A website devoted to you
Whether you are a homeowner looking to remodel your home green or a building professional wanting to learn more about how to build green, this is the place for you.
Our hope is that this is a different experience than you have had before. We’ve been in the green building world for over 15 years and bring to you the best of what green really is and what are the best practices out there to accomplish your green aspirations.
The good news and the bad news is that green building has hit the tipping point in the US. There are thousands of trained professionals out there to help you design and build your home. The bad news is that there are many people and companies trying to “surf” the green wave without sufficient credibility or training to help you do your project correctly.
That is why we are here. To help separate the real green products, professionals and procedures from all the “greenwashing” that is taking place.
Welcome to an adventure that hopefully will change the way you think about HOME!
To begin with green building requires thinking differently about what a house really is. All too often homes have been built by a group of strangers who don’t know each other and rarely communicate, using thousands of products and materials, with very little supervision to tie it all together.
A green home on the other hand is designed with intention to function as a system, much as your car is a system of parts and pieces that work in concert with each other. If you change one part the whole system is affected. That is why green homes can save you so much money on energy bills and be so much healthier for your children. The thinking and design has been done with your family in mind.
Benefits of green homes
- More affordable month after month
- They are healthier for your family
- They are more comfortable
- The materials are more durable
- They require less maintenance
- They have higher resale value (if you ever want to sell it!)
- They provide peace of mind
- And, by the way, they are much kinder on the environment
- Energy prices have changed our world
With the advent of air conditioning after World War II, house designs started to look the same whether you were in Anchorage or Pensacola, Florida. Energy was cheap and we could install heating and cooling equipment of sufficient size and power to overcome the most inclement of weather.
Fast forward to today. Natural gas prices have more than doubled since 2002. The are expected to double again in the next 3-5 years. We have all experienced the sticker shock at the gas pumps. The uncertain energy future we face requires our homes to be designed and built differently. The intention is to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as much as possible to “futureproof” our homes from this uncertainty.
Simple first steps
Today a green home or home improvement is based upon making the building much more energy efficient than ever before. It all starts with installing as much insulation as possible. It is easy and one of the best investments you can make today. Often you can realize a return on your investment as high as 20% per year for as long as you own your home. Very few homes in America are as insulated as they will need to be to be affordable in the future.
When you remodel your home no matter what your project needs are; a new kitchen, updating your master bathroom, finishing the basement, while you are at it increase the energy efficiency of the entire home. As much as 25% of your heat loss is just through insufficiently sealed doors, window and penetrations through the exterior of your home like hose bibs or telephone wiring. Sealing up the house is cheap and easy. This can cost as little as $100 and pay for itself in one winter. The same is true if most of your energy is spent on air conditioning.
Little improvements can make a big difference in comfort and affordability.
Your house as a system
All of the elements of a home work together to provide comfort by protecting us from the elements. That is the real reason we live inside. Otherwise many of use would rather be outside if the weather is nice.
When building a new home or a large addition it is important to think green from the ground up. Basically that means thinking about how the elements (sun, wind and water) can impact the health and energy efficiency of the whole house. It starts with 3 basic principles:
- Energy Efficiency
- Resource Conservation
- Indoor air quality
Each one affects the other. The higher the energy efficiency, the tighter the home, the more important the indoor air quality becomes. How we use resources like wood, recycled content materials and water has impacts that stretch across the planet.
Think like a cat
Our animals know where the sun shines any time of day and where the warmest places to sleep are. We turn the thermostat up or down.
All of our homes should take full advantage of free solar energy. Passive solar design has been part of human habitat for 2500 years. We have forgotten how to design our homes to take full advantage of the sun. The south wall of every building in North America will act differently that the other walls. That is because the sun is low in the southern sky in winter and shines through south facing windows to heat our homes. This fact should always be our first consideration. Putting more windows on the south side of the home and fewer on the north side is a simple way to save 10-40% on winter heating bills depending on how well insulated the house is. People who have lots of natural daylight from south-facing windows tend to be happier at home.
Green Building is for everyone and every project
There is no project too small to think about in a green way. From the simplest upgrades like interior painting to larger projects around the home green adds quality and value to your house. If you do a little insulating with each project you do you will not only be more comfortable but it will help resale value when you decide to move.
Come on in and look around
Greenbuilding.com will continue to bring the best green has to offer to you whether you are a homeowner or a building professional come back often for new ideas and approaches to make homes the best they can be now and for the future.