Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What is a "Green Home"?

Green homes enjoy significant savings over conventional homes – but what makes a home green?

Typically, a green home is an energy efficient home that at minimum saves 30% in energy costs versus a conventional new home (and savings can be significantly higher), conserves water, protects the surrounding site environment, uses non-toxic paints and finishes, and thus creates a healthy living space for you and your family.

Most important in building a green home is to hire professionals who are experts in the field. Consider working with an architect who is a LEED accredited professional, even if you are not looking to have your new home LEED certified. A green home starts with a green home design, or "sustainable" design, which addresses the elements of geography, site, water efficiency, energy, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality, and a
LEED architect has expertise in these areas.

A key benefit of working with an architect focused on the sustainable aspects of design & construction is that the home will be designed to maximize spatial requirements as well as energy and water consumption while limiting the negative impact of the building on the immediate environment. Also, a green architect will discuss with you various green technologies, renewable energy systems, green building products, and energy efficient building systems that will match your goals and budget.

Also, you will want to interview builders and visit homes, both completed and under construction. Ask what makes their show house green, as well as specific questions about the systems and materials in the home. An experienced green builder will be able to offer simple explanations and give recommendations as to best products to use.

Throughout the home building process, your architect and builder will educate you on the operation and maintenance of the green materials and systems you selected for your home. The benefits and savings will begin during the construction process and continue for the life of the home.

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