Should we give the “go” signal on construction services which aims to build “green” or “healthy” homes? But don’t confuse green as being healthy. “‘Green’ doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Green means conserving energy,” according to Richard Corsi, associate professor in the Texas Institute for the Indoor Environment (University of Texas) in Austin on SF Gate.
Building a cost-effective and energy-efficient house goes all down to planning. You just have to choose a right mix of green technologies that cost less with those which costs a bit more than you’ll have yourself a “green” house, as stated on a paper entitled “What is a Green Building?” published at US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) website.
How about choosing your design team? Does it have to be a company specializing in eco-construction services? That may be a good thing, but not essential, “because the collective knowledge, experience, and dedication of the design team will determine the overall success of the green project,” the paper further explains.
What are the factors that need to be considered by the design team during the planning phase of the project? The LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification program lays out the prerequisites on how to build a “green” home. What is LEED? As explained on U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) website, they certify building projects that promote or support sustainable construction strategies and practices based on the following credit categories:
- Location and transportation
- Materials and resources
- Water efficiency
- Energy and atmosphere
- Indoor environmental quality
- Smart location & linkage
If you really want to build a “green” home, it should be decided before the site is selected or even before you hire the construction services of a subcontractor. The reason behind this is “many of the green criteria are affected by site characteristics and some sites are inappropriate for certain green projects,” based on the “What is a Green Building?” paper.
Aside from the site location, here are the other techniques to build an energy-efficient home, according to a blog article on Conserve Energy Future website:
- Build a smaller house because a large home costs more to heat and cool.
- Choose a location near public transportations and major commercial establishments to reduce carbon footprint.
- Incorporate the principle of 3 Re’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) during the construction phase. Reduce buying raw and conventional construction materials and choose recycled materials instead. You may also reuse old materials such as wood floors or scrap metals.
- Choose solar panels as a substitute for coal-fired power plants. In your own little way, you’ve contributed to reduce the air pollution emitted by these plants.
- Install rainwater harvesting systems that can be used in toilets, washing the car and watering the plants.
It is true that building a “green” house is more expensive than the traditional one. The construction service fees may be the same, but the materials can hurt your budget. However, this type of costly investment will pay off in the long run. According to Western North Carolina Green Building Council, it can reduce operating costs; improve indoor air quality; and more importantly, it has a positive impact on the health of its occupants and the environment.