Monday, January 26, 2009

Benefits of Building a Green Home

Why build a green home? Every positive action counts. Many people assume that if you are going to build a green home, you’ll be spending far more money than a regular home. This is not true.

From my vantage point, any improvement to any portion of the home building process helps the environment. According to the Brookings Institution, by the year 2030 there will be 34 million new housing units constructed and 23 million existing units will be replaced. Imagine the impact on the environment that any small change could make when we consider the construction of 57 million housing units by the year 2030 (the Brookings Institution estimates there will be 34 million new housing units constructed and 23 million existing units replaced over the next 21 years). Now imagine the impact of the amount of energy consumed by those 57 million units during a conservative estimate of a 50 year building life span!

In the United States, approximately 40% of energy consumption is attributed to non-industrial buildings (residential) and 32% is in heating & cooling alone – it’s staggering! The global climate, carbon dioxide, natural resource depletion and increasing energy demands are all relevant and of great concern.

If you wish to have the largest effect for the smallest effort & investment, work with an experienced architect to design and build a better insulated home with durable, low maintenance materials, more efficient heating and cooling systems, utilize natural day-lighting and perhaps even harness some of the available solar energy to produce hot water or even electricity in a solar power home. Look into geothermal and wind power. Small steps in aggregate will have a significant impact.

The result will be enormous to the environment. Better yet, your green home will be healthy and you’ll spend far less on energy bills, building maintenance, and material replacement costs.