How do you build green?

By Linda Thomas

As far as buzz words go, “green” is the popular new kid in town. But when you hear builders and real estate industry folks talk about green construction or green this or green that, what exactly does that mean? And going “green” can mean a lot of different things to different people.

Going green goals include low energy consumption, water conservation, use of recycled materials, minimal site disturbance, solar orientation and healthful indoor air quality.

Essentially, going green has some key goals including low energy consumption, water conservation, water and energy efficiency, the use of recycled materials, a tight building envelope, minimal site disturbance, solar orientation and healthful indoor air quality. But for the consumer, going green can simply be saving money and having minimal impact on the environment.

Two thirds of builders and remodelers are being asked to incorporate energy efficient measures in homes to lower utility bills, more than twice as often as any other factor, and this trend has steadily been increasing over the last two years, according to the USA Today.

One way to measure energy efficiency is by compliance with and awarding of various program certifications such as Energy Star, HERS and LEED to name a few. We live in a community that has enthusiastically embraced furthering the goals of energy efficiency and have many individuals and businesses in the building, science and banking fields that are putting these practices to great use. You just have to drive around the county to see the homes and businesses that are partially or completely supplying their energy needs through the use of solar.

We can see when a fad becomes a trend, to ultimately becoming commonplace, when we have lenders in our area giving green and energy efficient features in homes and buildings value, when lending. You can see it when our local realtor MLS board recently added green and energy efficient categories for home listings. You can see it when more and more consumers are spending money on energy efficient buildings and homes.

Jump on the bandwagon, it is very easy to incorporate many energy efficient items in your home or office, from tankless hot water heaters to LED and compact fluorescent light bulbs, to low flow toilets and plumbing fixtures to Florida friendly landscaping that doesn’t require as much water. It is very easy to get started.