There is a great deal of interest in building green… and for good reason. Green building offers real value for the consumer. But, what exactly is it, and how do you know if your builder is really complying with green building standards?
What is Green Building?
While building green is defined in a number of ways, the reasons for building this type of home are similar. These reasons certainly include reducing the environmental impact of the home, and promoting indoor health and energy efficiency. This is accomplished in many ways.
Green building uses energy efficient appliances and HVAC systems, water-conserving sprinkler and water systems, and renewable materials. In addition, green building materials are free of toxins and low in VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which promotes a healthy indoor environment. Finally, highly energy efficient products such as SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels), ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms) for the basement walls, and Low-E windows reduce energy consumption.
How do you know if your home’s construction is using the latest green building techniques?
The best way to ensure that you are getting the real thing is to use a third-party inspector or certifier under a recognized program.
You may be familiar with the Energy Star ratings that come on new appliances. In addition to rating new appliances, Energy Star has a housing certification program. This certification takes into account the home’s energy use, indoor air quality, and water management systems.
The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program is another third-party certification program. Developed by, and administered through, the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is the most comprehensive third-party green building verification program available.
A third certification program is the Residential Energy Services Network’s (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index. The amount of energy a home will consume compared to a typical new home is quantified by the HERS Index. A more energy efficient house will have a lower HERS number.
M-T-N Design and PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes design and build energy efficient log and timber homes. In the last few years, they were involved in the LEED for Homes pilot program as well as Energy Star and the NAHB green building initiatives. Learn more about the company’s commitment to helping clients meet their energy efficiency goals and tour the industry’s first Platinum LEED certified home with full log walls.