Residential Green Building
Residential green building practices include designing and constructing homes that use energy, water, and materials efficiently; have a reduced impact on their physical environment; and promote a healthy indoor environment for you, your family, or your customer. By using an integrated design approach, the whole residential building can be designed and operated as a system.
Benefits Of Green Building
Green building has multiple direct environmental and economic benefits to consumers and to society as a whole. Some of these benefits include:
• Increasing demand for recycled content building products creates markets for the feedstock collected in municipal recycling programs.
• Reducing and recycling construction wastes directly benefit local communities working to reduce landfill waste.
• Recycling construction waste is often less expensive than disposal.
• Making homes more energy efficient, homeowners can realize actual monthly utility savings.
• Including onsite electricity generation, via photo-voltaic cells or other methods, reduces our dependence on out-of-state power generation, provides electricity back to the grid during the day, saves consumers money, and reduces air-pollution.
• Using low-flow water fixtures and reducing the amount of landscape can reduce water demand, and, in areas with meters, will save consumers by lower monthly bills.
• Cities that embrace green building can reduce the impacts on their infrastructure including roads, water treatment, and storm water run-off.
• Reducing water consumption also saves electricity used to pump water to consumers.
• Increasing the use of infill land and/or encouraging redevelopment in underutilized sites reduces the consumption or farmland and eases transportation burdens since these sites are generally located in developed areas near jobs and services.
Population growth and housing development have many impacts on the environment and on quality of life issues. The sheer number of existing housing units as well as the potential impact of future growth in an area directly speaks to the need of an integrated green building approach to housing. Among some of the direct factors that impact our city include:
• In order to meet expected population growth, hundreds of thousands of housing units will need to be added annually through out our region until 2020.
• The construction of a 2,000 ft2 house often generates approximately 3.5 tons of waste.
• In Texas the Residential Electricity Consumption Per Capita 2010 was roughly 5,500 KWh. Source: EIA SEDS database.
• Transportation issues will become more acute as we continue to build houses on cheaper land further from the economic centers of a city or state.
• The popular SAWS Watersaver Landscape program offers a rebate of up to $400 for conversion of conventional landscapes to a more water-thrifty landscape.
• American’s spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors, and many common building products used in housing construction emit formaldehyde or other chemicals known by the state to have health impacts.
Local governments can reduce energy consumption in their jurisdictions and save homeowners money with residential energy efficiency policies and programs. By promoting energy efficiency and energy efficient products, municipalities can help homeowners in the United States reduce their annual energy bills by an estimated average of $750.
Residential-sector efficiency programs also increase investment in local economies and can provide jobs for skilled professionals such as energy auditors and home energy raters, contractors, as well as retailers and product distributors.
In addition to cost savings and economic benefits, residential-sector energy efficiency programs and initiatives can lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Nationwide, the residential sector is responsible for 17 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions.
Here are a couple of links for Green Building information:
• Build San Antonio Green – http://www.buildsagreen.org
• Sustainable (Green) Building Basics – http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/greenbuilding/Basics.htm