So exactly what is green building, you may ask?
Green. This word may bring many images to your mind.
You may think of green with envy, greenbacks, a greenhorn, Geico lizard green, or how could we forget Kermit the Frog's famous tune: It Ain't Easy Bein' Green?
Today's emphasis has another slant on this colorful word. Green home building is likely something you've been noticing a lot in the news headlines. So what does it mean to build a green house?
Green building can mean different things to different people. Three themes, however, seem to emerge from the vast quantities of information written on this topic:
1. Energy Efficiency
2. Non-toxic materials
3. Reduced consumption (fuel and resource conservation)
Let's start with energy efficiency. Are you mortified by the skyrocketing gas prices?
Are you shocked by the price tag on your monthly
In my area of the state,
the power company attempted a 43% rate increase in the past year.) Prices continue
to escalate, and the cost of living rises yearly - does your income keep up with these rate increases?
If you look closely at your monthly budget, most likely a hefty portion of your outlay goes for fuel, electricity, and water consumption. Slashing these costs could make a huge difference in your cash flow.
Even the U.S.government recognizes the importance of energy efficiency. You may have noticed the Energy Star rating on numerous appliances because they meet government standards for energy conservation. This is just one of the many ways that our leaders encourage energy awareness. Following the lead of numerous other countries, North America is rapidly gaining momentum in the quest for knowledge and demand for safer green living.
As you will learn by surfing this green building site, there are numerous green systems that can save you serious cash. I'm talking month to month savings and increasing your cash flow in the here and now. I'm also referring to savings year after year for as long as you live in your home.
Why the fuss over non-toxic building materials? Well, if you or your child has
, multiple chemical sensitivity (mcs), or other health issues, you may already understand this.
If not, then I want you to know that this is a serious problem. And it is one that many builders still do not address (standard building materials are, well, substandard when it comes to health).
Part of the problem is what we don't know. And yes, it can hurt us! From the arsenic in the treated wood that is used to build our decks, to the high levels of
(a known carcinogen) in OSB board, kitchen and bath cabinets, insulation,and furniture, to the myriads of chemicals found in traditional carpeting (with some studies showing the death of mice who breathe them), we live daily in a
that has the capacity to render us quite ill, or at the very least, unwell.
Living and breathing in a
is vital for our own well-being. It is critical for the health and vitality of our children.
Once we become aware of what has been so long hidden from most of us, we will demand change. The good news is, the choices for non-toxic living are increasing rapidly. When we know and then insist on safer products, they will become more readily available and costs will decrease. More and more builders will
jump on the bandwagon when they see that the trend is green home building and we hold the pocketbooks!
has long been emphasized as part of the green movement. You may hear of the plea to buy materials locally (saving on transportation costs and reducing pollution), using recycled or reclaimed building materials, or even building a
rammed earth dwelling.
are all possibilities, please understand that green building does not have to mean a style of living that may be completely foreign to you.
It is quite feasible for you to choose a standard building plan, and then simply select various materials and systems to "green" that plan.
Remember, we cannot all do everything. But we can all do something to create
a safer, saner planet for ourselves and for our children.
Green building is a great place to begin!