Green Building

What is “Green Building”? 

A sustainable building, or green building is an outcome of a design and construction philosophy and practice which focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use, energy, water, and materials, while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building’s lifecycle through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal.

Though green building is interpreted in many different ways, we can reduce the overall impact of the ‘built’ environment on human health and the natural environment by:

  • Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
  • Protecting and improving public and occupant health
  • Reducing waste and pollution

A similar concept is natural building, which is usually on a smaller scale and tends to focus on the use of natural materials that are locally available.

A common misconception is that energy efficient buildings are also green buildings. While energy efficiency is an integral part of a sustainable building, energy efficiency alone does not qualify a building as green.

For almost 30 years, homeowners have been remodeling their homes to improve the aesthetics, increase space, make the home more kid-friendly, or to just raise their quality of life.

The 1970s were a wake up call that the US was becoming too dependent on foreign oil. As long as the oil embargo lasted, Americans were interested in reducing their energy use and retrofitting their homes.

The US Department of Energy created a solar program and researched how to reduce building energy use. However, as oil prices came down and life returned to “normal”, the interest in energy efficient homes went away. In 1985 the tax credits for solar expired and the solar industry withered.

Now, here we are once again wanting to improve our homes and looking to reduce building energy use and make our homes and buildings more energy efficient.

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