Choosing the Best Green Home Builder

Today many people are “going green”, which means that they are becoming environmentally friendly in how they live their lives and minimizing the harm done to the earth. When some people decide to build their home from the bottom up, they decide to have a green home builder build their home. This contractor would build their home with low environmental and energy efficiency in mind. To find a green home builder you should talk to the contractors in your area. Some that will travel to your area to build your home but their services will add more expense to the cost of your home.

To ensure that you will have the best green home builder ask them what type of building material they will use. You should also inquire about their disposal methods to make sure they are in compliant with sustainability practices. The materials that they should use are non-toxic when possible, and environmentally friendly. They should also be materials that come from renewable sources, or sustainable material. This can include materials from homes that have been knocked down. This material can include old doors, cabinets, some of the wood to accent the home such as using the material for ceiling beams, and more. They should try to avoid using plastics and choose their wood carefully. You should ask to see examples of the green projects they have completed. Their construction philosophy should focus on green building. It should not just focus on using green techniques as a secondary technique. Make sure that the contract you sign states that it will be constructed from sustainable and green material.

A home builder may tell you that they are using green building techniques but it could be easy for them to start using less environmentally friendly techniques and designs to save money on materials so they can put more money in their pockets. This is why you need to be sure that they are a reputable home builder and have good references as a green construction company. They need to be knowledgeable about green techniques and processes and committed to green construction and design. If you want your new green custom built home to be built using unconventional techniques make sure the home builder can demonstrate they understand the techniques you want and can do them correctly.

Before you choose a green home builder, you should educate yourself on what constitutes a green home and the process to build one. This will help you to determine a good green home builder and to know if they are cutting corners using non-environmentally friendly material. Having a green home can save you money on heating and cooling costs, and if sustainable material is used it can save these materials from being disposed of improperly.

Green Home Building Trends For 2010

Although the building industry had a dark year in 2009, Green building seemed to somehow stick out and shine. According to the Multiple Listing Service date, certified sustainable green new homes actually rose the past year in the northern west coast areas like Portland and Seattle. This trend is believed to spread over the U.S. and green building is expected to grow within new home sales. Already new home sales are on a rise from a year ago with March of 2010 seeing the biggest jump in new home sales in 47 years. So what trends can we expect to see in 2010 in green new homes?

1. Energy Monitoring Home Dashboards. The increasing demand for energy efficient homes, the development of a custom web-based display panel within the home, will show real-time home energy use. This sophisticated produced can break down the real time energy use of homeowners appliances, which will help a homeowner change the way they use their electricity. For example the way an electric car miles per gallon indicator encourages the owner to adapt their driving habits, new homes that offer these Dashboards may encourage homeowners to reach lower energy use. Dashboards will also increase the probability that homeowners of green homes will reach the Energy Performance Score.

2. Energy Efficient Green Home Labeling. Like the miles per gallon label you would find when searching for a new car, energy rating systems for new homes has become popular among legislators. This energy rating system will make it easier for home buyers to see the energy efficiency of one green home compared to another. Each homes score will be available on the MLS.

3. Lenders and Green Homes Make for a Better Bottom Line. Lenders have come to the conclusion that green new homes are better for their bottom line. By seeing a trend of green home owners being more responsible and less probable to default on a loan, due to the fact that most green home owners are more accountable and likely to place higher value on home maintenance. Home owners are also less likely to default due to the decrease in energy coast within their green home. Lenders are now working to get reduced-rate loans and insurance packages for green new home owners.

4. Less Is More. Back when the housing market was booming, a larger homes lead to greater equity. However since that “bubble burst” this is no longer the case. With energy prices expected to rise over time, and the Federal Reserve likely to raise interest rates during 2010, home buyers are likely to feel more at ease with smaller new homes.

5. Water Conservation. Did you know that residential water usage accumulates for more than half of the public water supplied? The EPA decided in December 2009 to implement WaterSense. WaterSense specifies that new homes will need to reduce water use by 20 percent than conventional new home. Mandatory energy labeling in Europe already documents the water efficiency.

6. Net Zero Homes. A net zero home is a green home that generates more energy than it uses over a year. This is done by building a fairly small new home that is extremely energy efficient and uses on site renewable energy like wind, solar or geo-exchange systems.

Building Green – Getting Started

Building green is becoming more and more important as our resources dwindle, and we become more aware of the sensitivities to toxins that many people have. With the price of oil and natural gas rising, saving energy is a big concern. The use of green construction in home and business developments has started really taking off, and many people are interested in making their developments environmentally friendly. One survey found that at least fifty percent of all builders should be producing at least some green developments by the year 2010. However, once you’ve decided to build green, it can be difficult to know where to start. If you’re an investor or developer who’s interested in learning about the process of green building, here are a few basics to help you get going.

Currently, the building industry is centered on those practices which are least expensive, and easiest to implement. Unfortunately many of these practices aren’t all that green. From the use of adhesives and materials that can off-gas, to the creation of structures that waste heat and water, a conventional building makes a big impact on the world around us. You can make buildings greener in a number of different ways, including using natural and non-toxic materials, improving air quality, reducing waste of energy and water, employing renewable energy sources, and reusing materials whenever possible.

For those developing a property, or investing in a development, building green can be especially difficult. Individuals who are building on a small scale can more easily exercise control and find green solutions. Larger developments require advance planning, and there isn’t currently a standard process for green building. However, working with experienced professionals can help a lot. For instance, it’s often a good idea to work with an energy consultant, who can help you decide how to implement designs that will allow your buildings to conserve energy more effectively. Conservation of energy is one of the biggest concerns related to green building, since most buildings do not make efficient use of power. Correct building orientation to make use of passive solar design, efficient heating and cooling systems, and high grade insulation are just a few of the options you can put in place to make your developments more energy efficient.

You should also try to work with contractors who have prior experience with green building. This will help head off possible problems later on. A contractor who has built green structures in the past will have better familiarity with the methods and materials that are used. They’ll also be more willing to work with you, even if the process required to make the building more environmentally friendly means more work on their end.

Since building with environmentally friendly and recyclable materials can be more expensive than conventional building, developers should also make sure they do their research in advance. Look at the cost of materials available, and design your budget appropriately. Be sure to factor in the increase in sale price for green building, and the improvements in energy efficiency when you decide what materials are most cost effective. Materials that are more expensive now will bring savings down the road. Even if you’re developing the property for resale, buyers will be aware of this, and may be willing to offer a higher price.

Development often requires the removal of existing structures. Standard practice is to demolish these structures, with the rubble usually being taken to the local landfill. To make the process of getting rid of unwanted structures more environmentally friendly, focus on deconstruction rather than demolition. Deconstruction takes longer, but allows the materials to be reused or resold, and saves on tipping fees. If the structures in question are older, they may have been built from materials which are no longer available, like large dimension old-growth hardwood, which can be reused in other buildings and is superior to softwood dimensional lumber.

Another place where many modern buildings create waste is water use. Very few structures are designed to make efficient use of available water supplies. As more sources of water become polluted, and aquifiers are emptied, water conservation becomes a greater concern. Plan on using features that save water in your new development. These can include installation of ultra-low flow toilets and showers, faucet aerators and high-efficiency showerheads, efficient heating and cooling systems, and use of air-cooled equipment instead of water-cooled. In addition, it may be wise to designate a water efficiency coordinator for large projects.

The nationally accepted benchmark for green buildings is the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Standard. LEED certification provides independent, third party verification that your building project is an environmentally responsible one. Even if you do not choose to get this certification, being familiar with LEED standards can help you make the right choices when building green.

While getting started in green building can be intimidating at first, familiarity with standards and talking to experts in the field can make the process a lot easier. Energy and water conservation are two of the biggest concerns, with use of recycled or recyclable, non-toxic materials, and reduction of landfill use following. With a sound plan and the correct priorities, making your development a green one doesn’t have to be hard. Green developments are turning up everywhere, from water-saving condominiums built of recyclable materials where decaying industrial buildings used to sit, to schools and businesses designed to make the best use of energy while providing good air quality. Slowly, green building is becoming mainstream, so now’s a great time to get started.

Some Tips In Building A Green Home

If you are thinking of joining the advocacy of going green, what better way to do it than to start building a green home. You will need to follow certain environmental practices in building a green home – such as those that help lessen (negative) effects on the environment.

First thing you need to consider is building materials. Building a environment friendly home would require materials that are eco-friendly and compliant with the current standards in constructing green homes. You may browse the internet for details regarding the compliances and product info to help you where to get and how to use them. If you have a contractor in mind, make sure that the company offers services specifically for building a green home.

It is imperative to prioritize sustainable materials such as those that can be recycled or natural materials that can be replenished due to their growth rate. Hardwood from large old trees should not be cut down and used, since they take years to grow and the earth beneath will also be affected when they are taken out. Using alternative wood such as bamboo is better since this specie can grow rapidly.

Lightweight concrete is a type of concrete that has been used in building a healthy home for years. However, this type of concrete is not as strong, but it can perform as well as traditional concrete and can hold up to any weather condition. It is often used as home insulation and it’s also capable of retarding fire.

Prefabricated panels for homes are also available and they can be ordered and purchased at reasonable amounts. Generally, they are similarly priced to regular building materials that are used for a typical home. And they must also get approval from organizations that monitor environmental compliances.

In order to have less impact on the environment, building green homes employ appropriate architectural design. Typical green homes are smaller than regular homes like those that are found in rural areas and large counties. Styles may vary from contemporary, bungalow, Victorian, ranch style and many others.

The important thing about building a green home is that it will help lessen the negative effects on the environment in general. There are many factors that you need to consider such as energy and water consumptions, recycling and using eco-friendly materials. Generally, once you have these factors implemented on your green home, you’ll be able to help reduce harmful impacts on the environment and on the earth.

A Home Builders Common Sense Approach to Green Building

Green building is an idea of building homes smarter, there are several different steps in defining “green.” Starting with practicing “green” carpentry, this simply means looking for ways to construct houses in a way that will save on lumber without compromising the structure or longevity of the home. An example of which is using a double 2×10 header (common practice) on a non load bearing wall… Doing so wastes not only lumber and money, but robs the insulation value of the space above the window. This is just one example of “green” carpentry.

Another issue is wasted materials on the job site. If you own and contract your work out, see to it that your crews utilize the “ends of the board” or “cut-off” pieces; also using scrap lumber and sheeting as corner backers and bracing. Another way to practice “green” is the construction waste: Separating the construction waste by demolition materials, recyclables, and actual garbage. The proverbial “job site dumpster” will not be found on a true green builders job site. It is amazing how much cardboard comes off a job site!

Practicing “green” excavating and landscaping: The goal is simply to upset as little soil as possible while utilizing the resources on site. It’s always nice when there isn’t a need to haul soils in or out of the property. With creative excavating you can often can make simple but effective water run-off situations while eliminating the need for retaining walls. When possible the top soil is scraped and cleaned before it is pushed in a pile. That dirt can then be re-used once the site is ready for top soil. Trees and other landscape materials are also preserved and utilized.

Another common “green” practice is the use of renewable building materials. When it is prudent and sensible choose a product that comes from a renewable source, over a product that does not. As a green builder, you will be put into situations where you must make those decisions where renewable materials may be overpriced; or may use more fossil fuels in production and shipping than it’s worth.

Sometimes “green” is defined by using non toxic materials. Paint, treated lumber, insulation are just some examples of materials that have been known to have toxic properties in them. Pay attention to this issue and avoid any known products and materials that can be dangerous in a home.

Other times, “green” is referring to carbon emissions or the carbon footprint. I have done years of research finding ways to make homes more energy efficient. If you want to build a beautiful sustainable home look into building a single level home, using radiant heat as the heating source. You will have very little emissions due to the fact that this type of home utilizes an electric boiler with thermal storage, with the benefit of off-peak pricing. Electricity is an excellent, clean and affordable energy source. “Green” most definitely has a place when it comes to energy efficiency. Choosing “energy star” rated products and materials are also very important when going “green.” Insulation, windows, light fixtures, appliances, heating & cooling systems, sun exposure all come into play.

Renewable energy sources are yet another example of “green.” Building your home with a thermal storage system that provides affordable heat & cool storage. Ground source heat pumps, wind power and solar power are all excellent renewable energy sources. Currently the issue with them is the front end cost. Hopefully as time goes on the initial costs will come down and they will be a more viable option for the mainstream market.

Another example of “green” is building with materials and products that will stand the test of time. Building materials, fixtures and appliances that are more durable and longer lasting, save on the environment as well as your pocketbook. Steel roofs are just one example. The challenge here however is the front end costs. Another issue is the fast changing demands of the industry. I can still recall the $800 microwave that now sells for under $50.00. Point being your expensive latest and greatest could quickly become a dinosaur.

The size, footprint and design of a home can be “green” as well. It is seemingly coming to a realization that the big “McMansions” are a thing of the past. A modest, conservative floor plan that uses all of the homes square footage is becoming more and more of a focus in the new home market.

Finally, “green” can be about saving money. That’s right! Going “green” can save you some green! The concept is simple, choosing the right materials, appliances and making smart decisions are all about “green!” Making smart choices will stretch your dollar as well as save on our planet.

Whether we like it or not, “green” is here to stay. Before building your next home be sure to plan with “green” in mind. Be a creative home builder, constantly researching the latest and most innovative ways to build homes. By following these guidelines, you can rest assured that your home will be built in alignment with the “green” movement.