A GREEN Home, according to the National Association of Home Builders, qualifies as green when it conserves water and other natural resources, is energy efficient, uses recycled or sustainable products and protects indoor air quality.
How do you achieve a GREEN Home????
Here is an 8 step guide to begin the process:
First: Location, Location, Location – Remember WHERE a home is built is as important as how it is built. Being as close as possible to work, school, transit, shopping, recreation, walking and biking trails and other amenities will reduce your need to drive. Not only will in increase your health and well-being it will also increase your quality of life.
Second: Water Efficiency- You can use less water with water-saving dishwashers, clothes washers, toilets, faucets and fixtures. And rainwater or “GREYWATER” that’s already been used inside can be captured and used to irrigate the native, drought-resistant plants in your landscaping.
Third: More Natural Yard-Landscaping with native plants prevents nonnative plants from taking over an area’s ecosystem and avoiding monoculture (like a lawn) promotes biodiversity. Erosion controls and permeable hardscaping keep dirty polluted runoff water from nearby waterways. Also, smart landscaping can reduced the need for toxic pest controls that can endanger your family and pets.
Fourth: Alternative Energy- There are many ways to incorporate alternative energy sources into your home. Solar – The Sun’s rays can generate power or can be used to heat water. Geothermal heating and cooling systems use the ground to transfer heat. And many utility companies allow you to purchase alternative energy directly from them.
Fifth: Clean Fresh Air- Indoor air can be improved with the use of efficient HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems that bring filtered outdoor air inside. Also, the use of non-toxic carpets, cleaning supplies, paints and finishes can further protect a home’s occupants.
Sixth: Energy Efficiency- High-efficiency light bulbs, fixtures, lamps and appliances can drastically reduce your energy use. Low-energy lighting also produces less heat, cutting your heating bills. Programmable Thermostats and room-by-room climate controls allow you to get the right level of comfort when and where you need/want it without wasting energy. And High-Efficiency windows keep conditioned air from leaving the house.
Seventh: A Tight Envelope- You can keep the winter/summer outside by choosing insulation with a high R-Value (measure of thermal resistance) and making sure there are no gaps, leaks or cracks in your home’s envelope. Also where/how the home is positioned on its lot and strategically placed trees can maximize the sun’s rays in the winter while reducing the heat in the summer.
Finally: Smart Material Selection- From insulation materials to flooring , from upholstery to lumber, homes use a lot of natural and synthetic resources. Look for wood that is sustainably harvested, materials that have been recycled and produced locally and the most durable products that won’t soon need to be replaced.