by Keith Dmytryck
More and more people are coming to realize the necessity and urgency of doing human activities with as little impact on the environment as possible. In the field of design and architecture, green home building techniques and materials now become man’s way of building structures which work with and not against the environment.
There a few key concepts which govern eco friendly building techniques and these are application of energy-efficient design and equipment, the use of sustainable materials, reduction of impact on environment and health and the sustainable management of water resources.
Fifty percent (50%) of a household’s energy consumption goes to heating or cooling interior spaces. This energy can be wasted by poor insulation. Green building techniques include stopping drafts with spray foam insulation, building exterior walls with 2×6 studs rather than the traditional 2×4’s and using high-efficiency, Energy Star-rated, low-emissivity windows.
Green building techniques take into account the sun and wind orientation. To naturally heat a home or room on the south facing sides have the flooring consist of tile or stone that will heat up with the sun and release it slowly after the sun sets. To keep that same area from heating up in the summer time have deciduous shade trees strategically planted to shade the windows during the summer months. To passively cool interiors, windows can be installed on all sides to allow cross-ventilation. And to brighten up interior rooms without using up energy, skylights, and light tubes can be used.
Green building is geared towards conscientious use of natural resources. For instance, using wood panels made of compressed, recycled agricultural waste is a greener option compared to using solid sawn lumber which causes deforestation.
Green design is also about leaving a few footprints on the land. That is, buildings should take up less land in order to give more room for outdoor green spaces. Exterior green spaces such as patios and driveways should have natural landscapes which retains the rain thus helping to prevent runoff to watersheds. Moreover, landscaped spaces should have indigenous plants which do not need pesticides, harmful fertilizers and more watering.
Indoor air has been found to harbor high levels of toxic gases in the form of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are emitted by paints, plastics and certain wood products such as plywood and particleboard. Green building techniques involve the use of low- or no-VOC paints and formaldehyde-free wood products.
Energy-efficient equipment is determined as such by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and can be identified by a blue Energy Star label. Part of green home building includes the use of Energy Star-labeled heating and cooling systems, tankless water heaters, appliances and light fixtures.
These green building materials and techniques can be applied whether you are building a new home, an addition to an existing home or a kitchen or bath remodel or a finished basement. Either way Innovation Construction Co. will be glad to discuss with you further how we can help make your next building or remodeling project more eco-friendly.