Building Green

Building Green - Utilize these energy saving options to gain ultimate sustainability.

Building Green

Build Green And Live A Much Healthier Live

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Making the decision to build a green home is one of the wisest decisions that a homeowner can make. Building a green home not only has a positive affect on the homeowner - it affects everyone, including contractors and subcontractors, neighbors, home visitors, and even the community as a whole.

As an architect, I am convinced that building a green home is not only the best possible thing any homeowner can do; I believe it is the only thing they should do.

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I started dabbling in green design back in 1987. I was designing a home for a doctor and he mentioned that he wanted to incorporate as many nonpolluting materials into his new home as possible. His reasoning was simple - his wife was extremely sensitive to all inorganic compounds. Today we call them VOC's, Volatile Organic Compounds. Back then, they didn't even have a name.

It seems my client's wife suffered tunnel vision when she come in contact with such pollutants.

Many People Develop Sensitivity To Inorganic Compounds

After learning of his wife's condition, I shared with my doctor client that I frequently suffered serious migraine headaches. They were so severe that I ended up completely debilitated at least one day out of each week and suffered excruciating pain for at least two additional days. This was not a good situation for an architect who needs to focus carefully on his work!

In our discussions, he thought that I may have developed hyper-sensitivity to these same VOC's that plagued his wife. I did inform him that I had undergone all of the allergy testing grids, but nothing seemed to help. He said it was most likely the environment that I was living in - an older home with no green elements at all.

Now I was on a mission. I not only hoped to solve his wife's problems with the inorganic materials; I also wanted to build a new and environmentally safe home for myself.

My client and I searched all the available resources for building green. Because it was the late 1980's there wasn't much available, we were often treated like we were from another planet because of our strange questions and the "smell tests" that we performed on all products.

Eco Friendly Paint

Choose Eco Friendly Paint

Some of the products we found were water based paints and varnishes. Porcelain tile, wool carpeting, and hair carpet pads were other products we investigated. Many times, what was more important were the products we didn't use.

We chose not to use termite treatment or any high-VOC caulking or sealants indoors. We decided against all wallpaper because of the glue. The glues and adhesives that we did use were water based. A lot of face brick was used indoors and all natural woods and gypsum board were incorporated as well.

In 1988, both homes were finally complete. The migraines stopped almost as soon as I moved in. I was living proof that  environment can affect health and was totally sold.

As it turns out, as we are exposed to chemicals our resistance to them slowly wears down until our body systems can no longer tolerate the  pollutants. Imagine a switch in your body resistance system, eventually it has enough and can't be turned back on. Our only choice is to eliminate the source of our problems.

On these pages, we teach you how to eliminate that source, and how to promote building green techniques for your home.. At the same time, you'll provide a safe place for the workers who build or remodel your home. More importantly, you will create a safe sanctuary for your children, who are the most affected by our chemical society.

Organic Vegetables

How To Build & Care For Your Dream Home

How To Build And Care For Your Home:

In this section, we provide direction to assist you as you begin to create a green, healthy home. Ideas and tips to help save energy are discussed. You'll also find information on the selection and installation of organic materials. We look at design techniques that help to make your home exactly what you dream it will be.

Check out the section - Top Twenty Green Home Design Tips to find out what you can do to try building green on your home today.

Building Green - Natural Air Conditioning:

Natural Air Conditioning: It's no secret that air conditioning uses a lot of electricity. Using common sense during the design process can minimize or totally eliminate the need for air-conditioning. Design elements can include intelligent window placement, careful consideration of overhangs, and wise selection of materials for roofing, pavement, and patios.

Also discussed is clerestory ventilation and other ways to promote natural ventilation in the home and is an incredible building green technique. Whether you plan to build or remodel, many of these techniques should be carefully considered.

Building Small Doesn't Mean Cramped

Building Small Doesn't Mean Cramped

Great Building Green Design Tips

Top Twenty Building Green Design Tips: There is a lot of great building green advice here. Soon we'll expand this section to include the top 30 tips. Someday, we may offer the top 50 or 100 tips.

We cover everything from cleaners to thermostats, solar systems to wind energy, and provide plenty of guidelines and recommendations.

Minimize Your Home Footprint:

Minimize Your Home Footprint: There are lots of good reasons to reduce the overall size of a home. Some of the most obvious reasons include saving energy and natural resources during the home building process and beyond.

Many people build much more space than what's needed to live. Learn how to live comfortably with less space by utilizing these tips and techniques.

Reducing Heat Island Effect:

Heat Island Effect: Here we consider materials and methods to reduce what is called a heat island. Certain materials and colors of materials produce excellent reflectivity of solar radiation while others do not. They soak up heat and raise the surrounding temperature, making it more uncomfortable for the environment as a whole. Through careful selection of roofing and pavement materials you can cool the inside and outside environment of your home.

Organic Garden

Keep your Attic Ventilated

Keep Your Attic Ventilated:

Attic Ventilation: Those who live in cold weather states often suffer from ice dam damage as a result of poor attic ventilation. The end results is water damage, black mold formation, and insect infestations. In this section we look at how to best ventilate a structure to eliminate the ice dams and the resulting issues. See our section on Attic Ventilation for lots of information.

In warm states, ventilation is important as well. When structures are not ventilated adequately, the results can include mold and dry-rot, termite problems, and excess heat buildup.

How to Site (or place) Your Home:

Siting Your Home: The importance of site selection should not be underestimated in your building green goals. Proper orientation to natural elements, consideration of  ventilation to all occupied areas, and keeping the natural elements and aspects of a site in tact and natural are hugely important in the overall design of a green home.

How to Save Electricity By Design:

Save Electricity: Here we will go a step (or steps) beyond merely screwing in CFL bulbs in light fixtures in this building green measure. We explore whole-home energy control systems that save a lot in energy costs.

Bring Natural Lighting Into Your Home

Bring Natural Lighting Into Your Home

Bringing Natural Daylighting Into Your Home:

Light Your Home Naturally: Turn off those lights! When a home is designed correctly, vast amounts of electricity can  be saved simply by bringing natural daylighting into the core of all living spaces. This section also looks at skylights and other alternatives that help bring light into a home.

Using Eco-Friendly Insulation:

Insulation: A great for building green is to use an eco-friendly home insulation. We will discuss several different types of Green Insulation that are not only safe to install, they are safe for the environment and will not be put in the landfill or deplete our natural resources. We will discuss insulation values and what they mean too.

Utilizing Low VOC Finishes and Sealants:

Low VOC Finishes: This section begins where the page on Eco Friendly Paints leaves off. We delve deeper into paint selection, clear finishes, sealants, caulking, and glues. Because these materials can contain very high levels of VOC's, they contribute more than any other single factor to poor indoor air quality. Making wise decisions on finishes is imperative when designing an eco friendly home. See our section on Low VOC Paints.

Installation Of A Living Roof:

Living Roofs:These new roofs are lightweight, drought-tolerant ,and easy to maintain. Popular for sometime in commercial applications, living roofs are now seen being used on more homes interested in building green. They're great for the environment, and are beautiful to boot. You'll get all the explanation you need here.

Living Roofs Are Very Eco Friendly

Living Roofs A Great Way For Building Green

Boosting the Heating Efficiency of Your Home:

Find out ways to save gas and or electricity in your new home. Included is information on systems that should be considered and the cost implications. We also look at system efficiencies and maintenance costs.

Solar and Wind Installations:

Solar Wind Energy: Should you install a solar system, such as photo voltaic or solar water heating? What about a wind generation system? We'll address these important issues and other forms of renewable energy in this important section.

Other sections of this website already address many aspects of green living. For more information, check out the sections below:

Saving Water In The Kitchen
Top 10 Green Bathroom Tips
Installing a Drip Irrigation System
Installing Eco-Friendly Floors
Installing Eco-Friendly Counters
Energy Efficient Ovens
Energy Star Appliances
Energy Star Dishwasher
How to Save Electricity
Using Eco Friendly Paints

There are many other ways to save money in the home, in the way we design our homes and in our green living styles. Check out some of these additional Green Living Tips.