The Green Building process is simply a better way to build. Green building is not a new concept. It also doesn’t mean that we all are expected to live in geodesic domes living off of the land.
What is Green Building?
Green building today combines the best practices in energy efficiency, indoor air quality, durability and overall environmental impact of the structure.
Green Building is easier than you think
The Florida Green Home Standard developed by the Florida Green Building Coalition, Inc.(FGBC) includes best practices in 8 categories, including:
- Energy Efficiency – HERS Rating, plus additional items
- Water conservation – fixtures, irrigation, landscape strategies
- Lot choice - land use strategies, infill site
- Site Impact –erosion control, protection of existing vegetation
- Health – indoor air quality, moisture control, ventilation
- Materials – recycled content, durability
- Disaster Mitigation – termite, hurricane, flood, fire resistant building practices
- General – remodeling of existing structure, builder provided home owner’s manual/education, guaranteed energy bills
To achieve the Florida “Green Home”, the structure’s score must meet a minimum score of 100 on the Florida Green Home Checklist. The maximum number of points a home can achieve is 250.
As a registered Certifying Agent for the FGBC we have the experience to help achieve green home standards at any point during the construction process. However, the sooner we get involved the more cost effective it is for our customers.
Since site selection is one of the key dimensions in the FGBC Green home standard, it makes since to discuss potential site locations with while you are searching. Once decided we can work with you to help ensure the correct building principles are integrated into your home’s design including orientation, building and product specifications, and universal design principles.
Top 10 products: (in no particular order)
- Solar Water Heaters
- Compact Florescent and LED lighting
- Spray foam insulation and radiant barriers.
- Light or “cool” colored roofing and/or metal roofing.
- Energy Star qualified appliances, windows, doors, AC systems, and lighting.
- Water conserving fixtures, appliances, and irrigation systems.
- Solid surface flooring.
- Low or no VOC (volatile organic compound) construction adhesives, paints, and finishes.
- Drought tolerant landscaping suitable for Florida’s climate.
- Cabinetry that is, at minimum, certified under KCMA’s (Kitchen Cabinet Manufactures Association) Environmental Stewardship Program.
“Green building doesn’t have to cost more….The key is to achieve a well insulated home with a tight envelope, while demonstrating consideration of the location, position, and size of the house.”
Building Green is a commitment to Quality...
A quality of life.
||HGC GREEN BUILDING PRINCIPLES
Principle 1: If you can Remodel – remodeling is one of the “greenest” things a homeowner can do. It reduces the amount raw material and “stuff” required to be manufactured for a new home. It also significantly reduces landfill waste that would be generated during the construction of a new home. The Florida Green Building Coalition awards 10 out of 100 required points for its certification when remodeling an exiting structure.
Principle 2: Conservation – Think about what can be done to make the home more energy and water efficient. Conservation of energy and water help the environment, but also translate into tangible costs savings to the homeowner when installed appropriately. Energy Efficient and Water Saving fixtures are all over the place now without costing anymore money and usually perform better than standard fixtures. There are also simple design elements that can be added to the home during a remodel to improve passive (non-mechanical) heating and cooling. Improving the efficiency of the irrigation system and improving the drought tolerance of the landscaping during a remodel is one of the best ways to reduce water consumption. Conservation saves money!
Principle 3: Consider the whole house as a system. Don’t stop with conservation. If only one or a few of the green principles are implemented at a time, the true benefits of green building will not be realized. In some cases it may actually make things worse. There are many eco-friendly construction products on the market today that are widely available. These products can improve indoor air quality; reduce maintenance and up-keep; reduce the dependence on new raw materials; last longer; maintain a cleaner indoor environment; and improve the home’s resistance to natural disasters. In short, improve the quality of life while living in the home.
Principle 4: Keep it simple! Green doesn’t have to cost more. There are many simple principles that, if planned on early enough, can be implemented without increasing costs at all. Don’t get caught up in the extreme green products or principles you seen on the Discovery Channel specials. Anyone can make a significant difference without thinking they have to start by utilizing a grey water reuse system or disconnecting from the grid with a whole house solar or wind generator. There is more “bang for the buck” from simple conservation practices.
Principle 5: Demand that “green Building” principles and practices are utilized during the design and construction process. There are many green principles that can be added to the specifications of any project that should not add additional construction costs. Ask for it, demand it, and make it one of the designer or builder’s priorities and responsibilities. To add real value, ask if the project has an opportunity to be certified under an existing green certification standard/guideline. These certifications include the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC), the National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB) Green Building Guideline, or the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED-H program. If nothing more, the end product will be well thought-out and executed with “best practices” and an eco-friendly theme.