We incorporate Sustainable “Green” Building Practices in our company protocols. We are tuned in to common sense and cutting-edge technologies, products and practices that result in a finished product that is healthier, longer-lasting, and more energy efficient – often with minimal or no impact to the budget.
What is Green Building?
Green Buildings are constructed and operated to enhance the well-being of occupants, and to minimize negative impacts on the community and natural environment.
- Provide a healthier and more comfortable environment
- Improve long-term economic performance
- Incorporate energy and water efficient technologies
- Use recycled content materials in their construction
- Reduce construction and demolition waste
- Bring higher resale value
- Are landscaped for water and energy efficiency
- Include renewable energy technologies
- Improve indoor air quality
- Reduce environmental impact
- Are easier to maintain & built to last
With most of us spending more than 80% of our time indoors, Green Building is the healthy, common sense choice for a better life. As it stands now in traditional construction, the quality of our indoor environment is often far more polluted than outdoors due to various building materials, inadequate lighting, and a variety of other variables. According to EPA reports, the air in new homes can be up to ten times more polluted than outside air due to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals used in product manufacturing. Contrarily, homes that follow green building guidelines use healthier paints and building materials, and adhere to stricter gas emission and ventilation requirements improving the quality of a home's indoor environment.
Green building can also ensure that fewer natural resources are required during construction. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Center for Sustainable Development, buildings consume 40% of the world's total energy, 25% of its wood harvest and 16% of its water. Compared to traditional construction, a green built home takes some of this pressure off the environment.
More important than any statistic however, is the good feeling you have when you know you've done what's right for both your family and your community. Promoting continued health, financial savings, and social responsibility, Green Building is the construction standard for the future, and the smart solution for today.
Contact us about Green Building methods and materials. We can help you determine what options are practical for your home.
10 Easy Ways to Green Your Home
1. Install CFL bulbs:
If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.
2. Use timers or occupancy sensors on some of your lights:
Occupancy sensors—indoor lighting controls—detect activity within a certain area. They provide convenience by turning lights on automatically when someone enters a room. They reduce lighting energy use by turning lights off soon after the last occupant has left the room.
3. Install a programmable thermostat:
Did you know that properly using a programmable thermostat in your home is one of the easiest ways you can save energy and money. An ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat helps make it easy for you to save by offering four pre-programmed settings to regulate your home’s temperature in both summer and winter — when you are asleep or away.
The average household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills — nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. Homeowners can save about $180 a year by properly setting their programmable thermostats and maintaining those settings.
4. Use low or no VOC paint or finishes:
If you’re thinking about doing some painting in your house, and are concerned about the toxic VOCs (Volatile Organic Chemicals) in conventional paints, we’ve got some alternatives to consider. Today, some paint manufacturers use techniques that produce paint containing many fewer VOCs than conventional paints. These paints release significantly fewer polluting toxins, and no-VOC paints are odor free (most low-VOC paints will produce a slight odor).
5. Use vinegar and green cleaning products:
Cleaning products are everywhere in our homes and offices: on dishes, countertops, furniture, clothes, floors, windows, and floating through the air. In our war on dirt and germs we may often actually be making things worse. Most of the conventional cleaning products we all grew up with are petroleum-based and have dubious health and environmental implications. Instead of opting for cleaning products that annihilate everything in their path, there are plenty of natural products and methods that keep a house clean and fresh-smelling without the toxic side effects.
As the health and environmental impacts of conventional cleaning products become more thoroughly understood, more and more brands of healthy, green, and effective cleaning products have started hitting the market and competing for that coveted place of honor under your sink. Many of these products are non-toxic, biodegradable, and made from renewable resources (not petroleum). But if designer labels aren’t for you, home-mixed cleaners can get the job done and then some. Vinegar and baking soda can be used to clean almost anything. Mix in a little warm water with either of these and you’ve got yourself an all-purpose cleaner. Here are some favorites:
- Seventh generation liquid dish soap
- Ecover toilet bowel cleaner
- Ecos liquid laundry detergent
- Mrs. Meyer’s countertop spray
- Natural Value Ecosafe garbage bags
6. Insulate your water heater:
Unless your water heater's storage tank already has a high R-value of insulation (at least R-24), adding insulation to it can reduce standby heat losses by 25%–45%. This will save you around 4%–9% in water heating costs.
If you don't know your water heater tank's R-value, touch it. A tank that's warm to the touch needs additional insulation.
Insulating your storage water heater tank is fairly simple and inexpensive, and it will pay for itself in about a year. You can find pre-cut jackets or blankets available from around $10–$20. Choose one with an insulating value of at least R-8. Some utilities sell them at low prices, offer rebates, and even install them at a low or no cost.
7. Add insulation in your attic:
There are several advantages to insulating your home:
Proper insulation reduces energy costs.
A well-insulated structure does not gain or lose heat as quickly as a poorly-insulated one, so it is easier to maintain a comfortable temperature.
The retention of conditioned air lowers the demand on the heating and cooling systems. This reduces operating costs and extends the life of the system.
8. Seal and insulate HVAC ducts/ change furnace filter:
In houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. In a typical house, however, about 20 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. The result is higher utility bills and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.
Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool — wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system — leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.
9. Install efficient shower heads and faucets/wash clothes in cold water:
Fix defective plumbing or dripping faucets. A single dripping hot water faucet can waste 212 gallons of water a month. That not only increases water bills, but also increases the gas or electric bill for heating the water.
10. Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees:
From warm showers to clean dishes, we count on hot water. In fact, the average household spends $400–$600 per year on water heating — making it the second largest energy expenditure behind heating and cooling.
You can reduce your water heating costs by simply lowering the thermostat setting on your water heater. For each 10ºF reduction in water temperature, you can save between 3%–5% in energy costs.