There are many compelling reasons why families today are considering building or buying a green home.
Personal health one of the most important advantages in building or buying green, because green homes feature better indoor air quality due to tightly sealed ductwork and high-quality air filtration systems. Green homes also work to eliminate Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and products containing formaldehyde. These chemicals, common in certain paints, carpets and even cabinets and millwork are a health concern because they produce what is called off-gasses that contaminate the air in a new home for years after the home is completed. If you have family members who have breathing concerns of any kind, better indoor air quality is a major benefit to building or buying green.
Financial health is another advantage. While a home that is built with more insulation, high-efficiency equipment and other sustainable building features will likely have a higher initial cost, green homes cost less to operate and maintain, saving you money over the long run. They also typically have a higher resale value and are on the market for less time than a home without green features. Green homes also give an advantage to the community because they’re green even during the building process. Much of the job-site waste that would otherwise go to a landfill is recycled on a green construction project, and green building techniques frequently incorporate tree preservation and effective stormwater management to minimize a home’s environmental impact. Once constructed, a green home typically produces 4,500 less pounds of greenhouse gases.
If you are building or buying a green home, experts recommend you look for several key components. Make sure the windows are triple pane, insulated windows that allow for lots of solar gain while not allowing the heat in your home to escape during colder months. Make sure there is a lot of insulation in exterior walls, ceiling and below the slab or crawl space. It’s also important to have an air tight home because more leaks mean more heat loss. Many new green homes now use an exterior breathable waterproof membrane to make the home as air tight as possible. Ventilation is also important because air tight homes require proper ventilation to ensure that your home has a constant supply of fresh air. Having a heat recovery ventilation or HRV is an extremely efficient way to keep fresh air flowing without heat loss.
Choose certified water sense bath fixtures and low flow toilets for your home. Homes with water sense fixtures and low flow toilets can save as much as 10,000 gallons of water per year compared to a home with standard flow fixtures. Working with your contractor or realtor, identify those elements of green living that are the most important to you and your family and then create a checklist to follow based on your family’s priorities and budget.