October 2008 Press & Charter
from the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association
Today, more and more communities across the Nation are recognizing the value of adopting environmentally friendly methods of living. Community–wide energy conservation programs, that can help local governments and citizens manage energy costs, as well as reduce the production of harmful emissions, are quickly emerging. As awareness grows, many more homeowners will turn their efforts toward building energy efficient homes. Architects and builders are looking to green buildings to satisfy their customers.
What Is Green Building?
Green buildings (also referred to as “sustainable buildings”) are buildings that meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. They use environmental resources wisely and encourage beneficial innovations, like recycling and pollution reduction. Specifically, Green buildings
- Conserve energy and water;
- Use resource-efficient materials;
- Have good indoor air quality; and
- Are integrated to the site and region.
The value expected in individual projects include not only appropriate levels of performance at the best price, but also avoidance of future costs from toxic by-products, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, excessive energy and water consumption, and unnecessary waste in manufacturing, transporting, using, and maintaining building systems and components.
Benefits Of Green Building
Affordable housing projects designed, constructed, operated and maintained using Green Building principles can be more comfortable, more efficient, healthier, higher in quality and more economical than a conventionally designed structure. Comfort and well being will be at optimal levels; furthermore, negative impact on people and environmental resources will be diminished. Operating costs will be reduced. Also, the building should provide a healthier and more pleasant living atmosphere to residents.
Why Green Building is Critical:
The manner in which we build has a profound impact on our natural environment, economy, health and productivity. In the United States, buildings account for:
- 36% of total energy use / 65% of electricity consumption
- 30% of greenhouse gas emissions
- 30% of raw materials use
- 30% of waste output / 136 million tons annually
- 12% of potable water consumption
Breakthroughs in building science, technology and operations are available to those who want to build green and maximize both economic and environmental performance.
- Enhance and protect ecosystems and biodiversity
- Improve air and water quality
- Reduce solid waste
- Conserve natural resources
- Reduce operating costs
- Enhance asset value and profits
- Improve employee productivity and satisfaction
- Optimize life-cycle economic performance
Health and community benefits:
- Improve air, thermal and acoustic environments
- Enhance occupant comfort and health
- Minimize strain on infrastructure
- Contribute to overall quality of life
Green Building’s Benefits To Building Occupants And Owners
Lower bills: Green buildings require less energy to heat, cool and light and require less water for personal use and landscaping. The energy and water savings mean lower utility bills. Green Building practices also promote greater attention to overall construction quality, which tends to minimize maintenance efforts and costs over time.
Better lighting: Green Buildings often make prominent use of day lighting strategies. In the home, day lighting saves energy and creates a more inviting living environment.
Increased overall comfort: Green Buildings offer more precise control of building temperature and humidity than conventional buildings.
Improved indoor air-quality: The program’s emphasis on ecologically friendly building materials not only addresses resource consumption but also a key program result: improved indoor air quality. Green Buildings provide an alternative by creating healthier spaces, an important feature given the increasing concerns about indoor air pollution. Greater attention to overall construction quality in Green Buildings tends to minimize moisture intrusion and associated mold and mildew problems.
Green Building’s Benefits To Builders And Developers
Reduced liability: Improved indoor air quality and reduced mold and mildew problems means fewer lawsuits. By promoting greater attention to overall construction quality and more thorough documentation, Green Building practices help builders and developers demonstrate due diligence in the event of a lawsuit.
Market differentiation: A Green Building rating from a well-known, credible and objective source gives a green builder or developer a means of distinguishing himself from the competition.
Increased building valuation: By reducing utility bills, Green, affordable housing may be eligible for lower utility allowances, which translate into higher net rental income and thus higher building valuation.
Streamlined construction budgets: Some Green Building measures actually reduce construction costs. Working from the start as an integrated design team offers systems integration opportunities and reduces change orders.
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