Ecological footprint – How many earths would it take to sustainably support your current lifestyle? Find out at earthday.net/footprint/
Buildings have a profound effect on the environment, which is why green building practices are so important to reduce and perhaps one day eliminate those impacts.
In the United States, buildings account for:
- between 40 and 49% of total energy use
- 25% of total water consumption
- 70% of total electricity consumption
- 38% of total carbon dioxide emissions
Why you should go Green.
Green and Sustainable building and design is for anyone and everyone who would like to contribute to the success of our environment for generations to come. It is cost-efficient and effectively improves quality of life through design strategies including those discussed here.
How you go Green.
1. SITE of house should be in close proximity to public transportation as well as schools and stores, to minimize contributions to pollution and to decrease each individual’s “carbon footprint” and negative effects on global sustainability. Location of house should be sensitive to existing vegetation and land conditions. Certain fragile land conditions should be avoided including: habitats for endangered species, land that can benefit from agricultural purposes, and swamp/marshlands.
2. DIMENSIONS of house should be smaller in order to be considered a truly green home. Reduction of waste and pollutants produced by the home is more successful in a smaller scale house.
3. DESIGN STRATEGIES include site orientation such that natural light conditions and natural ventilation conditions can be fully exploited in order to avoid excessive reliance on artificial heating, cooling and lighting strategies that will decrease the house’s efficiency and ecological contributions. It is encouraged that the house takes advantage of passive cooling techniques through the use of sun shading devices. Outdoor landscaping including large trees can contribute to shade of the house. The roof includes green design options such as a habitable roof featuring landscaping. East and West Facing windows should be minimized.
4. SPECIAL INSULATION using heat resistance materials is required to help maintain comfortable temperatures throughout the seasons.
5. MATERIALS include recycled, low energy, with low polluting effects.
6. ENERGY used should be renewable and efficient. This can be achieved through the use of appliances rated by Energy Star® and the home can self-generate energy using photovoltaic system technology.
7. WATER-EFFICIENCY can be achieved through rain water collection and conservation as well as through grey water recycling systems.
How you know your house is Green.
The only way to ensure that a home is green is to get it independently verified. There are numerous programs which certify homes as being green, or energy-efficient. Many of the programs are offered through utility companies that provide rebates and incentives.
Some are are national, such as Energy Star, Environments For Living and LEED for Homes, and there are many state and regional certification programs.
Administered by the the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED for Homes is a rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes. LEED homes are certified by LEED for Homes Providers.
RC3D can assist with the certification process of your home: if you have a design for your new home already, RC3D can review the construction documents and specifications for LEED compliance (or any other rating system that you desire); during the certification process, RC3D can work with you and/or your builder, file all documents and submissions, and liaise with the LEED for Homes Provider and verifiers/raters, to obtain green certification of your home.
How you get $2000 in Tax Credits.
Home builders are eligible for a $2,000 tax credit for a new energy efficient home that achieves 50% energy savings for heating and cooling over the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and supplements. At least 1/5 of the energy savings must come from building envelope improvements. This credit also applies to contractors of manufactured homes conforming to Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards.
There is also a $1,000 tax credit to the producer of a new manufactured home achieving 30% energy savings for heating and cooling over the 2004 IECC and supplements (at least 1/3 of the savings must come from building envelope improvements), or a manufactured home meeting the requirements established by EPA under the ENERGY STAR program.
to find out how much you're entitled to.
Benefits of Green Building
- Enhance and protect ecosystems and biodiversity
- Improve air and water quality
- Reduce solid waste
- Conserve natural resources
Health and community benefits:
- Reduce operating costs
- Enhance asset value and profits
- Improve employee productivity and satisfaction
- Optimize life-cycle economic performance
- Improve air, thermal, and acoustic environments
- Enhance occupant comfort and health
- Minimize strain on local infrastructure
- Contribute to overall quality of life
News and Feeds