Green Homes

 
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What is Building Green? | Green Home Costs | Benefits of a Green Home | Green Building Organizations


Alabama Green Homes

Birmingham, Huntsville

Alaska - AK Green Homes



Arizona Green Homes

Phoenix, Tucson

Arkansas Green Homes



California Green Homes

Central Valley, Los Angeles, Orange County, Palm Springs, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, Ventura County

Colorado Green Homes

Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins

Connecticut – CT Green Homes



Delaware - DE Green Homes

Delaware

Florida Green Homes

Daytona Beach, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Ocala, Orlando, Palm Bay, Palm Beach, Pensacola, Port St. Lucie, Tampa Bay

Georgia Green Homes

Atlanta, Columbus

Hawaii - HI Green Homes

Hawaii

Idaho Green Homes

Boise, North Idaho

Illinois Green Homes

Chicago

Indiana Green Homes

Indianapolis

Iowa Green Homes



Kansas Green Homes



Kentucky Green Homes



Louisiana Green Homes



Maryland-MD Green Homes

Baltimore, Maryland

Massachusetts Green Homes

Boston

Michigan Green Homes

Detroit

Minnesota Green Homes

Minneapolis

Mississippi Green Homes



Missouri Green Homes

Kansas City, St. Louis

Nevada Green Homes

Las Vegas, Laughlin, Reno

New Jersey Green Homes

Northern New Jersey, Southern New Jersey

New Mexico Green Homes

Albuquerque

New York Green Homes



North Carolina Green Homes

Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Raleigh

Ohio Green Homes

Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton

Oklahoma Green Homes

Oklahoma City, Tulsa

Oregon Green Homes

Portland

Pennsylvania-PA Green Homes

Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh

Rhode Island Green Homes



South Carolina Green Homes

Charleston, Columbia

South Dakota Green Homes



Tennessee Green Homes

Memphis, Nashville

Texas Green Homes

Austin, Central Texas, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, West Texas

Utah Green Homes

Salt Lake City, Southern Utah

Virginia Green Homes

Norfolk, Northern Virginia, Richmond

Washington Green Homes

Seattle, Tri Cities, Vancouver Washington

West Virginia Green Homes



Wisconsin Green Homes



How to Build Green Homes

A green home is an intricate system made up of interdependent components. Changing one aspect of this system can create a ripple of effects in other areas. Builders were reminded of this when they began building tighter houses in the 1970s in response to rising energy costs. Tightly sealing the thermal envelope reduced heating and cooling costs but sometimes had unintended results, such as increased indoor air pollution due to inadequate ventilation or problems with mold due to moisture trapped within the structure. 

The solution was not to return to the days of leaky, uncomfortable houses that wasted energy. Instead, what grew out of this experience was a new approach to home building, called the whole-house systems approach. In collaboration with building-science researchers, home-building associations and government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America program, many home builders across the nation are now successfully using this approach. It emphasizes strategic planning, systems analysis, and testing and verification to ensure that improvements in one area won’t jeopardize health, safety, affordability, durability, profitability and other vital concerns.

Ideally, home builders should incorporate green building into their practices as part of this whole-house systems approach. This requires taking into account the interaction of many factors: the building’s structure and thermal envelope; heating, cooling, water heating and electrical systems; renewable energy systems; the site’s climate, topography, landscaping and surrounding structures; aesthetics; health and safety requirements; and how the occupants will use the house. 

For example, a green builder concerned with improving the performance of the whole house will not merely select a more energy-efficient heating and cooling system and call it a day. Instead, the builder will look for opportunities to improve the thermal envelope and decrease heating and cooling loads, such as by reducing air leakage, designing and locating ductwork to minimize energy losses, increasing insulation, and choosing low-e windows. These improvements may allow the use of significantly smaller—and less costly—heating and cooling systems. Properly sized HVAC systems also lower the owner’s energy costs and provide greater comfort within the green homes.

According to Building America, a whole-house systems approach can reduce the energy consumption of new green homes by as much as 40% with little or no effect on the cost of construction. Usually the decisions made as part of a whole-house approach yield multiple benefits. For example, framing the home with 2x6 studs spaced at 24 inches allows increased insulation compared to conventional 2x4 studs spaced at 16 inches. Increased insulation saves heating and cooling energy and improves comfort. Also, as mentioned above, it may allow the downsizing of heating and cooling equipment. What’s more, the 2x6 framing technique reduces wood use and labor costs.

The whole-house systems approach requires that the design and construction process be highly integrated.

This involves:

  • Careful planning and attention to detail from the outset of design through all the phases of construction.
  • Understanding of building science principles, including the principles of air, heat and moisture flow.
  • Good communication among the entire team, including the developers, architects, engineers, builders, trade contractors, and material suppliers.
  • Proper sequencing of decision-making and building activities throughout the entire design and construction process.
  • Adequate training and supervision to ensure quality construction.
  • Testing and verifying performance during and after construction, and establishing a feedback loop to improve future designs based on the testing results.

Building America provides detailed information about the whole-house systems approach on their website, www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/building_america/.

It’s no coincidence that green homes designed with a whole-house systems approach are better homes. Improving building performance takes time and care, but can significantly reduce energy needs, improve health and comfort, and reduce builder risk and cost.





Green Homes Blog