Frequently Asked Questions & Common Green Myths
The simple answer to this question is: Everyone! That’s because everyone can benefit from going green. Some do it for their budget, others for the environment, even more for the value it adds to their home, and for their and their family’s health.
The good news is that everyone can afford to make green choices, because going green pays you back. Whether it’s the purchase of green products to integrate into your existing home, or an all out purchase of a new green home, your initial investment pays for itself over time with the incredible savings your green choices generate for you.
Go green for your budget, the environment and your family.
The technologies and practices required to build a green home to certain criteria may result in lower costs to operate the home. Energy-efficient appliances, lighting systems, and HVAC equipment result in lower energy consumption compared to other models. Using less water through water-conserving faucets, showers, toilets, and irrigation systems may also result in less water consumption. Properly sized HVAC systems mean that less energy is needed to condition spaces. Employing technologies such as photovoltaic panels for solar electricity and water heating, and geothermal heat exchangers could reduce dependence on public utilities, too.
Effective stormwater management and landscaping could mean less time maintaining outside spaces. Also, green building practices lead to the use of some longer-performing materials and careful construction assemblies. Drained foundations, water spouts on gutters, and flashing around windows and doors might reduce the opportunity for system failure within the home due to moisture intrusion.
Indoor Environmental Quality
Indoor air quality is one of the guiding principles of the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard. Homes that allow for proper air exchange through ventilation, and low-emitting products like low- or no-VOC paints reduce off-gassing. Further, green building practices look at reducing the opportunity for moisture intrusion. The efficient HVAC systems, windows, and floor plans also mean that heating and cooling is better distributed throughout the home.
Increased energy and water efficiency in construction could lead to decreased energy and water consumption in a home throughout its lifespan. Further, some renewable, recycled, and other efficient building products used in green home construction may reduce the impact on natural resources. Also, green homes often include resource and waste reduction and recycling amenities.
The honest answer is: it depends. While it is true that many green homes and products can cost you more today, it won’t take long for your investment to pay for itself, plus more.
We understand that, a lot of the time, it’s hard to look past the price tag and what something is going to cost you right now. But the people who get the most for their money are the ones who can recognize a good investment and consider the long-term payoff of going green, as their purchase continues to save them money each month.
You’ll see a difference when you invest in a green home and green products that are built to last, increase your home’s value, and save you money to pay for themselves along the way!
Once again the honest answer here is: it depends. There are so many factors that contribute the amount you’ll save — your region, the size of your home, the shape, when it was built, the construction of your house, your usage habits, how well the house is insulated, the fuel you use, etc. You can even receive tax credits for certain green purchases, adding to your savings potential.
Even discriminating sources like www.SmartMoney.com agree, buying a green home or making green updates is worth it. It’s a way to actually spend money to save money.
Key Components of a Green Home
Green homes incorporate environmental considerations and resource efficiency into every step of the building and development process to minimize environmental impact. The design, construction, and operation of a home must focus on energy and water efficiency, resource efficient building design and materials, indoor environmental quality, and must take the home’s overall impact on the environment into account.
GREEN BUILDINGMyths Debunked
Green building is no longer viewed as a passing fad or some strange notion adopted by militant environmentalists on the fringe of society. In general, Green building improves indoor air quality, health and the productivity of its occupants. They last a longer time, require fewer resources to develop and are usually more aesthetically pleasing. Resale values of green buildings are usually greater than those that are conventionally built. When life-cycle costs are factored in, as well as human health concerns, building with green materials makes good financial sense.
There are still some persistent myths that keep some in the residential construction industry from accepting that green building is proven effective and here to stay.
Most building products that are natural and non-toxic will be good for the indoor and outdoor environment, even though they cannot be tolerated by some due to sensitivities. There is no question anymore about the positive effect of using non-toxic materials to reduce or eliminate indoor air pollution. Whether it will reduce outdoor air pollution, or save the whales, or eliminate dangerous levels of CO2 remains to be seen. There are not enough people using green building materials now to make much of a dent on the larger scale, however this will change.
Just as organic farming made little difference at first in national health, it's now becoming a recognized positive force in improving the health of the nation. The same will happen with green building over time. Eventually people will realize that most of the chemicals are simply not necessary and unhealthy. This will become more obvious when the alternative becomes more popular and widely used in the building industry.
When enough builders start using green materials, there will be a noticeable atmospheric difference. Wilson points to low-flow toilets and fiberglass insulation as typical products that continue to get a bad rap. People still think that 1.6 gallon-per-flush toilets don't work, even though the fixtures were mandated for all new construction more than a decade ago, and that inhaling fiberglass fibers can lead to cancer. "By and large, new green products work as well if not better than traditional products," he says.
Okay, there is some truth to this one; some green products are not manufactured nationwide and can be hard to purchase in some parts of the country. But the number of green products and systems that are available has grown exponentially over the past few years to the point where there are literally hundreds—if not thousands—of mainstream green products. BuildingGreen Inc. publishes two comprehensive directories (GreenSpec and Green Building Products) with performance data and contact information on just about every green product imaginable.
The design, methodologies, materials and building procedures of the green building movement have been around for thousands of years, albeit in a slightly different form. Modern technologies have made green building materials more readily available, useful and reliable than ever before. The same can be said for architectural design methods and construction techniques.
Many people feel fed up with cheap plastic synthetic boxes called houses that are manufactured quickly with toxic materials, quickly degrade and are often unhealthy for the inhabitants. The popularity of green building is not just a response to the energy crises or the health crises, but rather a natural evolution of the building industry towards greater efficiency, purity, and harmony with nature. In general, green buildings are far more efficient and technologically advanced than most traditional buildings.
Ron Jones is the owner of Sierra Custom Builders in Placitas, New Mexico, and a founder and executive editor of Green Builder magazine. In his many talks around the world on green building, he still has to address this myth. "This is a business that is about common sense, and a lot of green building is very fundamental," he says. "It all begins with a tight building envelope; the rest of it is not very exotic or akin to rocket science."
Some people go to great lengths to build green-generating their own renewable power, for example. Others build green by installing extra insulation or energy efficient appliances. Choose the level that works for you, and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from knowing that the changes you made are good for your customers, your business and the environment.