful of water use can be achieved without feeling like you are sacrificing your lifestyle. For the yard, a water-conserving irrigation system is a must. Native and drought-tolerant landscape plants help you keep the exterior spaces of your home looking beautiful while still being green. For the inside of your house, installing waterless urinals is a great way to conserve water.
Ultimately, a home built under the guide of green building standards should be sustainable. Everything from the demolition to the construction has an impact on the environment. Radon, for example, develops in the soil when it is hot. It turns into a gas that floats into homes when the foundation has a crack. To avoid this, you should avoid products that include harmful chemicals when building your house. Building a sustainable home means that you use environmentally friendly products. It also means that the design is flexible because it takes into account future accessibility needs. It’s also important to consider the “end of life” factor of the building materials because if your house is ever demolished, it can be recycled.
Building a new home according to green building standards is easy today thanks to the availability of materials, machinery and technology. Though not all homes are sustainable, the technology and resources available to us today makes it easier than ever to slowly make a difference on the environment.