There is a growing movement among homeowners and homebuilders in the United States and throughout much of the world.
Known as “green building” or, alternately, as “sustainable building”, it is an approach and a practice of building structures in an environmentally conscious manner.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines it this way,
“Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. Green building is also known as a sustainable or high performance building.”
Thinking Green when Building Homes
Ideally, a green home or other green structure is designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment.
Most people outside of certain fields or industries may not be familiar with the term “built environment”. Wikipedia explains it this way,
“In urban planning, architecture and civil engineering, the term built environment, or built world, refers to the human-made environment that provides the setting for human activity, including homes, buildings, zoning, streets, sidewalks, open spaces, transportation options, and more.”
It has also been defined as “the human-made space in which people live, work and recreate on a day-to-day basis.”
Green building seeks to minimize or mitigate a structure’s impact on the surrounding natural environment through several means including:
- Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
- Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
- Reducing waste, pollution, and environmental degradation
These goals can be achieved with green building in a number of ways such as incorporating sustainable materials in construction such as reused and recycled-content products, or those made from renewable resources. In addition, green building practices can incorporate healthy indoor environments with minimal pollutants and landscaping that reduces water usage by using drought-resistant, native plants.
The core element of green building is planning through the lens of resource consumption and environment impact. This is a comprehensive approach in construction planning with the goal previously noted here of reducing the overall impact of a structure on human health and the surrounding natural environment.
Building Green Today
According to brief history provided by the EPA’s website, the modern green building movement,
“[A] arose out of the need and desire for more energy efficient and environmentally friendly building practices.
The oil price increases of the 1970s spurred significant research and activity to improve energy efficiency and find renewable energy sources. This, combined with the environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s, led to the earliest experiments with contemporary green building.”
The green building field began to come together more formally in the 1990s with several key events occurring such as American Institute of Architects publishing the Environmental Resource Guide in 1992, the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy launching the ENERGY STAR program that same year, and the founding of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1993.
Today, many new homeowners as well as home building contractors are looking to engage in green building for themselves or their clients. And, while this is certainly desirable, it is also a field that is prone to misinformation and misunderstanding.
There are multitudes of resources both online and in print, and several well-established and reliable sources of information such as the U.S. Green Building Council, in many instances the services of green building consultants can minimize and avoid costly mistakes and provide the guidance and advice for a successful green building project.
A green building consultant understands sustainable design and LEED certified projects. A consultant can help an inexperienced project team by leading them through the entire process.
In addition, a professional green building consultant can provide insight and guidance for existing structures undergoing renovation.
According to an article from Architect Magazine,
“Since 2010, the focus on green building projects has shifted to greening existing buildings, and there has been a great need for efficient and effective software tools that track building operations, especially in terms of sustainability variables such as… carbon emissions, water use, waste generation and recycling, and purchasing practices.”
Ultimately, working with a qualified, green building and sustainability consultant means having someone to guide homeowners and contractors through their projects to improve performance and achieve their goals while lowering first and lifecycle costs.
A Reliable Green Building Consultant for Sustainable Homes and Lifestyle
Green living is not only attainable, but sustainable. And an experienced and knowledgeable professional can make the process much easier for homeowners, contractors, and business owners who want to benefit by implementing green and sustainable building practices.
Whether you’re a contractor about to build a home, a homeowner planning to build your own home or an addition, or a business owner who wants to create a more sustainable facility, sustainability consulting can benefit you.
A sustainable construction consultant can provide guidance and direction for any aspect of a project, whether it involves new construction, retrofitting for energy efficiency, or simply adding or upgrading energy saving components.
As an experienced construction consultant, I can guide you in all the phases of your project and answer your questions. To learn more, email me at email@example.com or give me a call at (707) 865-5157.