I have been trained to advise you on environmentally-friendly building and practices.
This does not mean that I am an expert, but I do know more than the average person and have been taught where to find the experts. I have owned a home in Colorado with an active solar system for heating and a home in Pennsylvania with a solar hot water system. Both homes used natural gas as the backup power source.
However, I did not use the backup system in Colorado during the summer. Consequently, I learned that I would run out of hot water after 3 cloudy days.
Why go Green?
There are a variety of reasons to go green, but most come back to supply and demand. We have a limited amount of resources available and more and more people using them up. If we want our future generations to enjoy the same standard of living we’ve experienced, we need to take action.
Green building is a great place to start, as buildings consume 14% of potable water, 40% of raw materials, and 39% of energy in the United States alone (according to the US Green Building Council). That’s 15 trillion gallons of water and 3 billion tons of raw materials each year! If that’s not enough to convince you, here are some other reasons to go green:
For The Environment
Want to make the world a better place? Implementing green practices into your home or office can help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, improve both air and water quality, and protect ecosystems and biodiversity.
For The Savings
Want to make your dollar go further? Green systems and materials reduce energy consumption, which in turn reduce your energy bills. They also increase asset value and profits and decrease marketing time; making your dollar go further for longer.
For Your Health
Want to live healthier? Green building isn’t just good for the environment; it’s also good for YOU. Sustainable design and technology enhance a resident’s overall quality of life by improving air and water quality and reducing noise pollution. According to a 2006 study by the Center of the Built Environment, University of California, green office buildings improve productivity and employee satisfaction in the workplace.
More Green stuff
As it is easy to get lost in terminology, I am providing you with a link to a Glossary of Green Building Terms . Inhabitat.com is a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future.
Being GREEN does not mean you do not have a sense of humor. Check out these commercials for the Planet Green television network:
The Asheville area is becoming a Mecca for all things Green.
We have the WNC Green Building Council which produces a directory of Green builders and vendors and also provides classes for the public on Green issues. In the Asheville area, we are proud to have an increasing number of “healthy built ” homes on the market. To be a truly a “healthy built” home, the home has to built using healthy built principles and additional inspections are required.
Besides using environmentally friendly materials, there are actual building practices that go into a healthy built home. These include how insulation and ducting are installed and sealed. Our MLS is establishing a field so that you can search for “healthy built” homes, but it will be accessible only to MLS members. I am working with my web host to make this option available to you on my site.
New Homes: Before building (and even afterwards) there are many things to consider when doing sustainable site planning….from following steep slope regulations to using native plants. This website has tools which allow you to enter your proposed house design and it will offer suggestions on ways on making your design more energy efficient.
Existing Homes: Although an existing home cannot receive the official designation of “healthy built”, there are still many things you can do to make your home green. Green and Save is one of America’s leading free ‘Green’ home remodeling resources for anyone who wants to save money and the environment, as well as create a healthier home and overall lifestyle.
The company is the first to offer comprehensive Return on Investment (ROI) rankings and Take Action recommendations on multiple ways to ‘Go Green’. They have produced a guide for the entire family on living “green” and on adjustments to your home to make it more green. Additional information on these adjustments can be found in the Green Home Performance Guide.
Finding the Right Water-Heating Solution After heating and cooling systems, water heating systems consume a lot of energy. The Department of Energy provides a comprehensive overview on water heating options and costs. They cover each technology in depth and look at factors which may make one technology preferable in specific situations. It also contains a guide to efficiency ratings for comparing across and within technologies and calculators for determining your household hot water usage and lifetime costs for electric and gas systems. You can use this calculator to explore the energy usage of your water heater, and to estimate whether a solar water heater could save you money.
Assess the safety of a neighborhood from an environmental viewpoint. This tool is provided by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Check your carbon footprint here.