In the past decade, the house-building industry in the United States has certainly experienced its share of issues. With the state of the economy, several builders are required to review their approach to their market now that it is shrinking. In multiple cases, these builders decide to focus on the growing demand for environmental-friendly homes in Portland.
By providing green homes, several builders can address their market’s desire for energy and water-efficient living spaces by confidently ensuring a healthier environment and financial benefits. The United States Green Building Council revealed their LEED for Homes program certified 10,000 homes from 2008-2011. This is exciting, but what exactly is a green home?
The first thing that you’ll want to know when searching for the perfect green home is third-party verification. Sadly, several builders deceivingly call their homes green when they’re not. Just as an inspector is supposed to provide an outside opinion on a home’s condition, the purpose of third-party verification is to determine if the home is actually green. The biggest program is the United States Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes certification program.
Typically, LEED for homes is the most comprehensive of these verification programs. Others include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy which uses the Energy Star rating system. These programs look primarily on energy efficiency, a major component of green homes. Lastly, third-party verification programs at several local establishments may prove crucial when deciding to purchase or build a green home.
A green home’s features can definitely be hard to notice at first for many home buyers and builders. Jerry Yudelson in “Choosing Green” writes that every green home possess 5 primarily components: sustainable site and location, water conservation, energy conservation, materials, and indoor environmental quality.
A green home’s features can definitely be hard to notice at first for many home buyers and builders. Jerry Yudelson in “Choosing Green” writes that every green home possesses 5 primarily components: sustainable site and location, water conservation, energy conservation, materials, and indoor environmental quality.
Sustainable Site and Location: One main feature of a green home that is usually overlooked is the location of where the home will be built. Abstaining from building on sites like farmlands and instead building near existing infrastructure such as roads, sewers, stormwater systems and transit, permits builders to reduce the negative impact on a green home’s surroundings.
Water Conservation: Reducing water use can be economically achieved by the use of low=flow fixtures that usually cost the same as their inefficient sister models. Water can also be saved in landscaping areas just by selecting the appropriate plants.
Energy Conservation: The most critical component of a green home would have to be energy efficiency. By choosing to build with a passive design, structural insulated panels, efficient lighting, and renewable energy sources such as solar and geothermal, a home can experience the benefits from reducing energy consumption or meet the criteria for a net-zero energy home.
Materials: The materials used to construct a green home can vary greatly, but it’s important to know what materials are typically used in the building process. While recycled materials may be one of several choices used to construct a green home, it is not the sole source. Green materials may include reused materials, renewable materials such as bamboo or cork, or materials source from your local region. Make a note that green materials do not need to be more expensive or differ in quality. The majority of green materials are very similar to non-green materials.
Indoor Environmental Quality: The indoor quality of a green home is just as important as its contribution to a healthier outdoor environment as it involves the health of its residents. In most cases, a healthier indoor environment can be achieved by the avoidance of hazardous materials found in paint, carpet, and other finishes. As well as efficient ventilation and sufficient daylight.