Building Green - Getting Started
green is becoming more and more important as our resources dwindle, and we become
more aware of the sensitivities to toxins that many people have. With the price
of oil and natural gas rising, saving energy is a big concern. The use of green
construction in home and business developments has started really taking off,
and many people are interested in making their developments environmentally friendly.
One survey found that at least fifty percent of all builders should be producing
at least some green developments by the year 2010. However, once you've decided
to build green, it can be difficult to know where to start. If you're an investor
or developer who's interested in learning about the process of green building,
here are a few basics to help you get going.
Currently, the building industry
is centered on those practices which are least expensive, and easiest to implement.
Unfortunately many of these practices aren't all that green. From the use of adhesives
and materials that can off-gas, to the creation of structures that waste heat
and water, a conventional building makes a big impact on the world around us.
You can make buildings greener in a number of different ways, including using
natural and non-toxic materials, improving air quality, reducing waste of energy
and water, employing renewable energy sources, and reusing materials whenever
For those developing a property, or investing in a development,
building green can be especially difficult. Individuals who are building on a
small scale can more easily exercise control and find green solutions. Larger
developments require advance planning, and there isn't currently a standard process
for green building. However, working with experienced professionals can help a
lot. For instance, it's often a good idea to work with an energy consultant, who
can help you decide how to implement designs that will allow your buildings to
conserve energy more effectively. Conservation of energy is one of the biggest
concerns related to green building, since most buildings do not make efficient
use of power. Correct building orientation to make use of passive solar design,
efficient heating and cooling systems, and high grade insulation are just a few
of the options you can put in place to make your developments more energy efficient.
should also try to work with contractors who have prior experience with green
building. This will help head off possible problems later on. A contractor who
has built green structures in the past will have better familiarity with the methods
and materials that are used. They'll also be more willing to work with you, even
if the process required to make the building more environmentally friendly means
more work on their end.
Since building with environmentally friendly and
recyclable materials can be more expensive than conventional building, developers
should also make sure they do their research in advance. Look at the cost of materials
available, and design your budget appropriately. Be sure to factor in the increase
in sale price for green building, and the improvements in energy efficiency when
you decide what materials are most cost effective. Materials that are more expensive
now will bring savings down the road. Even if you're developing the property for
resale, buyers will be aware of this, and may be willing to offer a higher price.
often requires the removal of existing structures. Standard practice is to demolish
these structures, with the rubble usually being taken to the local landfill. To
make the process of getting rid of unwanted structures more environmentally friendly,
focus on deconstruction rather than demolition. Deconstruction takes longer, but
allows the materials to be reused or resold, and saves on tipping fees. If the
structures in question are older, they may have been built from materials which
are no longer available, like large dimension old-growth hardwood, which can be
reused in other buildings and is superior to softwood dimensional lumber.
place where many modern buildings create waste is water use. Very few structures
are designed to make efficient use of available water supplies. As more sources
of water become polluted, and aquifiers are emptied, water conservation becomes
a greater concern. Plan on using features that save water in your new development.
These can include installation of ultra-low flow toilets and showers, faucet aerators
and high-efficiency showerheads, efficient heating and cooling systems, and use
of air-cooled equipment instead of water-cooled. In addition, it may be wise to
designate a water efficiency coordinator for large projects.
accepted benchmark for green buildings is the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design) Standard. LEED certification provides independent, third party verification
that your building project is an environmentally responsible one. Even if you
do not choose to get this certification, being familiar with LEED standards can
help you make the right choices when building green.
While getting started
in green building can be intimidating at first, familiarity with standards and
talking to experts in the field can make the process a lot easier. Energy and
water conservation are two of the biggest concerns, with use of recycled or recyclable,
non-toxic materials, and reduction of landfill use following. With a sound plan
and the correct priorities, making your development a green one doesn't have to
be hard. Green developments are turning up everywhere, from water-saving condominiums
built of recyclable materials where decaying industrial buildings used to sit,
to schools and businesses designed to make the best use of energy while providing
good air quality. Slowly, green building is becoming mainstream, so now's a great
time to get started.
About the Author
This website was created to promote green building
and LEED certification, by Bob Moore Construction. A leading commercial construction
company in Texas since 1946, Bob Moore Construction is a member of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the Tilt-up Concrete Association (TCA). For more information
about Bob Moore Construction's LEED and green building program, please visit