Green building refers to designing and building structures that are eco friendly and resource-efficient throughout their life-cycle, from planning to demolition. In Marin County, green building construction promotes the use of eco-friendly materials, efficient water and waste management systems, and the reduction of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It also prioritizes promoting indoor air quality and occupant health while reducing the negative impact of the built environment on the natural environment. This approach to construction is supported by local regulations and initiatives in Marin County and a community of environmentally conscious residents and businesses. Home Stewards is a residential construction company that can help you with green building in the North Bay.
What makes a home or building green?
A majority of a green building’s interior spaces have natural lighting and outdoor views, while highly efficient HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning) systems and low-VOC (volatile organic compound) materials like paint, flooring, and furniture create a superior indoor air quality. Green building construction practices and products make homes more energy efficient through proper, adequate insulation and air sealing. Efficient windows, appliances, lighting and other household equipment also help add to the savings and keep your monthly electricity bills low. For more general information see the US Department of Energy’s summary about green building construction.
According to the US EPA, in the United States, buildings account for:
39 percent of total energy use
12 percent of the total water consumption
68 percent of total electricity consumption
38 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions
Environmental benefits of green building
Green building products and practices offer you the assurance that you are following environmentally friendly guidelines that help preserve our natural resources. A socially responsible step worthy of recognition, building green makes a strong statement about your dedication to the community and the environment.
Impacting more than your home itself, green building promotes the use of local products and materials that help stimulate local businesses and a diverse economy. This keeps your dollars working in your neighborhood and reduces energy consumption because there are less transportation costs. Materials like engineered wood products are encouraged because they efficiently make use of waste wood pieces, reducing environmental impacts of the wood industry. Recycled-content products productively use materials that would otherwise need to be hauled to landfills, and also reduce costs and impacts of producing products from virgin materials. Green building is not a passing trend. Informing and educating you, the California homeowner, about the value of green building standards is Build It Green’s goal. We believe that through education we can all make a difference that will improve the way we live – today and tomorrow.
- Enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems
- Improve air and water quality
- Reduce waste streams
- Conserve and restore natural resources
Less maintenance and higher durability
Current building codes establish minimum construction standards that protect your safety. Green building supplements building codes by using premium materials that are more durable and construction practices that often exceed building code requirements. Together, these qualities enhance your home’s performance and reduce maintenance and replacement costs, thereby raising its overall value.
Examples of such long-lasting materials and their applications include decking made from recycled plastic and wood fibers, durable tile or linoleum for floors, 50-year roofing materials, and fiber-cement siding. These can outperform their traditional counterparts by reducing maintenance and replacement costs.
Economic and Financial Benefits
Green building construction makes homes more energy efficient through adequate insulation and air sealing. Efficient windows, appliances, lighting and other household equipment also help add to the savings and keep your monthly electricity bills low. Water bills are also reduced through low-flow equipment and thoughtful land use. Homes built following green building standards may also qualify for special “green” financing. Called an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM), they can offer you more purchasing power.
- Reduce operating costs
- Create, expand, and shape markets for green product and services ● Improve occupant productivity
- Optimize life-cycle economic performance
Building materials can emit harmful chemicals that pose health risks if not properly addressed. Pressed wood products often use formaldehyde-based adhesives, which can off-gas into homes for years. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen and can cause symptoms such as watery eyes, headaches, fatigue, and nausea. Paint and floor finishes may also contain harmful chemicals. Green building promotes the use of products and materials that reduce or eliminate indoor pollution sources. Green building materials, like low-VOC paint, solvent-free adhesives, and water-based wood finishes, are healthier and better performing. Using eco-friendly materials can have a positive impact on both the environment and human health. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the materials used in building construction to ensure a healthy and safe living environment.
Finally, ventilation is key to keeping and maintaining indoor air quality for healthier living. Green building practices encourage well-sealed duct systems, sealed combustion gas appliances, bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, and a balanced or slightly positive pressure ventilation system, which work together to improve indoor air quality and keep you comfortable and healthy.
Adequate ventilation is especially important in green building as it can reduce the potential for mold growth and buildup of allergens and other particulates. With tighter construction of the exterior envelope, ventilation is essential to allow excess moisture to escape so it doesn’t get trapped in your home’s living space and building cavities, causing health problems for your family and moisture damage to the building components.
Social Benefits and Comfort
Comfortable with year-round sun exposure, comfortable with ambient temperature and lack of drafts, comfortable with your utility bills – ‘comfortable’ can mean a lot of things. Starting with good energy design, green building helps to ensure that your home is inherently more comfortable. If you’re building new, proper orientation of your home can take advantage of the sun’s radiant energy to provide free natural heat in the cooler months, while avoiding too much sun in the warmer ones, to save on energy costs. Tight construction also helps keep energy costs and drafts down. For everyone, better insulation and energy efficient windows, appliances, and lighting contribute to a comfortable environment while using less energy.
- Enhance occupant comfort and health
- Heighten aesthetic qualities
- Minimize strain on local infrastructure
- Improve overall quality of life
A well maintained building, is a green building
If you are Interested in building green but don’t know where to start visit Home Stewards website or call (415) 360 – 8715.
Home Stewards residential services fall into two categories. For homeowners and property managers wishing to keep up with maintenance and have routine inspections and services provided; we offer the Home Stewardship Program. Subscription-Based Home Maintenance & Service. For homes that have fallen in disrepair or just need tuning up beyond the Home Stewardship seasonal maintenance, we offer General Contracting Services assisting our clients in bringing their home back to good health.
The Home Stewardship Program is a custom package of services specifically tailored to sustainably maintain your home’s condition, efficiency and repair costs. The Home Stewardship Program combines the services of inspectors, specialty contractors, technicians and more into a single efficient service, conveniently delivered in quarterly appointments, with help available 24/7, 365 days a year.
With quarterly visits and seasonal maintenance checklists we help keep your home in tip-top shape. No more stuck doors, loose handles, blown light bulbs or surprise fire alarm chirps when the batteries fade. No more worrying about if you change the air and water filters, or clean the gutters before the winter rains. We help you more fully enjoy your home.
The Home Stewardship Program Includes Building Green in Marin:
- 250+ Point Annual Service Plan
- Quarterly Service Appointments
- Built-In Regular Inspections
- Recommended Action Plan
- Optional Light Bulb & Filter Supply Kit
- Optional Healthy Home Protection by Healthy Building Science
- 24/7 Emergency Response
According to Forbes, 1-4% of your home purchase price should go to maintenance every year
Maintenance creates a more healthy living environment
Studies show that air and water quality can be greatly improved through routine home inspections and maintenance. For green building in Marin and Sonoma county, please check out our residential general contracting division.