Green House Building:
Now that you have a handle on the numerous advantages of green house building, you're ready to get started on a plan, right?
Well, I want to caution you before you choose your plan, select your green building materials and energy-efficient home systems, and definitely before you take bids from builders.
It is extremely important for you to realize that "green" doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. In fact, when you say the term: green house building or building a green house, a builder or salesperson may nod their head confidently, assured that they know EXACTLY what you are looking for (and are more than happy to sell it to you).
But BUYER BEWARE!
Well, simply because of this: Green house building has numerous facets to its definition. It would not be unusual in the least for someone to qualify a material, system, or builder as "green" because it fits ONE part of the definition.
Residential Green Building
Case in point:
Some time ago, a handyman who was doing some work for us informed me that he had a friend who was a local builder. Even more exciting, he told me, is that this builder had nearly completed a "green home" in my area - about 5 miles from where I lived!
Well, that certainly got my attention, since I was already quite interested in green house building.
So, I made an appointment to meet with this builder at the home he was constructing. It was beautiful on the outside - brick face, with a typical asphalt roof.
As we walked inside, I noticed the gorgeous wood floors in the entryway. He proudly led me around the home and explained that this house was built using Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF). Because of this fact, there was little need for soundproofing between floors. He also explained that the electric bills the future inhabitants would pay would amount to $300-$400 PER YEAR!
WOW. That was impressive.
Green House Building Systems
Receiving cheap energy bills every year certainly raised my interest in learning about the advantages and costs of ICF building and other green building systems.
But I quickly realized on my new home tour, that the builder's definition of "green" house building was primarily that of energy efficiency.
Now that is a great thing!
But a family who is concerned about non toxic living in a well ventilated, healthy house is likely to be very disappointed.
"Green" Building Materials?
Well, there were the kitchen and bath cabinets - with that "new house smell" (read:
). There was traditional carpet in the bedrooms, replete with scores of chemicals, some of which have not even been classified for their toxic effects. Typical wood sealers, stain, and paint were likely to be used.
Don't get me wrong - this man is a fine, professional builder who is doing an excellent thing by using cutting-edge technology to save energy and provide comfort and stability.
But what he doesn't know -
and what many of us have yet to learn -
is that energy-efficiency and lower bills alone do not address the greater issue of safe living.
You may see recycled building materials touted as the new "green" today. Carpets made from recycled soda bottles.
Reclaimed wood from someone's old home.
New carpet made from someone's worn out throwaway rug.
Recycled Building Material:
Is It Healthy?
Does green house building mean simply using recycled materials? And are those products necessarily healthy?
Recycling is great. But does that assure you that the materials are non-toxic?
Can you be certain that the reclaimed building materials (such as wood) haven't absorbed smoke and aren't growing mold because of too much moisture?
That's why I urge you to read more and research any and all things you wish to consider.
Put in your "due diligence" with great consideration before building your green house.
Make certain that what you choose for your green house building will be the best for YOUR family, within your budget, and something you can happily live with for years to come.
Building a Green House
When we boil it all down, what do we really NEED to create a healthy house?
* We need a home environment free of
known chemical hazards.
* We need NOT breathe
on a daily basis for years and just HOPE that our health doesn't suffer for it.
* We need plenty of natural light.
* We need pure water for drinking and cleaning.
* We need ventilation to replace the stale air and supply our lungs with fresh oxygen.
* We need to do what we can to preserve the beauty and efficiency of our landscape.
* We need a place to call "home" that is truly a
for our family and friends.
So I urge you: Qualify YOUR definition of green house building - prioritize what is most important for you and your family, and gather information to help you make the best decisions you can.
No, we can't know everything about everything, but each green choice you make TODAY is another building block you add to the health of your family - for all of your TOMORROWS.
Building Your Green Home Page
Why Build Green?
The Time is NOW. The future is HERE. The color is GREEN.