Home Construction Goes Green


What is building green?

There is a huge new trend right now in new home construction called Green Architecture or Green Building. If you have done any research at all into contracting or home construction lately, you have probably seen the term. It is an environmentally friendly approach to construction that attempts to minimize harmful effects on human health and the environment. The ‘green’ builder, or architect, takes all possible steps to safeguard soil, air, and water by choosing as many eco-friendly building materials as possible and adopting eco-friendly construction practices.

Green home construction with wind power turbines in Jacksonville FL

The ultimate goal is to create a lighter footprint. Making home construction green is all about finding the right balance between high-quality construction and low environmental impact. That balance will result in a longer-lasting planet. If we all just take a moment to consider the alternatives to traditional materials and recognize the benefits – it is a win/win for everyone – the home owner, the builder and the planet.

Begin Green Home Construction

Creating a plan for a green project does require some research. There is definitely a process involved. Making smarter decisions at the start can save time, money and frustration later on. A successful building green project is not just a matter of building with green materials. It combines both materials and processes to maximize efficiency, durability and savings to the home owner. There is a lot of information to cover here, so we will start with the ground work.

Example of green home construction blue print for green home in Jacksonville FL

3D model of green home construction with blue prints in Jacksonville FL

Seven Principles of Green Architecture

1. Site and its surroundings
2. Energy Efficiency
3. Water Efficiency
4. Material Efficiency
5. indoor Air Quality
6. Waste Reduction
7. Low maintenance costs

Site and surroundings: Selecting the site depends on the size and type of project, and the before and after factors.
• Before (‘the before construction of the project’) – local and cost effective labor, availability of local materials to cut transportation costs, and environmental conditions
• After (‘the after use efficiently of the structure’)– proximity to parks, schools, work, agricultural potential of the property, availability of public utility services, etc.

Energy Efficiency: A study should be done to determine climatic factors that will determine things like the orientation of the structure (which direction it faces), size of the doorways, which type of glass to use in windows, what kind of insulation, solar energy, etc.
• Location of the site
• Micro-climate of the area
• Macro-climate of the area
• Topography
• Natural elements present on the site

Water Efficiency (interior and exterior) – Conserve by using ultra low flush toilets, aerators, drip irrigation, collecting storm water, sustainable landscaping
• Reduction in consumption of water
• Preserving the quality of water

Material Efficiency – using recycled materials, materials that use renewable energy, or physical processes that uses less material, produces higher outputs/outcomes, and generates less wastes.

Indoor Air Quality – reducing overall chemical exposure and limiting exposure to chemicals with known health hazards.
• Exterior contamination prevention
• Increased ventilation
• Carbon dioxide monitors

Waste Reduction – to reduce waste of energy, water and materials used during construction.
• Reduce the amount of material going to landfills
• Reduce the impact on wells or water treatment plants
• Reduce impact onto electricity network

Low maintenance costs – Consume less energy and less water (which translates to reduced operating expenses) and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

So what’s next?

Green home cutout made of grass in Jacksonville FL

There’s much more to cover but we’ll do that in our next installment. At that time we’ll discuss Life Cycle Assessments, helpful tools when in the planning stage, and certifications for your green building project. In the meantime, if you’re interested in knowing more about a green home construction project, visit Florida Green Building.