The Benefits of Building GreenChristine Sears
January 30, 2009 — 1,484 views
As consumers continue to learn more and more about green building, architects, designers and builders are starting to incorporate more green features into their new homes. Thanks to new technology and products, consumers can build their dream home without sacrificing aesthetics.
Even though everyone in the home building industry is buzzing about the term 'green' building, many consumers are still confused as to exactly what it means to build a green home. Some of the benefits to building green are living in a healthier, more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly home.
A Healthier Home
Green homes' use of toxin-free building materials helps combat indoor air pollution, which can be much worse than outdoor pollution. Unhealthy air inside can pose serious health risks for residents, including cancer and respiratory ailments like asthma.
Such non-toxic materials include wheat-derived strawboard, natural linoleum made from jute and linseed oil, paints with little or no volatile organic compounds and toxin-free insulation made from soybeans, recycled paper or even old denim.
Green homes have far fewer problems with mold or mildew.
Natural ventilation in green homes, as well as use of mechanical ventilation systems to filter and bring fresh air inside and vent stale air outside, keep residents breathing easy.
A Cost-Efficient Home
The net cost of owning a green home is comparable to -- or even cheaper than -- owning a standard home. If upfront costs are higher, it is often because many architects, homebuilders, engineers, plumbers and other industry professionals just don't have the knowledge and experience to cost-effectively plan, design and build a green home.
Finding a professional familiar with green-building techniques will save you money and ensure you're getting the best-quality work possible.
Month to month, people who live in green homes save money by consuming 40% less energy and 50% less water than standard homes. Over the years, that adds up to big savings.
A green home is more durable than most standard homes because of its high-quality building materials and construction processes, requiring fewer repairs.
The value of a green home is typically higher than that of a comparable standard home, and the market demand for green homes continues to rise.
Local, state and federal governments are increasingly offering tax breaks and other incentives for building LEED homes or adding green features to your home.
An Environmentally Friendly Home
Residential cooling and heating alone make up 20% of the United States ' yearly energy use. Throw in household lighting, appliances and other electronic equipment, and homes are clearly a major source of energy consumption. Green homes use 40% less energy than comparable standard homes.
Some green homes further reduce our dependence on conventional energy sources as they generate some or all of their energy needs through alternative energy sources like the sun, wind, geothermal energy and biomass.
Efficient plumbing and bathing fixtures, drought-tolerant landscaping and water-conserving irrigation systems help green homes use, on average, 50% less water than standard homes.
Far fewer natural resources are used in the construction of a green home. Many green building materials have significant recycled content. Some companies, for example, now make carpets and floor tiles from recycled tires and bottles.
Green homes can also be constructed with salvaged materials from demolished buildings. Green homes use materials made from rapidly renewable materials, like bamboo, hemp, agrifibers and soybean-based products. And the use of wood that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council helps promote socially and environmentally beneficial forestry practices.
Building a standard 2,500-square-foot home creates approximately 2 tons of construction waste that ends up in landfills. Construction of a green home, however, generates 50% to 90% less waste.
About the Author
Christine Sears writes articles about architectural home plans, new home construction, floor plans, house plans, new construction financing, and more for The House Designers.