Why Build Green: The benefits of designing with the whole world in mind
To get an idea
As the green building movement grows in popularity and recognition, you may be wondering what its all about or, at the very least, whether or not its worth the trouble to green up your own home building and remodeling plans. Green building typically requires more thought, research and design time, but that up-front investment can lead to later savings in materials costs and a boost in quality of living.
To get an idea of the impact of construction on our environment, consider a few of the findings of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). In our country alone, residential and commercial buildings account for 36% of total energy use and 65% of electricity consumption. They claim 30% of raw materials and 12% of potable water. And when it comes to pollution, our built environment generates 30% of greenhouse gas emissions and 136 million annual tons of waste. Looking at this state of affairs through green-tinted glasses, its not hard to see how a little conservation could go a long way.
Here are more specific reasons to consider building green:
This holistic approach to creating a living space can take many forms, so dont think youre out of the loop just because youre not planning on building a straw-bale house anytime soon (although that is a pretty cool and innovative green building technique). Start by shopping for appliances and home systems that have earned the EnergyStar label, and conserve water with the new WaterSense products being introduced this year. Take a closer look at green building materials offered at your favorite home improvement center, and research all the choices next time youre planning a project, big or small. Finally, thanks to organizations like the USGBC and such guidelines as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, you can be assured that plenty of trained building professionals are ready to show you how very easy it is to be green.
Note: Tom Kraeutler is the Home Improvement Editor for AOL and host of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program. To find a local radio station, download the show's podcast or sign-up for Tom's free weekly e-newsletter, visit the program's Web site.