We have all heard too much about going “green”. In fact “green” and its many variables made the 2009 List of Banished Words published by Lake Superior State University. Certainly there is a lot of hype in advertising and the media which raises questions for anyone thinking of building or remodeling. Questions like:
Energy efficiency is only one component of green building. But it is one component that can easily be measured and proven to save money over a given period of time. Energy Star, the well-known Environmental Protection Agency’s program rates appliances, computers and other devices also certifies homes for energy efficiency. The Energy Star program uses independent inspectors to examine the design of the house before it is built, inspect it during construction and test the house when it is completed giving the buyer a realistic assessment of their future utility costs and savings.
What makes a house really green can be subjective. If you want a house that is verifiably green, there is a way to measure “green-ness”. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) working with the International Code Council (ICC) the leading building code organization in the U.S. has developed a National Green Building Standard. This is the only standard approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
It sets benchmarks for green:
As you can see, this list goes far beyond simple energy efficiency but like Energy Star, it is evaluated, inspected and tested by third-party verifiers.
In addition, it offers certification at 4 levels of performance; Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald, allowing you, the consumer to choose the level of commitment that suits your needs and your budget.
The cost of green can vary. Things like energy, resource and water efficiency can be measured and will pay for themselves in a relatively short period of time.
Lot design and preparation impact the land on which you build, where you build and the energy it takes to get to work, school and errands.
Indoor environmental quality can have paybacks in better health for your family. Operation and maintenance will reduce energy use and increase the life of the building itself.
Building a home that produces its own energy will eliminate utility bills but will incur high costs for equipment and maintenance and require significant lifestyle changes.
The ANSI National Green Building Standard provides the Owner with flexibility to control costs and green features with independent third-party verification.
Building green? In many ways we already are. At 1-2-1 Designs, we build for durability, comfort, energy efficiency and long-term value. We build green by reducing waste, using low VOC paints and using renewable and recycled materials to name a few examples. We are Energy Star Partners and as a Certified Green Professional, we can help you find the level of green that is right for you.
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