What exactly is Green Building?
Green building is a collection of practices that limits the environmental cost of constructing or remodeling buildings. Green builders and remodelers have different ideas about what priorities to emphasize.
The U.S Green Building Council’s “LEED for Homes” program rates homes on their successful implementation of green building practices like those listed below.
LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design”.
LEED for Homes is an extension of the popular and well-known LEED rating system for commercial buildings, which uses the same green building practices described below.
Practices of Green Building
The respected environmental journal, Environmental Building News, lists the following green building practices in order as their priorities.
- Build small: Don’t make the building’s footprint larger than you need.
- Build an energy-efficient building: Maximize air-tightness, insulation levels, and appliance efficiency.
- Re-use buildings: Renovate existing buildings and make them energy efficient.
- Build within communities: Locate buildings where they aren’t so dependant on the automobile.
- Reduce material use: Optimize design by simplifying the building geometry, minimizing size, and dimensioning components to use materials most effectively. Optimum-value engineering and advanced framing are terms used to describe this type of wise material use.
- Protect ecosystems: Protect trees and other life at the site and restore the local ecosystem after construction.
- Select environmentally friendly materials: Specify materials with low embodied energy and materials designed to minimize harmful chemicals.
- Maximize longevity: Select the most durable materials and install them with excellent workmanship. Protect buildings from moisture and fire.
- Minimize the building’s water use: Use xeriscaping techniques for landscaping. Use low-water toilets and showerheads. Specify a horizontal axis clothes washer.
- Minimize construction and demolition waste: Plan for minimum waste. Re-use and recycle waste.
Green Building is really about energy efficiency, sustainable design and well planned construction.