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Green Building Techniques
One of the most important trends in new home design and construction is the concept of “green” construction. In this type of construction, house builders and home owners choose to utilize environmentally friendly building materials, and energy efficient construction techniques.
Green building is gaining in popularity across the United States, and this method of construction benefits the environment by reducing the inefficiencies of the typical home construction project, while also benefitting the resulting homeowner with lower utility bills and a smaller enviromental “footprint”.
The widespread availability of green materials and knowledgeable builders has made it relatively easy for homeowners to go green when building their new house plans. When choosing your new home design, decide which green building techniques will work best for you.
Below are several quick and easy ways to implement green building techniques in your new home:
Green Building Materials Ask your builder about using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified lumber. These wood products are grown and harvested in an ecologically sound manner, and are readily available at stores such as Lowes and Home Depot.
Request low VOC (volatile organic compound) materials for floors, shelving, and countertops to improve your indoor air quality and reduce pollution. Granite is one of the most beautiful and popular upgrades in kitchens and bathrooms. Recent reports indicate that certain granite products used in homes can emit radon gas, the second leading cause of lung cancer in humans. Some experts have even recommended that lung cancer patients, pregnant women, and small children limit exposure to granite. Studies indicate that the vast majority of granite is safe, with the most risk occurring in exotic, highly striated varieties from Namibia and Brazil. Take into consideration your floorplan and how much granite would be used for your countertops. Limited physical contact with granite and a well ventilated home greatly reduce the dangers of exposure to radon.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are no regulations in place to test granite from any source, and there is no test that accurately measures the amount for radiation coming from granite in the home. Checking radon levels in the entire home can easily be accomplished with a kit purchased from a home improvement store.
Conservation – The simplest way to make sure your new home is being built green is to check the Energy Star rating on appliances and windows, and doors. Consider the use of tankless water heaters that only heat water on demand.
Landscaping with native plants and preserving existing mature trees will help conserve water and minimize hot spots on the patio, house, and driveway.
Additional ideas include installing green seal certified windows and doors, utilizing foam insulation which can save up to 50 on energy bills, utilizing solar water heaters, compact fluorescent lighting, computer controlled vents that pull in fresh air.
Finally, you can find a list of green home builders by going to http://energystar.gov or the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Green site, http://nahbgreen.org.
Best wishes in the building of your new home!
Jill Phillips is a houseplans enthusiast and operates one of the leading stock home plans websites on the Internet located at Home Design http://Central.com . On the site, you can quickly search through thousands of house designs from the nation's leading building designers and architects.
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