Green Building Practices
One of the fastest growing and popular modes of construction today, both in Residences and Commercial projects, is the use of "Green" Building Practices. A green building is one that has been first designed with either the site to be fully integrated with existing landscaping and natural features or in more urban environments, to be in close proximity to mass transit. Green buildings, either designed and built as a single family residence or remodeled, renovated or repaired, are inherently focused on using water, electricity and other resources more carefully and efficiently, all the while minimizing the environmental effects.
Typical benefits of this approach are: improved occupant health and comfort, reduced contribution to pollution and landfill waste, more efficient use of materials, better insulation packages and HVAC systems that contribute to lower utility costs, more longevity and comfort of the structure and therefore reducing maintenance over the life of the building.
Successful Green Building practices begin with an integrated design approach that includes combining efficiency, comfort and reducing environmental impact with an eye to cost and realistic expectations in the project. Using dimensionally engineered lumber in framing, which are structurally more stable and reliable than solid sawn wood, are also environmentally friendly in that they are made from wood species that are not endangered. These design practices continue with sizing rooms close to multiples of four feet which reduce waste by aligning with standard building materials, especially interior and exterior wall surfaces.
Designing heating and cooling systems (HVAC) to be more properly sized and with return and supply ducts efficiently insulated and installed, is crucial to overall comfort and longevity of the machinery themselves. Choosing HVAC systems such as geothermal closed loop with proper acknowledgement of window size and placement, direction of natural light sources and nature of insulation are also key to creating a safe, comfortable home that is over the long run, less costly and not constantly in need of annoying repairs. Using soybased spray foam insulation in wall and roof framing cavities is a considerable improvement over conventional fiberglass based batt insulation in that it provides a much better shield to air penetration, provides structural stability, integrity and far better R values while also ensuring better sound dampening.
Recent information has come to light that buildings that have been built with these practices and more, have less incidences of respiratory problems, allergies and microbial growth which have increasingly become more prevalent in contemporary residential living environments. Here in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, with especially hot, wet and prolonged humid summers, one must pay attention to these issues.
These are just a few important highlights of what is happening today in Green Building and even though the upfront cost can be more,the benefits of providing a safer, more comfortable, efficient and more environmentally friendly home should be factored in to the complete package when approaching a construction project or family residence.
Contact RB Builders for more information on how to implement "Green Building Practices" into your project.