When I discuss Green with my clients there are specific things they typically are looking for, the first one is often Energy Efficiency and the second one is a Healthy Home. These are both parts of Green Building and can be accomplished on many different levels.
Many new homes are being designed with the concept of Zero Energy Design, using the latest in energy efficiency technology as well as a few that have been around awhile such as passive solar. The whole idea is to put the cost into the structure of the home and in your heating source substantially reducing your monthly utility outlay to a small percentage of comparable standard built homes. How would it feel to have a home with basically no monthly utility expense, what would that be worth to your monthly budget? Utilities are never going to be cheaper than they are now, utilities are rising at a faster rate than incomes, so the savings is going to be exponential in the years to come. We also increase this savings by adding some Photo Voltaic (solar) panel that will create energy and and back feed the utility when not being called for and the utility pays a substantially higher rate per KW that we pay them, thus offsetting even more of the cost of power.
It is not uncommon for clients to come in with respiratory and allergy issues that are looking for a home with clean surfaces and products that will not harbor mold and dust. We have all walked in to that new home and smelled that new house smell, what we do not understand is those smells are typically volatile organic compounds that are caused by the off-gassing of chemicals that are used in the manufacture of the building products used in the home. These can be quite toxic to some people and over a period of time can be pretty hazardous to our health causing all sorts of unwanted health issues. We have the products and knowledge today that allow us to build a healthy home that will not have all of the VOC’s floating around in the air giving relief to those who have issues with them. How much more healthy will our children be brought up in this type of environment as opposed to the chemical alternative.
In the next post I will discuss some of the specifics of each of these issues.