Understanding the “Buzz” Behind Green Homebuilding

DATE: Oct 13, 2014

Green Homebuilding Construction Site at Dusk

You’ve probably heard the terms, “eco-friendly homes” and “earth homes” buzzing around the community, but what exactly makes them different from a traditional home? To understand this, let’s define green homebuilding and take a look at how eco-friendly building standards differ from modern homebuilding, as well as examine how you can benefit from a green home.

Green Homebuilding Defined

Green homebuilding involves using environmentally-safe building materials and limiting waste throughout the entire construction of a home. Following the “ICC-700 National Green Building Standards®,” homebuilders are awarded points based on how much the project adheres to conservation efforts and green building standards. The point system is based on a LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) and there are four tiers:

  • Certified green (40-49 points)
  • Silver (50-59 point)
  • Gold (60-79 points)
  • Platinum (80+ points)

So now that we’ve defined green homebuilding and discussed how it’s measured, here’s how it differs from traditional building.

Green Homebuilding vs. Traditional Homebuilding: What’s the difference?

In general, green builders and traditional builders disagree on a few things when it comes to erecting a house. Specifically, a green homebuilder seeks:

1. Sustainable Building Materials

Green homebuilders are very careful when it comes to the type of building materials they use. They conserve waste by using recycled materials and they use products made from renewable sources. Traditional homebuilders are less concerned about sustainability when selecting raw materials.

2. Improved Energy Efficiency

A traditional builder is not as concerned about taking measures to improve energy efficiency. Low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, energy-efficient windows, water-conserving fixtures, and ENERGY STAR certified appliances are top priorities of a green homebuilder.

3. Economical Building Standards

The goal of a green homebuilder is to conserve raw materials and reduce the amount of waste in landfills by adhering to economical building practices. Traditional homebuilders don’t have this mindset and, as a result, they generate a lot of construction waste. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there is approximately 160 million tons of building-related construction and demolition waste in America, and 60 percent of it ends up in landfills. Unlike traditional builders, green construction companies strive to eliminate this problem.

Go “Green” for Increased Savings

Green homebuilding offers homebuyers significant benefits and cost savings over traditional homebuilding. If you’re looking to build or buy a new home, here are just some of the benefits of going green:

  • Cuts energy consumption by 30 to 60 percent
  • Saves $200 to $400 (20%) annually on energy bills
  • Has an eight percent higher resale value over conventional homes
  • Contributes to 48 percent of the affordable housing sector

Understanding what green certification is and how it differs from traditional homebuilding is your first step in realizing the benefits of an eco-friendly home. Give us a call at 360.601.6292 to get started today!

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