What is green building?
Green building, also known as “sustainable” or “high performance” building seeks to merge high-quality design with low environmental impact. This merging results in homes that are attractive and efficient, making the best use of available resources while minimizing the amount of waste the home produces. Green building doesn’t just start and end in using recycled materials whenever available. It extends to all aspects of the home, including energy-efficient windows, fixtures, plumbing, and appliances, air and water filtration systems, and even the type of paint that is used. All the elements are carefully selected to maximize the comfort and health of the home’s occupants, while minimizing the home’s footprint in its surrounding ecosystem.
While there is some expense in starting the construction with high-quality materials, these costs quickly pay for themselves in countless ways. Energy-efficient windows work to minimize excess heat when it’s hot outside and to keep heat inside when it’s cold out. Energy-efficient appliances provide the same benefits while using less power to operate. Items such as these allow the home to stay comfortable and running smoothly with lower monthly energy bills and less stress on the local power grid. Installing low-flow toilets and efficiency plumbing allows for the home to use less water and recycles the water for further use in the home. Some homes are plumbed for used water from sinks to be run into the toilet for secondary use, or for water from the home to be irrigated to water the local landscape. Thoughtful design and planning allows the home to minimize monthly water bills while also helping to conserve a valuable natural resource. Many green homes also utilize alternative energy sources such as solar panels, which further reduce the home’s dependence on the local energy grid and lower energy costs.